Guide to visiting libraries & archives in the United States

[Cross-posted from the main VHL blog]

naraSummer is prime time for students and researchers to plan trips to visit libraries and archives. If you’ve never been to the United States to conduct archival research before, you may find the process a little daunting. We have therefore put together a guide to the some of the key libraries and archives our readers might plan on going to, along with various tips of things to consider when thinking about and planning your trip.

The guide is available on LibGuides at We welcome feedback on the guide and hope many of you find it useful!

American magazines

In a previous post, I described how to find digitised magazine archives via Google Books, and I have also previously blogged about newspaper sources available in Oxford, but have not yet written about what American magazines are available here. Following our purchase of three political magazine archives earlier in the year, it seems a good time to rectify that!

In this post:

Online archives

Our major online source for American magazine archives is American Periodicals. This database covers 1740-1943 and contains over 1,500 titles. These magazines are wide-ranging in focus, from political and current affairs titles, to women’s and children’s magazines, literary and scientific journals, and all sorts of other interests. Particular highlights include runs of Benjamin Franklin’s General Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, Vanity Fair, The Century Magazine, The Dial, Puck, and McClure’s among many others. Access is available to Oxford users via OxLIP+, on the ProQuest platform. If you are used to using the newspaper archives of the New York Times, Washington Post and others, the search interface will be familiar, and you can cross-search American Periodicals with these newspaper archives. As well as searching for individual articles, you can search and browse the list of titles included by clicking on the ‘publications’ link:

American Periodicals Also available via ProQuest is the complete archive of American Vogue from 1892 to the present, which can again be cross-searched with American Periodicals and the newspaper archives available via ProQuest.

To cross-search ProQuest titles, click on the ‘searching 1 database’ link in the blue bar at the top of the screen. This will open up a list of all the ProQuest databases the Bodleian Libraries subscribe to. You can select as many of these as you like and, on clicking ‘use selected databases’, you will be taken to a generic search screen which will allow you to search across all the ones you chose at once.

Cross-searching on ProQuestAs previously mentioned, earlier this year we subscribed to three new online magazine archives: those of The Nation (1865-), National Review (1955-) and The New Republic (1914-). These are three of the most significant American political magazines of the twentieth century (and earlier, in the case of The Nation), covering both sides of the political spectrum. All three are available via OxLIP+ on the EBSCO platform, and as with the ProQuest titles above, can be cross-searched with each other. To do this, click on the ‘choose databases’ link just above the search boxes and, as with ProQuest, you will then be presented with a list of all the EBSCO databases we have access to to select from.

Cross-searching on EBSCOAs well as these three, we also have access to CQ Weekly courtesy of the Rothermere American Institute, directly from their website at from 1983-. It’s not immediately obvious how to get to the back issues beyond the past few years from their website, but if you go to the advanced search screen you will find that you can search the archives back to 1983.

Other magazine archives can often be found in larger journal collections, such as JSTOR or Periodicals Archive Online, or in odd cases, in various other online collections, for example Commonweal in Literature Online (1992-) or The New Yorker in the Shakespeare Collection from 2002-.

If you are looking for magazines dating from before the 1920s, it’s well worth searching some of the major websites for free digitised materials, such as the Hathi Trust, Internet Archive and the Library of Congress’s American Memory site. You can also find a huge number of 19th century journals in the Making of America sites hosted at Cornell and the University of Michigan.

Alternatively, for recent years, there are a few large databases, mostly business or legal collections, which contain back issues of a surprising number of American magazines:

