Primary Sources

To better assist students with accessing and engaging directly with history, I have created this list of primary sources available on the Internet. It is not always possible to visit archives or a research library, but in many cases libraries have spent the last decade (or more) digitizing portions of their collections. As a result, it is increasingly possible to research and write class projects from anywhere!

Below you will find a list of headings; each one links to a list of primary source collections for that theme or chronological period.  Each link connects to the starting page for a collection or set of collections, so there are hundreds of thousands of documents represented here.

The categories relate to course offerings at my institution, so it is not intended to be comprehensive but merely a starting point. These resources would be ideal for high school students, college-level surveys, and upper-level history course assignments.  I originally developed the list for our writing seminar in history, a junior-year course.

Also, please note that some links are only listed in one place–you may want to explore both the thematic and chronological categories to find something that fits your interest or need.


Primary Sources on the Internet

A Brief Guide to Analyzing History Sources (coming soon)

Grammar, Citations, and Other Writing Tools

General History or Combined Collections
Government Documents

Science and Technology
African American
Women, Gender, and Sexuality

World History (1500-Present)
Colonial and Revolutionary America (1500-1800)
Antebellum U.S. and Civil War (1800-1880)
Guilded Age and World War I (1880-1920)
World War II through Recent U.S. History (1920 onward)

Compiled and edited by Jessica Cannon, 2015-2017. The lists were last updated 29 Aug 2017.

The lists are updated 2-3 times a year, and I welcome help with adding new websites via email ( If you want to collaborate on adding a new category, I would be happy to have co-authors too!

Any commercialized or monetized use of this collection of resources, in part or in whole, is prohibited without written permission from the creator Jessica Cannon.  Report violations here.