These are general digital collections and databases for conducting research on an array of topics in 19th century United States, Civil War era, Reconstruction, African American experience, education, and issues of race, gender, class in the US and Atlantic World. While not exhaustive, several focus on Civil War and Reconstruction era.
This project showcases a database of historic records, books, and readers at the New York Society Library from 1789 to 1805.
Digital Schomburg provides primary sources, scholarly articles, and other scholarship on the global black experience.
Documenting the American South (DocSouth)
DocSouth is digital publishing initiative that offers access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture primarily from the holdings of UNC Chapel Hill.
Making of America (MoA)
MoA is a digital archive of primary sources in American social history, primarily of antebellum through Reconstruction eras.
New York Public Library Digital Collection
The New York Public Library has an extensive digital collection, including over 700,000 items in its digital galley (photographs, prints, posters, film stills, etc).
Slavery and Antebellum Era
Examination Days: The New York African Free School Collection
Showcasing pages from Volume IV of the collection, Penmanship and Drawing Studies, 1816–26, this collection offers a selection of student work and community commentary of the New York African Free School.
The Celia Project
Developed at the University of Michigan, this research, publication, and public history collaboration, explores The State of Missouri v. Celia, A Slave, sexual violence under slavery and emancipation, and its reverberations in American cultural memory.
Freedom on the Move: A Database of Fugitives from North American Slavery
The Freedom on the Move project provides a database of all surviving runaway ads from the historical period of North American slavery.
The Liberated Africans Project
This project provides primary and secondary sources centered on the processes leading to over 200,000 people were emancipated in an international effort to abolish the Atlantic slave trade after 1808.
Musical Passage: A Voyage to 1688 Jamaica
Musical Passage tells the story of an important, but little known record of early African diasporic music. This collaborative project explores a single artifact of early African diasporic music - Hans Sloane’s 1707 Voyage to the Islands of Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica.
The Nat Turner Project
This project provides original primary documents (i.e. diary entries, letters, maps, trials transcripts, census records, pamphlets, and petitions) related to the only large-scale slave revolt ever to occur in the United States, later accounts of the revolt and both visual and fictional representations of Nat Turner and the revolt.
New York Slavery Records IndexCreated by John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, this project offers is a searchable compilation of records that identify individual enslaved persons and their owners, beginning as early as 1525 and ending during the Civil War. The index draws on census records, slave trade transactions, cemetery records, birth certifications, manumissions, ship inventories, newspaper accounts, private narratives, legal documents and many other sources.
The Princeton and Slavery Project
The Princeton and Slavery Project explores the University’s involvement with the institution of slavery through primary sources, interpretative essays, and other sources.
Runaway Slaves in Britain: Bondage, Freedom and Race in the Eighteenth Century
This project provides a database of searchable information about individuals of African descent, Native Americans, and from the Indian sub-continent who sought to escape their bondage in Georgian Britain.
Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842
This collection contains approximately 2,000 documents and archaeological images relating to the Native American population of the southeastern United States.
Civil War Era
Crisis of the Union
Created by the University of Pennsylvania, this digital archive documents the causes, conduct, and consequences of the Civil War.
Hidden Patterns of the Civil War
The site features several interrelated projects on the sectional crisis, slavery, and emancipation during the Civil War era, with a particular emphasis on the histories of the city of Richmond and the state of Virginia.
Mapping The Fourth of July: Exploring Independence Day in the Civil War Era
The long crisis of the Civil War, stretching from the 1840s to the 1870s, forced Americans to confront difficult questions about the meaning and the boundaries of their nation - What did it mean to be an American? Who was included and excluded? Where did the nation's borders lie? Did those words "all men are created equal" apply to southerners as well as northerners, black as well as white Americans, women as well as men? How should Americans commemorate their nation's founding when that nation appeared to be falling apart? But it was on one particular day each year, July 4th, that they left the most explicit evidence of their views in newspapers, speeches, personal diaries and letters to their friends and family and gave voice to typically unspoken beliefs about national identity.
Memorable Days: Emilie Davis Diaries
This digital collection features the transcriptions of three pocket diaries kept by a free African American in Philadelphia from 1863, 1864, and 1865.
Valley of the Shadow
One of the early digital collections of the American Civil War, this site contains primary source materials on the experiences of individuals living in Franklin County, PA (Chambersburg area) and Franklin County, VA (Shenandoah Valley).
Visual Culture of the Civil War Era
Abraham Lincoln Political Cartoons: Comic Portraits of His Presidency
This digital database highlights the various illustrations of Abraham Lincoln contained in contemporary newspapers, political illustrated weeklies, and satirical publications for the North, South, and abroad.
Created by Boston College, this collection contains approximately 650 unexhibited and undocumented drawings by Joseph Becker and other artist-reporters who worked for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly.
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
This collection documents the state's history through a spatially based presentation of commemorative monuments, shrines, and public art, with emphasis on the Civil War.
NARA: Matthew Brady Civil War Photographs
While not the entire collection, this National Archives collection features over 6,000 images of people, towns, and battlefields from the series: Matthew Brady Photographs of the Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes (NARA Identifier 111-B).