  • ABI/INFORM: The American Enterprise (1994-2006), The American Prospect (1996-), The Atlantic (1986-), Forbes (1992-2006), Foreign Policy (1994-), The New Republic (1988-), Newsweek (1998-2012), Policy Review (1994-2013), The Public Interest (1988-2005), Scientific American (1986-), US News & World Report (2010-), The Washington Monthly (1988-)
  • Business Source Complete: The American Enterprise (1994-2006), Bloomberg Businessweek (1996-2010), Forbes (1990-), Foreign Affairs (1964-), Foreign Policy (1990-), Fortune (1992-), The New Republic (1990-), Newsweek (1990-2002), Policy Review (1990-), The Public Interest (1990-2005), Time (1990-), US News & World Report (1990-2010)
  • Factiva: Forbes (1992-), Foreign Affairs (1999-), Newsweek (1994-), The New Yorker (2005-), The Weekly Standard (1997-2010)
  • Nexis UK: The American Prospect (1992-), The American Spectator (1994-), Bloomberg Businessweek (1975-), The Christian Science Monitor (1980-), Ebony 1984-), Foreign Affairs (1982-), Human Events (2006-), The National Interest (1993-), National Review (1998-), The New Republic (1994-), New York (2005-), Slate (1996-), US News & World Report (1975-), The Weekly Standard (1994-)
  • vLex Global: The American Conservative (2007-), The American Prospect (2004-), The American Spectator (2004-), Commonweal (2009-), Human Events (2009-), Mother Jones (2004-), The National Interest (1993-), Policy Review (2004-), The Progressive (1993-), Reason (1993-), Saturday Evening Post (1984-)

All of these databases may be found via OxLIP+ and there should be records on SOLO for the individual titles as well. Note that these archives may not be comprehensive and in most cases, are not digitised versions of the print issues but just provide access to the text of the articles.

Printed and microfilm collections in Oxford

As well as the various online archives, there are a lot of American magazines available in print or on microfilm in the Vere Harmsworth, Bodleian, or other Oxford libraries. Several key titles are listed in the newspapers section of our online guide, and below I’ve listed a selection of titles where Oxford has a more extensive run available in print or on microfilm than may be found online through one of the archives above. Note that for some titles, the Bodleian holds the European or International edition rather than the US one; this should be indicated in the record on SOLO.

  • The American Enterprise: VHL 1990-2000, Nuffield 1990-1998. Previous title was Public Opinion, held in Nuffield 1978-1988. Also available online via ABI/INFORM and Business Source Complete from 1994-2006.
  • The Atlantic/The Atlantic Monthly: Bodleian 1857- (not necessarily complete). Title changes frequently so there are many records on SOLO. Also available online via Making of America (1857-1901), ABI/INFORM (1986-)
  • Collier’s/Collier’s Weekly/Collier’s Once a Week: Bodleian 1889-1890, 1902, 1905-1919
  • Commonweal: Bodleian 1947-1991. Also available online via Literature Online 1992- and vLex Global 2009-.
  • The Christian Science Monitor: Radcliffe Science Library 1975-2000, 2005-. Also available online via Nexis UK 1980-.
  • Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report/CQ Weekly: VHL 1953-2007. Also available online via 1983-.
  • Dissent: Bodleian 1954-1980, Social Science Library 1981-
  • Ebony: VHL 1958-2008. Also available online via Nexis UK 1984- and Google Books 1959-2008.
  • Fortune: Bodleian 1930-1943, 1953-1959, 1963-1978. Also available online via Business Source Complete 1992-.
  • Harper’s/Harper’s Magazine/Harper’s Monthly Magazine/Harper’s New Monthly Magazine: Bodleian 1880-, English Faculty Library 1880-1903, 1908-1909. Also available online via Making of America 1850-1899 and the Hathi Trust (various 19th century volumes).
  • Harper’s Weekly: VHL 1861-1865
  • Life: Bodleian 1936-1938, 1944-1955. Also available online via Google Books 1953-1972.
  • Monthly Review: Social Science Library 1965-2002, 2004-
  • The National Interest: VHL 1985-. Also available online via Nexis UK and vLex Global 1993-.
  • National Journal: VHL 1977-
  • Newsweek/News-week: Bodleian 1949-. Also available via Nexis UK 1975-, Business Source Complete 1990-2012, Factiva 1994- and ABI/INFORM 1998-2012.
  • New York: VHL 1969-1970. Available online via Google Books 1975-1997 and Nexis UK 2005-.
  • New York Review of Books: Bodleian (Lower Gladstone Link) 1963-, English Faculty Library 1968-1976, 1994-, VHL 2007-
  • The New Yorker: Bodleian 1925-. Also available online via the Shakespeare Collection 2002- and Factiva 2005-.
  • Political Affairs/The Communist/The New Masses/The Liberator/The Masses: Bodleian 1911-2008
  • The Progressive/Follette’s Magazine/La Follette’s: VHL 1948-1982
  • Rolling Stone: Bodleian 1971-1976
  • Saturday Evening Post: Bodleian 1900-1963. Also available online via American Periodicals 1821-1830, 1836-1885 and vLex Global 1984-.
  • Time: Bodleian 1943-. Also available online via Business Source Complete 1990-.
  • US News & World Report/United States News: VHL 1940-2010. Also available online via Nexis UK 1975-, Business Source Complete 1990-2010 and ABI/INFORM 2010-.

