America’s Historical Documents
Digitised versions of original manuscripts belonging to the Federal Government. Ranges from obvious candidates such as the Declaration of Independence, to lesser-known treasures – see Elvis Presley’s letter to the President.
Art History Resources
Large collection of artworks, meticulously organised by country/culture of origin, date, artist and themes.
Artstor (subscription only)
Despite the challenge of rapidly expanding Google Art Project (see below), Artstor remains a good place to browse thousands of images in high detail.
Maintained by the Yale Law School, here you will find documents focusing on law and diplomacy from 4000 BC to the present
Search the collections of the British Library for maps, images, books, datasets, sounds and printed music.
Over 2,000,000 records of objects in the British Museum collections, most of which have images. Features objects from all around the world, dating back to prehistoric times.
Documenting the American South
Access to text, visual and audio files documenting the history of the American South. Sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
60,000 documents of edited correspondence from the 17th-19th centuries, linking over 8000 people across Europe, the Americas and Asia. Letters discuss everything from religious tolerance to animal rights, vulcanology to classical archaeology, economic modelling to celebrity culture. Maintained by the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries.
Gale Digital Collections (subscription only)
A fantastic resource. There are far too many collections to list individually; suffice it to say that there is an enormous range of primary sources covering global history since c.1100. If you are lucky enough to have access to the Gale Collections, do make use of them!
Ghetty Research Institute
Digitised manuscripts, books, prints and photos from the archives of the Ghetty Research Institute. Major collecting areas include: alchemy, festivals, orientalist photography, artists’ letters and sketchbooks.
Google Art Project
Over 40,000 high-resolution images of artworks ranging from oil-on-canvas to sculpture and furniture; constantly expanding.
Digitised texts from university and specialist libraries all over the world. Genres other than fiction are well represented, with travelogues, historiographies, advice manuals, pamphlets and so on. Texts are downloadable as PDF and EPUB files; alternatively, they are viewable online in an intuitive format. Note: only the texts which are out of copyright are available as free downloads.
Google Ngram Viewer
This tool scans an immense number of books to tell you whether a word was in use at a particular time, and can also show you the relative popularity of words over time.
Historic American newspapers
Search digitised newspapers from throughout America’s history.
Internet History Sourcebooks Project
Primary sources for the following categories: African history, East Asian history, Indian history, Islamic history, Jewish history, history of science, women’s history, and gay and lesbian history. Special collections include traveller’s accounts and legal history. Run by Fordham University.
JSTOR (subscription only)
Online collection which specialises in digitising the main humanities periodicals, usually covering all issues from the journal’s foundation to the most recent output.
Kyoto Costume Institute
This collection is relatively small, comprising only 200 objects, but each image is accompanied by a detailed description of the item and its historical context. The zoom function allows for breathtaking detail.
Library of Congress
The LoC’s digital collections offer a huge range of print, pictorial and audio-visual resources, ranging from – to name just a few examples – historic American newspapers, to early sound recordings and photography, to the papers of famous individuals. (Note: do not confuse with the online library catalogue).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Images of art and textiles from all over the world, spanning a wide historical period.
New Deal Network
Documents (articles, speeches, letters) and 5000 photographs related to the New Deal make up this collection.
Pitt Rivers Museum
The Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford features archaeological and anthropological collections from all over the world. The online collection covers objects, manuscripts, photographs, sound and film.
Plymouth Colony Archive Project
Texts relating to life in Plymouth Colony (1620-1691), including court records, laws, journals and memoirs, probate inventories, wills, town plans, maps, and fort plans.
Over 45,000 ebooks available. You can view texts as html, or download in plain text, EPUB and Kindle formats. Main focus is on classic fiction.
The Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives 1960 – 1974 (subscription only)
Brings the 1960s in America alive through diaries, letters, autobiographies and other memoirs, written and oral histories, manifestos, government documents, memorabilia, and scholarly commentary.
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
Information on almost 36,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked over 10 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Images of over a million objects and 500,000 art and design related images.
Find out what day of the week it was, for any date in any year.
Wikipedia illuminated manuscripts
Fairly wide selection of images from (mostly medieval) illuminated manuscripts. Useful if you need to find an image quickly, as the collection is very clearly organised by subject, century and country.