American History Online, a project of the Andrew W. Mellon foundation and the University of Illinois, provides scholars with access to distributed historical digital library collections. OVer 360 collections are currently accessible through this search and browse portal, and over 416,000 items - representing over 70 percent of all materials in these collections - are from the 20th century. The primary source materials available through this portal include photographs and cultural materials, books and pamphlets, journal articles, maps, short music videos, data sets, political cartoons and posters, and oral histories.
While watching television commercials might seem like a form of torture to some, this amazing archive is a treasure trove for those with an interest in media studies and popular culture. The AdViews digital archive consists of several thousand vintage television commercials from the 1950s through 1980s, and it is part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke University. First-time visitors should check out the "About" area for a bit more background on the project, and then type in some keywords like "peanuts" or "toothpaste" into the search engine. The results are returned in a grid format, and the commercials are played back via iTunes. The "AdViews Expert Interviews" area contains talks with former advertising executives, professors of marketing, and media studies experts. [Internet Scout Project]
"The Alger Hiss Story" web site recreates one of the most important legal cases in U.S. Cold War history, often cited as a turning point in 20th century American thinking. The site is dedicated to students of recent American history at all levels, including high school, college, and post-graduate work; to the research community of scholars, archivists, and teachers; and to a wide general audience.
American Memory is a large-scale project of the Library of Congress to make available multimedia collections of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and text from the Library's Americana collections. Over 100 historical collections are now available through this site, including over seven million digitized items (e.g., maps, pamphlets, sheet music, photographs, broadsides, films, sound recordings, notebooks, periodicals and manuscripts). Among the many notable collections in American Memory is Working Paterson: Occupational Heritage in an Urban Setting.
This site "contains a slightly expanded and fully searchable version of the print publication 'American Women: A Library of Congress Guide for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States' ... with added illustrations and links to existing digitized material located throughout the Library of Congress Web site." Includes books, maps, manuscripts, music, images, and other research materials. Browsable and searchable. From the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress. [Librarians' Internet Index]
The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War, and seeks to accelerate the process of integrating new sources, materials and perspectives from the former "Communist bloc" with the historiography of the Cold War which has been written over the past few decades largely by Western scholars reliant on Western archival sources. It also seeks to transcend barriers of language, geography, and regional specialization to create new links among scholars interested in Cold War history. The site features numerous archival document collections, readers, and other publications on a wide variety of Cold War topics.
Site hosted by Southern Methodist University features just over 200 government documents from World War II. Plans are to enhance the database to approximately double its size by May 2002, when 300-500 documents will be included. Users can either view the documents in a simple list (sortable by title, author, or publication date) or perform a fielded search (title, author, subject, or keyword).
The Joseph Berry Keenan Digital Collection - comprised of manuscript materials and photographs—offers researchers invaluable insight into the Japanese War Crimes Trial - one of the most important trials of the twentieth century. Harvard University Law School's digitized collection makes available online over 1,400 documents and correspondences as well as nearly 100 photographs of Joseph B. Keenan, the chief counsel of the International Prosecution Section (IPS) at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), commonly known as the Tokyo War Crimes Trials.
In 2005, Stanford University professor Clayborne Carson, lifelong civil rights activist, established the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. Twenty years earlier, Coretta Scott King asked Carson to direct a project preserving and editing her husband's papers; this is one of the major initiatives of the institute. Its other main concern is to further King's civil rights work of hope and reconciliation. The section of the site on King Resources is among the best on the site, containing selected audio-visual material, photo galleries, sermons, speeches, timelines and chronologies, and other resources for students and scholar.
The Library of Congress has an online exhibit of 70 items regarding the history of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and their ultimate goal is to have over 150 items online here. There are several ways for visitors to learn about the history of the NAACP from this website. The slideshow on the homepage has half a dozen or so slides that comprise the themes of the exhibit, such as "The New Negro Movement", "The Civil Rights Era", and a "Renewal of the Struggle". Clicking on "Learn more" of any of the brief descriptions that accompany the photos in the slideshow will take visitors to an expanded explanation, as well as give them the opportunity to see all the items for that theme. With a video introduction by actor Laurence Fishburne, the "Interactive Timeline" highlights events and people that influenced the founding of the NAACP in 1909. Upon entering the timeline, visitors will see a map of milestones, which they can click on for a description of the event, and to see the impact of the event on a map below the map of milestones. [Internet Scout Project]
The National Woman's Party Digital Collection contains selected items that can be browsed through one of four groups: Suffrage (1848-1920), Equal Rights (1923-1990), International (1925), and Contemporary (1970-present), with the bulk of material found under the Suffrage and Equal Rights headings. Digitized items include scrapbooks, photographs, political cartoons, and artifacts such as banners, sashes, and costumes. There is also an advanced text search option as well as links to the museum's main page, fees and instructions for obtaining reproductions, and other women's history Internet sources, including those with quite similar materials.
The New Deal Network is a research and teaching resource devoted to the public works and arts projects of the New Deal. At the core of the site is a database of primary source materials - photographs, political cartoons, and texts (speeches, letters, and other historic documents) - gathered from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, and other sources. Currently there are over 20,000 items in this database, many of them previously accessible only to scholars. Unlike many databases on the Web, which represent the holdings of a particular institution, the New Deal Network is drawing from a wide variety of sources around the country to create a theme-based archive.
The rich oral history of the House of Representatives of the United States was finally authorized to be preserved in 2004. This website of the Office of History and Preservation in the Office of the Clerk has much to recommend it. Visitors interested in getting a scope of the project should click on the link "Interviewees", in the middle of the page. The range of sessions of Congress included in the interviewees is from the 72nd to the 111th. Interestingly, the interviewees are not only elected Representatives, but also include "House Officers, Member aides, committee staff, support staff, family of Members, and select former Representatives." The "Historic Events" section in the lower third of the page links to a list of historic events of the House, as well as the number of interviewees who discuss the event in their interview. Visitors can click on the event to bring up the name of the interviewee and the link to their interview. [Internet Scout Project]
The NCJW Oral History Project provides a compelling insight into the growth of an important American Jewish community and the contributions made by the people interviewed. Over a span of 32 years, the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Pittsburgh Section, conducted more than 500 oral history interviews focused on the Jewish community – the history, the traditions, the contributions – of its members. The hundreds of interviews and thousands of hours of audiotape accumulated by a surprisingly small group of dedicated volunteers are an invaluable resource. The interviews provide windows into the Jewish community's impact on academic, business, civic, cultural, medical, political, religious, and social evolution and development in Pittsburgh, as well as national and international events. This Web site consists of 516 interviews conducted between 1968 and 2001.
The Presidential Libraries are repositories for preserving and making available the papers, records, and other historical materials of U.S. Presidents since Herbert Hoover. Each one contains a museum and provides an active series of public programs. When a President leaves office, NARA establishes a Presidential project until a new Presidential library is built and transferred to the Government. This site contains links to each library.
"This site, developed by the Chicago Historical Society, is a tribute to Studs Terkel, the noted oral historian, author, and radio host for over fifty years. Organized into galleries that are largely centered around the extensive interviews that Mr. Terkel did for each of one of his books, each section contains dozens of audio clips of these long-form interviews. A biography section of Mr. Terkel documents some of his many endeavors, including more audio clips of him speaking about his family history and growing up in Chicago. Complementing this section is a multimedia interview with Mr. Terkel, divided into sections featuring him talking about his books, writing oral history, and documenting everyday life in the United States. Well-designed and organized, the site provides a thorough portrait of this prodigious and talented American storyteller." [Internet Scout Project]