In addition to these, we also have a specific collection of African American magazines from the early to mid 20th century. These are available as microfiche/films in the VHL (shelfmarks Micr. USA 397-422) and include: African: a Journal of African Affairs (1937-1948), Alexander’s Magazine (1905-1909), The Brown American (1936-1945), Color Line (1946-1947), The Colored American Magazine (1900-1901), Competitor (1920-1921), Crisis (1910-1940), Fire!! (1926), Half-Century Magazine (1916-1925), Harlem Quarterly (1949-1950), Messenger (1917-1928), The National Negro Voice (1941), Negro Educational Review (1950-1965), Negro Farmer and Messenger (1914-1918), Negro Music Journal (1902-1903), The Negro Needs Education (1935-1936), The Negro Quarterly (1942-1943), Negro Story (1944-1946), New Challenge (1934, 1937), Quarterly Review of Higher Education Among Negroes (1933-1960), Race (1935-1936), The Southern Frontier (1940-1945), The Tuskegee Messenger (1924-1936) and The Voice of the Negro (1904-1907).

Finding magazines on SOLO

It can be tricky to find magazines on SOLO if you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for, particularly if they have relatively generic titles such as Time or The Nation. Titles often change at various points in a magazine’s history which adds a further layer of complication. There are a couple of things you can do which can help you when searching SOLO for any given magazine:

  • Use the limit your search filter under the main search box to restrict your search to journals.
  • Check the date ranges carefully in the record. Note that the dates given will be for that specific title; if the journal you are looking for changed its title, even slightly, there will be a new record on SOLO for each time it does. The way to find this out is to look in the details tab of the record where you will see previous/subsequent titles listed as related titles. Unfortunately these aren’t links that you can then click on, but it will at least tell you what you need to search for!

Here’s a screenshot for a search for The Atlantic Monthly which illustrates these points. This is a particularly extreme example of title changes resulting in multiple records!

The Atlantic - title changes

Finding articles in magazines

Finding the magazines themselves is all very well, but particularly for those which are only available in print or microfilm, it can be a time-consuming process to work through indexes and tables of contents hunting for articles you might be interested in. One key resource to help you locate articles in American magazines and journals is the Readers’ GuideThis has been published since 1901 (with coverage back to 1890) and indexes articles in a huge number of American magazines and journals by subject. We have the printed volumes available in the library from 1900-1969, and also have access to the fully searchable online version which covers 1890-1982. You can get to this via OxLIP+, and when you click through, the search interface will look familiar if you are used to using either America: History & Life or the archives of The Nation, National Review and The New Republic as it is also provided by EBSCO. This means that the Readers’ Guide can be cross-searched with these if you follow the instructions above, and it will also provide access to the full text of articles in those three magazine archives, as well as some other titles it indexes.

When searching the Readers’ Guide, there are several useful features that can help you narrow down your results and find the articles you need. You can limit your results to those where the full text is available, or filter them to see articles from magazines or academic journals or other types of publication. You can also filter by individual publication itself, which can be helpful if you know what magazines are available to you here in Oxford. Any of these can be done pre- or post-searching (see screenshots below). And even if the articles you want are not available in full text within the database, you can use the Find it @ Oxford button next to any record to click through to see if that article is available to you via another means, such as one of the other online collections, or kick off a search in SOLO to look for the print. Readers' Guide search screenrgpl

Digital National Security Archive: now via ProQuest

Digital National Security ArchiveOur subscription to the Digital National Security Archive has moved from its own site to be incorporated into the ProQuest platform. If you’re used to using our other ProQuest resources (Historic Newspapers, American Periodicals, Ethnic NewsWatch, Dissertations & Theses among others), the new search interface will be familiar to you, and as with our other ProQuest subscriptions, it will now be possible to cross-search these with the DNSA.

