Key Collections of English-Language Primary Source Materials in Electronic Format


Includes listings of some outstanding public collections as well as resources licensed for Columbia affiliates only.

Book Collections

Comprehensive Corpora

  • Early English Books Online
    Page images (and selected text produced by the Text Creation Partnership) of virtually all of the books published in English or in Great Britain and its colonies prior to 1700. Items may be searched using the information contained in the English Short-Title Catalog.
  • EEBO Text Creation Partnership
    A full-text searchable set of texts selected and digitized by a consortium of libraries from the contents of Early English Books Online. While these texts eventually make their way to EEBO, this database may have material not yet included there, has its own search interface, and will eventually be combined with texts fully digitized by the Text Creation Partnership from Evans Digital and ECCO.
  • Evans Digital Edition
    A full-text digitization of the microform set Early American Imprints, Series I (1639-1800), which was itself based on the American Bibliography of Charles Evans (14 vols., 1903-34, 1955-59). Upon completion, Evans Digital Edition will include more than 36,000 works.
  • Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)
    A comprehensive digital edition of The Eighteenth Century microfilm set, which has aimed to include every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom.

Other Important Book and Documentary Collections

  • The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries
    Published letters, memoirs, and diaries, and previously unpublished materials.
  • American Memory Project
    American Memory is a rich collection of primary source materials relating to U.S. history and culture compiled by the Library of Congress National Digital Library Program. Highlights include 25,000 photographs of turn-of-the-century America from the Detroit Publishing Company Collection, more than 1,100 Civil War photographs, early motion pictures, George Washington's letterbooks, and many other political and literary works. Some collections have searchable electronic text, others have page images only.
  • Documenting the American South
    A searchable collection of sources on Southern history, literature and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the 20th century, currently containing 971 books and manuscripts.
  • Emory Women Writers Resource Project
    Collection of texts by women writers of the 17th through 19th centuries.
  • The Gerritsen Collection: Women's History Online, 1543-1945
    Collection of full-text primary resources relating to the history of women. Though international in scope, it focuses primarily on the US, British Isles, and Western Europe.
  • Lexis-Nexis Historical Universe
    Provides access to the full-text of selected primary sources on African-American history, American women's history, and the history of the American Presidency.
  • Making of America (University of Michigan Site)
    Searchable full-text of thousands of pages of text from U.S. books and periodicals of the late 19th and early 20th-century.
  • North American Women's Letters and Diaries, Colonial-1950
    The immediate experiences of women, as revealed in more than 9,000 pages of diaries and letters.
  • Past Masters (Intelex)
    Broad collection of critical editions by primary authors in philosophy and social thought, as well as extensive collections of English and American letters.
  • University of Virginia's Electronic Text Center
    One of the best and most authoritative collections of publicly available, searchable electronic texts, with holdings in various languages, with particularly rich holdings for American publications.
  • Women Writers Online
    A full-text collection of writings by English and American women writing from the 16th through early 19th centuries.
  • Wright American Fiction, 1851-1875
    A collection of 19th century American fiction, as listed in Lyle Wright's bibliography American Fiction, 1851-1875.

Periodical Collections

  • Accessible Archives
    Provides access to several full-text collections produced by the electronic publisher Accessible Archives, including a collection African American Newspapers of the first half of the 19th century, Godey's Lady's Book, The Pennsylvania Gazette from 1725 to 1800, the Civil War reportage of one Northern and two Southern newspapers, and a collection of articles from various Delaware Valley newspapers in the early and mid-19th century.
  • American Periodicals Series
    Page images of large collection of American periodicals, currently covering the period 1740-1805, but eventually projected to cover 1740-1900. Searchable by title information, and to a limited extent, by words anywhere in the text.
  • Ethnic Newswatch
    Searchable full text of approximately 250 American ethnic and minority newspapers, with coverage from approximately 1960 to the present.
  • Harpweek
    Page images and searchable full text of Harper's Weekly, the popular illustrated American magazine, for the period 1856-1912 for the period of the Civil War. Detailed searchable subject index.
  • Historical Los Angeles Times
    Text of the paper from 1881 to 1984.
  • Historical New York Times
    Searchable text of the paper from 1851 to 2000
  • Historical Wall Street Journal
    Text of the paper from 1889 to 1987
  • Historical Washington Post
    Text of the paper from 1953 to the present.
  • JSTOR
    A collection of 120 American scholarly from their earliest issue up to about five years ago. Primarily useful as a secondary source, but because of the coverage it provides of scholarly writing as early as the late 19th century, it can also serve as interesting primary source shedding light on the cultural and intellectual outlook of earlier eras.
  • Making of America (Cornell University Site)
    Searchable full-text of thousands of pages of text from U.S. books and periodicals of the late 19th and early 20th-century, with a greater emphasis on periodical literature.
  • The Nation Digital Archive
    Searchable backfile and page images of a leading American left-liberal journal, 1865-1999.

Government Document Collections

  • Declassified Documents Reference System - U.S.
    Full text of declassified U.S. government documents, requested by researchers at U.S. Presidential libraries. Amounts to more than 70,000 formerly documents issued by various agencies of the government from the late 1940s to 1980.
  • Landmark Documents in American History
    CD-ROM LAN
    A full-text database which contains more than 1200 speeches, Supreme Court decisions, legislation, treaties, essays, and letters, augmented with portraits, illustrations, photographs, video clips, and over 200 biographies. Every document has an introduction which explains its background and significance.
  • Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789
    CD-ROM in Digital Humanities Center
    Searchable text of letters of delegates to congressional delegates in the period of the American Revolution, Articles of Confederation, and Constitutional Convention.
  • LEXIS-NEXIS
    Very large Database of full-text newspaper, wire-service and some magazines dating back as early as the 1980s, along with a database of legal material, including federal and state court decisions dating back in many cases to the 18th century.
  • Nuremberg War Crimes Trials
    CD-ROM in Digital Humanities Center
    Searchable transcript of Nuremberg proceedings.
  • Presidential Papers
    CD-ROM in Digital Humanities Center
    Searchable full-text of The Papers and Speeches of the Presidents, covering Washington through Taft, and The Public Papers of the Presidents for all Presidents from Hoover through the early Clinton years except Franklin D. Roosevelt. (Searchable collections of the papers of individual Presidents are sometimes available online at the website of Presidential Libraries, too.)
  • U. S. Congressional Serial Set
    A digital edition of this massive collection of Congressional documents and reports which, when completed, will cover the period 1817 to 1980.