This is the "Home" page of the "U.S. History and American Studies" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

U.S. History and American Studies   Tags: american history, amst, hist, u.s. history, united states history, us history, usa history  

A guide for conducting U.S. History and American Studies research at the Yale University Library.
Last Updated: Jun 8, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Home Print Page

Primary Source Databases

  • US and British Periodicals
    A comprehensive listing of all the periodical databases owned by Yale covering the US and UK.
  • Twentieth Century US
    A list of full-text primary source databases for 20th century U.S. history, including newspapers, magazines, and government documents.
  • Nineteenth Century US
    A list of full-text primary source databases for 19th century U.S. history, including newspapers, magazines, and government documents.
  • Colonial American and Early American History
    A list of full-text databases of Colonial U.S. history sources, including books, newspapers, and government documents.

Primary Source Collections

Important Indexes

Important Databases for U.S. History

  • America History and Life
    The key source for searching scholarly literature in U.S. history. Unlike JSTOR, America History and Life is current and includes books and dissertations. Tip: Search book titles to find book reviews.
  • Yale Finding Aid Database
    The Yale Finding Aid Database searches the full text of finding aids for archival materials at Yale University. Finding aids are guides that provide information about the creation, historical context, arrangement, and content of collections as well as the information necessary for users to identify and request items relevant to their research.
  • American National Biography
    A seminal reference source which includes reliable biographical information on a number of individuals. One of the key strengths of this database is that its entries often contain bibliographies that point to key secondary works and primary source collections.
  • American Foreign Relations Since 1600
    A seminal reference book that provides annotated overviews of secondary and primary source resources on all periods and places of U.S. foreign relations.
  • Archives Unbound
    A large collection of digitized archival collections on a number of subjects (LBGT studies, Cold War History, African American History) from various archives of note, including the U.S. National Archives, the British Library, and several private collections.

Key Newspaper & Periodical Databases for U.S. History

  • Access Newspaper Archive
    A collection of digital newspapers from smaller towns. Dates and places vary widely, making search results hit or miss.
  • America's Historical Newspapers
    Large collection of digital newspapers from the 18th through 20th centuries. This includes every digital newspaper collection from Readex.
  • Historical Newspapers Complete
    One of our premier databases, Historical Newspapers Complete contains large runs of major U.S. newspapers including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. Tip: choose "more search options" to limit searches to specific newspaper sections.
  • Yale Daily News Digital Archive
    An incomplete, but fairly substantial, digital archive of the Yale Daily News, going back to its inaugural issue in 1878.
  • Old Fulton History Newspaper Database
    This database is maintained by a private individual, who scans microfilm of New York State newspapers from 1795-2007. While the interface might lack sophistication, it's 23.5 million plus pages of scanned material makes this a rich resource. The search features leaves much to be desired, but the help tab offers tips to navigate this home-grown system.
  • Library PressDisplay
    Three month backlog of 2,200 newspapers from 97 countries in 54 languages. This is an excellent source to get the most up-to-date news.
  • NewspaperCat
    A catalog of digital historical newspapers, this resource facilitates the discovery of online digitized historical newspaper content from newspapers published in the United States and the Caribbean. It currently links to over 1,500 full-text newspaper titles.
  • Lantern: Media History Digital Library
    The Media History Digital Library (MHDL) digitizes collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access. The corpus of this source is large as the copyright of many media industry, fan, and technical publications were not renewed, and those pre-1964 works are now in the public domain. Contains over 800,000 pages of material.
  • Opinion Archives
    Searches opinion pieces and editorials from across the political spectrum. Full text available from The Nation, Commentary, NACLA, and The New Republic. Also indexes American Spectator, Commonweal, Harper's Magazine, The National Review, and The New York Review of Books.
  • California Digital Newspaper Collection
    This collection contains over 61,000 issues comprising almost 550,000 pages from 39 historical California newspapers published from 1846-1922, including the first California newspaper, the Californian, and the first daily California newspaper, the Daily Alta California.
  • Northern New York Historical Newspapers
    The online collection currently consists of more than 2,312,000 pages from 65 newspapers. Includes material from Essex, Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, and Oswego counties. The papers have a variety of coverage dates, ranging from the mid-19th century to 2008.
  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
    This freely available resource from the Library of Congress contains 6.5 million pages of material from 32 states from 1836-1922. Many of these newspapers are smaller, local periodicals. This resource is continuously added to.