Using DNSA Collections on ProQuest

DNSA is arranged as a number of thematic collections, which could be searched individually. There are three ways to do this now it has moved to ProQuest:

  1. From the basic search screen, the collections are listed at the bottom of the page (click ‘show all’ to see the full list). Clicking on any of these collections will take you to a search screen for just that collection.
  2. From the advanced search screen, you can select some or all DNSA collections in the ‘search options’ underneath the search boxes.
  3. Using the ‘select databases‘ option in the blue bar at the top of the screen. Click where it says ‘searching 1 database’ to expand the list, and then you can select whichever ProQuest databases you choose. If you scroll down to select Digital National Security Archive you will see a + sign; clicking on that will expand a further list of the individual DNSA collections for you to select or deselect. This is also how you can cross-search DNSA with other ProQuest databases subscribed to by Oxford.

Cross-searching DNSA collectionsUsing DNSA Bibliographies, Chronologies and Glossaries on ProQuest

As well as the documents themselves, the collections were supported by additional descriptive materials, providing background information on the collections, history, and documents. These are still accessible via ProQuest but are a little bit less obvious to find. To get to them, click on ‘browse’ next to the advanced search link:

DNSA Browse for supporting materialYou can also search the bibliographies, chronologies and glossaries from the advanced search screen by selecting them in the first of the search options under the search boxes:

Including supporting material in searchExporting saved searches and references from My Archive – important!

If you used the My Archive feature on the old DNSA site, your saved searches and references will not have transferred to the new ProQuest platform. The old site will remain available at until late summer, so if you have saved searches and references you have some time to retrieve them before it gets shut down. ProQuest have written up a guide to how to export your data from My Archive so that you don’t lose them. On ProQuest, it is possible to save searches and documents in much the same way using their My Research feature, but you would need to recreate any searches or saved documents from DNSA manually there.

Further information


Finding digitised newspapers and magazines on Google Books

My New Year’s resolution is to try and update this blog a bit more frequently than I’ve managed in the last year or so, and yet it’s already February! Anyway, a few enquiries lately have reminded me that I had meant to write up some guidance to searching for archives of newspapers and magazines that have been digitised by Google.

Thanks to Google’s mass digitisation project, it is possible to find old issues of hundreds of newspapers and magazines via the Google News Archive and via Google Books, many of which date from after 1922 (the end-date for the public domain in the US, and the date after which freely digitised sources become much scarcer on the web). It’s a fantastic resource if you’re looking for news or periodical sources for 20th century American history, but not one that is all that immediately intuitive to navigate.

Google News Archive:

The Google News Archive contains digitised issues of hundreds of newspapers, many from the United States. If you visit the main page (link above) you are presented with an alphabetical listing of all the newspapers for which some digitised issues are available. It tells you quite clearly how many issues are available and from what time period, but unhelpfully does not provide any more information than that about the newspapers themselves – tricky if you’re looking for papers from a particular location and don’t know what they’re called, and newspapers often have frustratingly generic titles if they don’t include an obvious indication of location. There is also no way to browse or limit the papers you see by location or by date, but if you know you’re looking for a particular newspaper and date then it is easy to find whether it’s available here.

Clicking on a newspaper title will bring you to a screen where you can browse issues in a timeline, displayed by day, week, month, year or decade. If you start with ‘decade’ then you can ‘zoom in’ to the other levels by clicking on the header of the column. Once you click on a particular edition, you get a nice user-friendly display where you can zoom in and out, flip through the pages, and even link directly to a single article. It is not however possible either to print or to download pages or articles.

