Archive for Online Primary Sources

Online Primary Sources for American History: The Writings of Clara Barton

Clara Barton is an American hero; her list of accomplishments is awe-inspiring. For those who want to capture her thoughts and deeds, the Clara Barton Papers housed at the Library of Congress give us a peek into her world. Diaries, correspondence, speeches, and reports populate this vast collection of 62,000 items. A timeline and a directory of additional resources are supplied.

One should also visit the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum for more primary and secondary source material. And while you are at it, take a tour of her Maryland home.


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The Book of Kells Is Now Online

In all its elaborate, colorful glory.

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United States – North Korea Relations

This State Department page offers a brief review of this country’s interaction with then-Korea and its present bifurcated state. Basic information on the country itself is found here courtesy of the CIA’s World Factbook; the BBC also provides an excellent country profile. In addition, there are numerous CRS reports on this situation, among them North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation.

Diplomatic and intelligence sources can be found in a number of sites:

The National Security Archive has curated briefing books featuring North Korea, the most recent one entitled The United States and North Korea Nuclear Threat.

The Foreign Relations of the United States series has many volumes of relevant documents – Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950, Korea, Volume VII; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1951, Korea and China, Volume VII, Part 1; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1951, Korea and China, Volume VII, Part 2 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Korea, Volume XV, Part 1 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Korea, Volume XV, Part 2 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Korea, Volume XV, Part 1 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Korea, Volume XV, Part 2 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955–1957, Korea, Volume XXIII, Part 2 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Japan; Korea, Volume XVIII ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume XXIX, Part 1, Korea ;  and Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XIX, Part 1, Korea, 1969–1972. (Because of the slowness in reviewing and declassifying documents, the FRUS is now woefully behind in adhering to its mandate to publish documents/volumes within a thirty-year timeframe. Come here to review this problem.)

The CIA makes available an historical collection that is appropriate – Baptism By Fire: CIA Analysis of the Korean War – as well as thousands of reports, briefings, analyses, some as recent as 2017.

The Wilson Center has several collections of value: United States-North Korea RelationsConversations with Kim Il Sung; China-North Korea Relations; Inter-Korean Relations (one of several troves so titled); and Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Also, consult its North Korea International Documentation Project.

This is a video worth watching – Primary Sources for Research on North Korea – a 2014 webcast sponsored by the Library of Congress.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: W.E.B. Du Bois and the 1900 Paris Exposition

“The Paris Exposition of 1900 included a display devoted to the history and “present conditions” of African Americans. W.E.B. Du Bois and special agent Thomas J. Calloway spearheaded the planning, collection and installation of the exhibit materials, which included 500 photographs.” (About)

Primary and secondary sources are available about this event in which Du Bois played such a pivotal role; included here are his writings on the exhibit. He wished to show the progress that African Americans had made since the Civil War, but also make people aware of the roadblocks put in their way by Jim Crow.

The photos can be accessed here along with Du Bois’ remarkable infographics showing the statistical profile of African Americans over the decades. Here is one showing the growth in population from 175 to 1890; there are seventy more of these documents. (Found on pages 1 and 2 of this site.)

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Online Primary Sources for American History: WWI News Clippings

Comprised of four hundred volumes totaling 80,000 pages, these press clippings were culled from United States and European papers between 1914 and 1926. Though there is no index to this vast collection, the clippings are arranged in chronological order so one can read articles, editorials, cartoons, and news reports that are in reaction to events as they played out during this conflict. The scope of this undertaking is impressive; almost all the pieces I saw have the identifying newspaper indicated along with the date. The vast majority of the clippings are in English, but given the European sources, German pieces are also available.

An informative history of the collection is available. An invaluable resource.

Hot Off The Presses: Newspapers During WWI is fairly self-explanatory.

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Online Primary Sources: Historic Canadian Newspapers

Those of you who have perused this site have seen passing references to Canadian-centric resources subsumed in writings on American history. (This entry for example.) But this time, we are looking at specific Canadian resources:

BC Historical Newspapers. (University of British Columbia)Digital copies of 167 titles.

The British Colonist (title varies over the years) allows access to an almost complete rum of this important British Columbia newspaper from 1858 – 1950. You can browse by date of use an advanced search option with multiple filters.

Canada Gazette. (Library and Archives Canada) The “official newspaper of the Canadian government. Over 160 years are available online.

Canada Online Historical Newspapers. Access to many titles, the vast majority are freely available.

French-Canadian Newspapers: An Essential Historical Source (1808-1919) (Library and Archives Canada) provides digital images of numerous papers.

Halifax Gazette.Canada’s first newspaper, published in 1752. A history of the paper is here.

Historical Canadian Newspapers Online (from Bowling Green State University) has gathered dozens of English and French titles that span the centuries. Many of the images come courtesy of the cancelled Google Newspaper Archive.

Nova Scotia Historical Newspapers (Nova Scotia Archives). Including newspapers published by those pro-British colonists forced to flee both during and after the Revolutionary War.

Victoria’s Newspapers 1858-1936 provides indices to the British Colonist. Come here to review the scope of this site.

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Online Primary Sources in American History: NAACP Annual Reports

Available online are reports from 1910 – 1923 and from 2004 to the present.

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