National Park Service - Antietam Photographs by Alexander Gardner
This National Park Service site contains a selection of Alexander Gardner's Antietam battlefield images. Each image has been digitally enhanced and cropped. Originals are available through the Library of Congress
Reconstruction and Postbellum Era
Colored Conventions Project
From 1830 until well after the Civil War, free and fugitive Blacks came together in state and national political "Colored Conventions." This project includes the minutes of these conventions among other primary and secondary documents on the delegates, networks, and broader political activism during and after slavery.
Her Hat Was In the Ring!: U.S. Women Who Ran for Political Office Before 1920
This web site and database are part of an ongoing project collecting information concerning women who campaigned for elected public office before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in August of 1920.
Information Wanted (Irish Immigration)
This Boston College sponsored database features over 41,000 advertisements from people looking for friends and relatives who had emigrated from Ireland to the United States in the Boston Pilot newspaper from October 1831 to October 1921.
Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery
This project provides easy access to thousands of “Information Wanted” advertisements for telling family stories of separation and survival during slavery, emancipation, and Civil War. Ads came from every US state and the territories, Canada, Canada West and the West Indies.
Lost Friends: Advertisements from the Southwestern Christian Advocate
This database highlights over 550 advertisements of African Americans searching for family members in the “The Lost Friends” column of the Southwestern Christian Advocate from November 1879 to December 1881.
In addition to short flash movie, this collection features a digital gallery of photographs and postcards taken as souvenirs at lynchings throughout America.
This digitization initiative offers free access to Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1841-1955) and Brooklyn Life (1890-1931).
California Digital Newspaper Collection
The digital collection features over 600,000 pages of significant historical California newspapers published from 1846-1922, including the first California newspaper, the Californian, and the first daily California newspaper, the Daily Alta California.
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
Chronicling America is a searchable database of historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages from 1832 to 1922.
The Crisis, 1910-1922
In the twelve years that will be covered by the Modernist Journals Project edition (from 1910 to 1922), The Crisis provided a much-needed corrective to the racial stereotypes and silences of the mainstream press—publishing, each month, uplifting accounts of achievements by African Americans, alongside stark accounts of racial discrimination and gruesome reports of lynchings. It also addressed most every facet of life for blacks in America, devoting special issues to such topics as women's suffrage, education, children, labor, homes, vacations, and the war.
Pennsylvania Civil War Newspaper Collection
Hosted by the Penn State University Libraries, this searchable database explores selected Pennsylvania newspapers published during the pivotal years before, during, and after the U.S. Civil War.
Names in Brick & Stone: Histories from the University’s Built Landscape
This digital humanities project explores the histories of UNC’s buildings and their namesakes. It was produced by the students enrolled in HIS 671: Introduction to Public History (Fall 2015) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Fall by Dr. Anne Mitchell Whisnant and assisted by American Studies Graduate Research Assistant Charlotte Fryar.
Going to the Show
Through the digitization of over 750 Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, this collection illuminates the experience of movies and movie-going in North Carolina from the introduction of projected motion pictures (1896) to the end of the silent film era (circa 1930).
Harambee City, both this site and the corresponding book, uncovers and examines this part of CORE's history. Harambee City: Congress of Racial Equality in Cleveland and and the Rise of Black Power Populism by Dr. Nishani Frazier is a mongraph that explores the underlining conditions that led to Black Power’s rise in CORE and Cleveland’s relationship to this transition.
Mapping the Second Ku Klux Klan, 1915-1940
Map the spread of the Second Ku Klux Klan in your area and across the United States from 1915-1940. Zooming in on the map reveals the KKK's expansion to both large cities and smaller communities.
Mapping Social Movements: Through the 20th Century
This collaborative digital project is assembling data and visualizations about dozens of social movements that have influenced American life and politics during the 20th century, including radical movements, labor movements, women's movements, many different civil rights movements, and environmentalist movements.
Url link: http://depts.washington.edu/moves/index.shtml
OldNYC: Mapping Historical Photographs of New York City
This site provides an alternative way of browsing the New York Public Library (NYPL)’s incredible Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s collection.
This community-focused project connects archival sources, visual cultural, and stories across time and space in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.
Waterways to Freedom: Norfolk, Virginia's Underground Railroad Network.
This digital humanities project features an interactive virtual map and sources detailing the Underground Railroad in the city of Norfolk, Virginia.
Beyond the Sugar Curtain: Tracing Cuba-U.S. Connections (1959-Present)
Developed at Brown University, this project "seeks to contribute to a new if fragile age of diplomatic normalization by exploring the past and present of transnational travel and encounter. Pushing beyond depictions of a “sugar curtain” or “emotional embargo,” this project features spaces and moments of connection in the post-1959 period, including but not limited to those between the United States and Cuba."
Voyages: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
This project showcases a database "on almost 36,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked over 10 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries" and a separate estimates interface. It allows individuals "the chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history."
The Berkeley Revolution
This student-created digital humanities website highlights Berkeley's transformation over the late 1960s through student projects and 300 archival items.