Timeline view

As well as browsing the newspapers, you can of course search. Google provides two search boxes at the top of the main screen – the one right at the top is the normal main Google search box, and then underneath there’s another box with two buttons next to it, appearing to offer you a choice between searching the archive and searching the web. Alas this is all a mirage – Google have retired the option to search the archive directly from here and if you type something in the search box and click ‘search archive’ it just runs a normal web search anyway! It is possible to search the archive but you have to explicitly tell it to search the digitised newspapers by typing ‘’ into the search bar on Google followed by your search terms. You can then use ‘search tools’ to limit your results by a custom date range.

Searching digitised newspapersMagazines on Google Books:

It is possible to browse digitised magazines via Google Books, but it’s not at all obvious if you don’t know how! If you go to the main Google Books page the search button just says ‘search books’ and the ‘browse books and magazines’ option takes you to an entirely unhelpful directory of random books according to various subjects. What you need to do instead is to go to, where you will find an alphabetical listing of digitised magazines by title. Unlike the listing of newspapers that I described above, this initial listing doesn’t give you any indication of how many issues or which years are available. To see that, you either need to click on the magazine title and then choose ‘browse all issues’ in the left-hand sidebar, or click on the small ‘browse all issues’ link underneath the title. This will then bring you to a full listing of all the issues available, which is unfortunately nowhere near as user-friendly to navigate as the timeline display for the newspapers.

Another odd quirk is that to get into the magazine itself, you need to click on the title link, not the cover image for the issue. If you click on the latter, you are taken to a descriptive page and then have to click on ‘preview this magazine’ to get to the content itself!

Title entry for magazinesViewing magazines is similar to viewing the newspapers, with zoom options and smooth scrolling through the pages. You can also choose to view multiple pages at once, which can be helpful for scanning through to find the page you want.

Viewing multiple pagesAs with the newspapers, you can only link to the issue, not print or download. You can however search within the magazine much more easily, using the search box in the left-hand sidebar. The default is to search within the particular issue you are viewing, but there is a checkbox to search all issues as well.

Magazine search

Welcome to our new home!

After a happy six years on Blogger, we have decided to move the VHL blogs to a new home, on the Bodleian Libraries’ own blogging platform. This gives us a more ‘official’ URL and ties us in more closely to other Bodleian blogs like that of the History Faculty Library.

From now on, you can find the main VHL blog at and the US Studies Resources blog at The links to and from our website, Facebook and Twitter are being updated, so if you get your news from the blog that way you should continue to do so.

If you have subscribed to the blog either via RSS or email you should not need to do anything as we will be updating the settings for our subscription service, Feedburner. You should continue to receive new posts exactly as before, though please do let us know if not so that we can check it’s all working as it should.

New sites saved on our delicious page

Here are the links most recently added to our list of useful free web resources on delicious.

American Transcendentalism
Collection of texts, criticism and other sources relating to 19th century American transcendentalism
The Antislavery Literature Project
The Antislavery Literature Project engages in public scholarship by providing educational access to the literature and history of the antislavery movement in the United States.
British Virginia
British Virginia is a series of scholarly editions of documents touching on the colony. These texts range from the 16th and 17th-century literature of English exploration to the 19th-century writing of loyalists and other Virginians who continued to identify with Great Britain. British Virginia editions appear principally in digital form, freely downloadable.
Gilder Lehrman Center Online Documents
The Gilder Lehrman Center’s online document collection contains over 200 individual items, including speeches, letters, cartoons and graphics, interviews, and articles.
Founders Online
Correspondence and Other Writings of Six Major Shapers of the United States: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Over 119,000 searchable documents, fully annotated, from the authoritative, federally funded Founding Fathers Papers projects.
Digital Public Library of America
The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.
Dime Novels and Penny Dreadfuls (Stanford)
Stanford’s Dime Novel and Story Paper Collection consists of over 8,000 individual items, and includes long runs of the major dime novel series (Frank Leslie’s Boys of America, Happy Days, Beadle’s New York Dime Library, etc.) and equally strong holdings of story papers like the New York Ledger and Saturday Night.
Cornell University Law Library Trial Pamphlets Collection
The Trials Pamphlet collection at the Cornell University Law Library consists of pamphlets ranging in date from the late 1600s to the late 1800s. As a collection, these trial pamphlets are a unique resource that captures a formative period in American history from the early years of the republic, through the turmoil of the Civil War, to the emergence of the United States as a leading industrial nation in the late 1800s.
FDR Library Digitized Collections
Digitized materials and finding aids for the collections at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum
Thomas Addis Emmet collection (New York Public Library)
The Emmet Collection was assembled over a period of fifty years by Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, a renowned surgeon and one of the early collectors of American manuscripts of the revolutionary era. His collection of 94 volumes of manuscripts and extra-illustrated books was purchased by John S. Kennedy and presented to The New York Public Library in 1896.The portion of the Emmet Collection housed in the Manuscripts and Archives Division consists of approximately 10,800 historical manuscripts relating chiefly to the period prior to, during, and following the American Revolution. The collection contains letters and documents by the signers of the Declaration of Independence as well as nearly every prominent historical figure of the period. The manuscripts are arranged in 28 topics, most of them milestones in early American history.
The Daily Progress, 1892-1923
Digitised issues from the Charlottesville, VA newspaper, available from the University of Virginia | Library of Congress
Contains legislation from the 107th Congress (2001) to the present, member profiles from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present, and some member profiles from the 80th through the 92nd Congresses (1947 to 1972). is in an initial beta phase with plans to transform the Library of Congress’s existing congressional information system into a modern, durable and user-friendly resource. Eventually, it will incorporate all of the information available on
US Mass Shootings, 1982-2012: Data From Mother Jones’ Investigation
Full data set (available in CSV, XLS, TXT and Google docs) from Mother Jones’ investigation into mass shootings in the United States, begun following the Aurora, CO shooting in July 2012