Key Primary Source Databases for U.S. History

  • Rotunda: American Founding Era
    The complete published collections of major Founding Fathers in a single, fully searchable database. Contains the papers of George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Dolley Madison.
  • Ancestry Library Edition
    This database contains a large collection of primary sources, including original images of U.S. census records, slave schedules, and immigration passenger lists from New York, Philadelphia, and Boston for the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • ProQuest Congressional
    One of the best sources for U.S. government documents. Contains the Congressional Record and numerous hearings, reports and other documents from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Tip: limit searches to individual Congresses to narrow searches. Also, choose advanced search to select different parts of the database, such as the large map collection (Serial Set Maps). Also includes Executive Branch Documents 1789-1932, which includes all of the 200,000+ executive branch titles listed in the 1909 Checklist that were not included in the U.S. Serial Set, as well as an additional well-chosen 200,000 titles from 1910-1932.
  • American Periodical Series
    This database includes digitized images of the pages of many American magazines and journals published from 1740 to 1900. Titles range from Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine and America's first scientific journal, Medical Repository; popular magazines such as Vanity Fair and Ladies' Home Journal; regional and niche publications; and groundbreaking journals like The Dial, Puck, and McClure's.
  • American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1820-1922: From the New-York Historical Society
    Drawn from the pamphlet collection of the New-York Historical Society, this database will eventually provide access to more than 25,000 short printed works from the Jacksonian Era to the Jazz Age. New material is added at the end of every month until December 2014, so please check back.
  • American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection: Series 1
    Drawn from the periodical collections of the American Antiquarian Society, this database contains 500 titles dating from 1691 through 1820. Almost every 17th- and 18th-century American title is represented in addition to the majority of works published before 1821.
  • Sabin Americana
    Based on Joseph Sabin's famed bibliography, Bibliotheca Americana – A Dictionary of Books Relating to America From its Discovery to the Present Time, Sabin Americana, 1500–1926 is an online collection of books, pamphlets, serials and other works about the Americas, from the time of their discovery to the early 1900s. Sabin Americana, 1500–1926 is rich in original accounts of discovery and exploration, pioneering and westward expansion, the U.S. Civil War and other military actions, Native Americans, slavery and abolition, religious history and more.
  • Portal to 71 State History Digital Collections
    List of current web resources that provide digital access to a broad array of primary source materials at the state level, but does not include local or municipal websites. Most of the materials available through these websites are digitized versions of analog items.

Book Reviews

  • Book Review Digest Plus
    Contains a citation to every book review that appears in any of over 5,000+ indexed journals. Over 270,000 full-text reviews from more than 1,400 American, British, and Canadian periodicals included.
  • History: Reviews of New Books
    Approximately thirty to forty book reviews per quarterly issue cover all geographic areas and time periods, from ancient times to the present. Contains both feature reviews of two or more books, coming in at 3,000 words, and regular one-book reviews at 500-750 words.

My Favorite Databases

  • 19th Century Collections Online (NCCO)
    This ambitious project contains a large amount of 19th century archival material, with a special focus on British and U.S. foreign relations documents covering Asia.
  • The Economist
    Full-text database of every issue of the seminal English magazine from 1843-2006, providing an interesting lens through which to view U.S. events and policy.
  • Historical Statistics Complete
    Aggregated historical statistical data covering a number of areas, including economics, the military, crime, and demographics.
  • Google Patents
    Links to millions of US patents and patent applications from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, dating back to the eighteenth century and including patents as recent as the last few months. The google interface makes this rich collection readily searchable.
  • Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History, 1819-1972
    Women's Travel Diaries and Correspondence from The Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
  • Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection, Cornell University Library
    Digital archive of materials from the Cornell University Library.

New Resources, 2014-2015

  • Associated Press Online Archive
    Features material from the Washington DC bureau, select city bureaus, and the central office archive.
  • China, America, and the Pacific
    Adam Matthew database includes some of the strongest collections on the subject of the "Old China Trade."
  • Gilder Lehrman Collection: American History 1493-1859
    First half of the entire digitization of GLC's archive. Especially good with AFAM history & the Revolution. Contains Henry Knox Papers.
  • Women's Wear Daily Archive (1910-present)
    The definitive fashion and retail publication. Contains full run since 1910 with material scanned cover to cover, including all advertisements and images.
  • American Consumer Culture, 1935-1965
    Adam Matthew database provides access to the complete market research reports of Ernest Dichter, the era’s foremost consumer analyst and market research pioneer.
  • U.S. Diplomatic Post Records, 1914-1945
    These diplomatic records were kept at embassies and legations around the world and often rival the State Department’s Central Files for coverage of important events. Records include incoming messages from Washington D.C., retained copies of outgoing dispatches, locally gathered information, and background information on decision making.
  • NAACP Papers
    Contains all modules of the NAACP Papers - nearly 2 million pages of internal memos, legal briefings and direct action summaries from the civil rights association’s national, legal and branch offices.
  • Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War
    Over 1,500 periodicals written and illustrated by serving members of the armed forces and associated welfare organisations published between 1914 and the end of 1919.
  • Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive, 1880-2000
    Coverage of 30 magazines goes from the era of vaudeville and silent movies through to 2000. The core US and UK trade magazines covering film, music, broadcasting and theater are all included, together with film fan magazines and music press titles. Important titles include Variety (1905-2000), Billboard (1894-2000), Broadcasting (1931-2000) and The Stage (1880-2000).
  • Rock's Backpages
    An online archive of music journalism sourced from freelance contributions to the music and mainstream press from the 1950s to the present day. It contains over 25,000 articles, interviews, features, and reviews from magazines like Creem, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, Rock Scene, among many others. In addition, it includes 400 audio interviews with rock and roll artists.
  • Caribbean Newspapers, Series 1, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society
    Featuring more than 140 newspapers from 22 islands, most in English, this resource documents links between the US and the Caribbean.
  • British Online Archives
    Contains a number of collections of mostly English and British history from the 17th-20th centuries, but it also includes American material from the Tarleton papers and American material in the archives of the USPG, 1635-1812.
  • National Security and FBI Surveillance Enemy Aliens
    Covers the FBI's surveillance of enemy aliens from 1940-1978.
  • Law and Society Since the Civil War: American Legal Manuscripts from the Harvard Law School Library
    Contains papers and court files from important 20th century judges, including Felix Frankfurter, Louis Brandeis, and Roscoe Pound, among others.
  • Black Abolitionist Papers
    Fully searchable, digital version of the seminal collection of abolitionist material.

Loading  Loading...