New sites saved on our delicious page

These posts used to go on the main VHL blog, but I’ve decided to bring them over here from now on. By way of introduction, we have a page on which I use to save links to useful free web resources as and when I come across them. As I blogged in a post earlier in the year, there is such a wealth of material being digitised and made available by libraries, archives and other institutions in the US, and it can be hard to know where to even start looking. The VHL delicious page is my way of trying to share the sites that I have found. Every now and then we post a round-up of the most recent links saved on the blog, and you can always take a look at the full list at

So, without further ado, here are some of the web resources saved on our delicious page over the past few months:

Association for Cultural Equity Online Archive
Archive of sound recordings, videos and photographs of the Association for Cultural Equity, founded by musicologist and ethnologist Alan Lomax. [SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED]
Over 800 newspapers from the 1700s-2000s. The site can be searched for free and a 7-day free trial is available, but thereafter full content is only available to paid subscribers.
Historical Newspapers from New York State
Over 6 million pages of historic newspapers from central and northern New York newspapers.
Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington
The Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington aims to … inform, educate, and engage while utilizing the web as a vibrant medium to allow visitors to interact and explore primary source materials and objects from the Mount Vernon collection. Entries focus on the totality of Washington’s life and experiences, while also covering the Mount Vernon Estate, its history, and preservation.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Digital Suite
The Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Suite offers unprecedented access to the Harvard Law School Library’s rich collection of Holmes archival material. Using a new search platform developed by the Library’s Digital Lab users can now search over 100,000 digitized documents and over 1,000 images from multiple collections from a single access point.
Unsealed material from U.S. v Liddy
Release of records from the National Archives that have been sealed under court order since the 1970s Watergate criminal trial of seven men involved in the Watergate burglary, U.S. v. Liddy, et al. The release includes 36 folders of documents totaling approximately 950 pages (in whole or in part).
Clinton Library – FLOTUS speech archive
This collection consists of Communications Director Lissa Muscatine’s records from First Lady Hillary Clinton’s Press Office. The material highlights topics such as health care, women’s rights, the Millennium Council, Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and her domestic and foreign travel. The collection contains articles, press releases, statements, speeches, and interviews of the First Lady.
Mississippi Digital Library
The Mississippi Digital Library is the cooperative digital library program for the state. Its ultimate aim is to provide access to primary source materials covering a wide range of subject areas from Mississippi museums, archives, libraries, and historical societies.
LOUISiana Digital Library
The LOUISiana Digital Library (LDL) is an online library of Louisiana institutions that provides over 144,000 digital materials. Its purpose is to make unique historical treasures from the Louisiana institution’s archives, libraries, museums, and other repositories in the state electronically accessible to Louisiana residents and to students, researchers, and the general public in other states and countries. The LOUISiana Digital Library contains photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, oral histories, and more that document history and culture.
Federal Documents Collection | US House and Senate Committee Hearings and Publications (University of New Orleans)
Almost 100 Congressional Committee Hearings and publications made available by the University of New Orleans. The majority of the documents date from the 1960s-1980s.
Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
In conjunction with the Thurgood Marshall Law Library’s strategic plan to enhance its civil rights collection in support of the School of Law’s teaching and research mission, the Library has worked since 2001 to create a complete electronic record of United States Commission on Civil Rights publications held in the Library’s collection and available on the USCCR Web site. The publications are made available over the Internet as page image presentations in PDF format.
Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project – Archive
The Densho Digital Archive holds more than 650 visual histories (more than 1,200 hours of recorded video interviews) and over 11,000 historic photos, documents, and newspapers. The archive is growing as Densho continues to record life histories and collect images and records. These primary sources document the Japanese American experience from immigration in the early 1900s through redress in the 1980s with a strong focus on the World War II mass incarceration.
The Maine Memory Network, Maine’s online museum, a project of the Maine Historical Society
Developed and managed by the Maine Historical Society (MHS), the Maine Memory Network (MMN) enables historical societies, libraries, and other cultural institutions across the state to upload, catalog, and manage digital copies of historical items from their collections into one centralized, web-accessible database. Over 20,000 items are currently available from over 200 contributing institutions.
Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives
The photographs of the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944. The collection encompasses the images made by photographers working in Stryker’s unit as it existed in a succession of government agencies: the Resettlement Administration (1935-1937), the Farm Security Administration (1937-1942), and the Office of War Information (1942-1944). The collection also includes photographs acquired from other governmental and non-governmental sources, including the News Bureau at the Offices of Emergency Management (OEM), various branches of the military, and industrial corporations. In total, the collection consists of about 175,000 black-and-white film negatives and transparencies, 1,610 color transparencies, and around 107,000 black-and-white photographic prints, most of which were made from the negatives and transparencies.
Farm Security Administration photographs (New York Public Library)
Over 1,000 digitised images from the FSA collection, not included in the Library of Congress collection (available at
Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project
This multi-media web site brings the vital history of Seattle’s civil rights movements to life with scores of video oral histories, hundreds of rare photographs, documents, movement histories, and personal biographies, more than 300 pages in all. Based at the University of Washington, the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is a collaboration between community groups and UW faculty and students.
Kansas Memory
Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. It supports the mission of the Society–to identify, collect, preserve, interpret, and disseminate materials and information pertaining to Kansas history in order to assist the public in understanding, appreciating, and caring for the heritage of Kansas. Kansas Memory provides a very tangible means of fulfilling the vision of the KSHS, which is to enrich people’s lives by connecting them to the past. The value of the site is in its rich content–letters, diaries, photographs, government records from the State Archives, maps, museum artifacts, and historic structures in Kansas. We will be adding additional content continually.
Portuguese-American Digital Newspaper Collections – Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese American Archives – Claire T. Carney Library – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
NYC Department of Records – Municipal Archives Gallery
The Online Gallery provides free and open research access to over 800,000 items digitized from the Municipal Archives’ collections, including photographs, maps, motion-pictures and audio recordings.
University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections
This site features materials such as photographs, maps, newspapers, posters, reports and other media from the University of Washington Libraries, University of Washington Faculty and Departments, and organizations that have participated in partner projects with the UW Libraries. The collections emphasize rare and unique materials.

Elections resources on the web

With the elections now just a few days away, I thought I’d share a few links to useful and/or interesting websites relating to both historic and recent elections in the United States. This is a fairly random selection of sites that I have come across; feel free to share any sites I’ve missed in the comments!

As evidenced by our own US Elections Campaigns Archive (of which you can see some images on Flickr), US elections produce a wealth of ephemera. Unfortunately The Smithsonian has not digitised their collection, but Cornell University have a substantial archive of political Americana online, including a lot of campaign materials covering 1840-1952. More locally, the University of Maryland has digitised a collection of campaign materials donated by Professor Larry Gibson, who worked on campaigns at both state and national level from 1968 to 2008.  

Of course, campaigns are also fought on less physical media than the literature, posters, buttons and other random objects contained in such collections. The Museum of the Modern Image has a fantastic archive of more than 300 presidential campaign TV commercials from 1952 right up to the present elections, all of which can be viewed online and browsed by year, issue, and type of commercial, showing for example commercials where a candidates own words are being used against him, or which are intended to play on fears (including arguably the most famous campaign commercial of all, the 1964 “Daisy” commerical for Lyndon B Johnson). Campaigns keep up with the evolving media, and the Library of Congress has been archiving election-related websites from 2000.

Moving away from the campaign-controlled media, the Commission on Presidential Debates has a debate history section on their website, with basic information on early debates (1858, 1948, 1956), and transcripts and videos for all debates from 1960 to present. 

I’ve written on this blog before about Chronicling America, the Library of Congress’s website for digitised historic American newspapers. As well as the digitised newspapers themselves, they provide topic pages with links directly through to selected articles, and the list of topics includes several presidential elections/campaigns: Cleveland (1892), McKinley (1896), McKinley-Roosevelt (1900), Roosevelt (1904), Taft (1908), and Wilson (1912). Chronicling America unfortunately stops in 1922, due to US copyright law, but if you are an Oxford reader interested in looking at historic elections through newspapers then we do subscribe to the electronic archives of both the New York Times and Washington Post, available through SOLO/OxLIP+. Another nice media-related resource for 19th/early 20th century elections is the Harper’s Weekly Presidential Elections page, which provides digitised images of cartoons from Harper’s Weekly and other similar journals from 1860-1912.

If you’re more interested in the data side of things, there are a couple of useful sites which provide all sorts of voting statistics and other electoral data. Working backwards chronologically, the Roper Center’s public opinion archives has a US elections collection which includes all sorts of polling data for presidential elections from 1976- (and popular vote information from 1940-2008), and for congressional elections from 1994-. The Roper Center also provide the iPoll database, available to Oxford readers via SOLO/OxLIP+, which is a hugely comprehensive database of all sorts of opinion poll data from the 1930s to the present day. You can browse iPoll by topic, and polling data for the 2012 elections is available from as recently as a few days ago. The Voting America site from the University of Richmond covers 1840-2008, and offers a whole variety of interactive maps to explore electoral data. And finally, for the really early years, A New Nation Votes from Tufts University provides a searchable collection of election returns from 1787-1825

The Philip & Rosamund Davies US Elections Campaigns Archive

The Vere Harmsworth Library is home to the Philip & Rosamund Davies US Elections Campaigns Archive, an extensive collection of campaign ephemera from American elections at all levels. The archive has been donated to the library by Professor Philip Davies, Director of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, and is the result of many years of active collecting. The majority of the material dates from the later 20th century, but there are examples of older items dating back as far as 1840. The archive continues to grow as Professor Davies collects and donates material from each new round of elections in the United States.

The archive has now been fully catalogued and can be made available to researchers in Oxford. While items such as those contained in the archive were intended to be ephemeral at the point of production, they can tell researchers a great deal about the campaigns and candidates they were produced to support (or indeed protest). They are physical evidence of the issues on which campaigns were fought, and the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the candidates who fought them. Not just the literature, but the slogans and design of buttons, posters and bumper stickers, as well as the very items branded for campaigns indicate the way candidates chose to present themselves and their opponents. As well as providing insight into the campaigns themselves, the literature and artefacts contained within the collection also demonstrate wider developments in society, politics and technology.

A century of presidential campaign buttons, 1908-2008

What does the archive contain? 

  • Thousands of buttons for hundreds of candidates, the oldest dating from 1840
  • Bumper stickers and posters
  • Ballots for elections from a wide range of locations and dates, the oldest dating from the Civil War
  • Campaign leaflets and other literature for elections at all levels, from local to presidential
  • Protest and negative material
  • Election, convention and inauguration memorabilia, such as commemorative plates, medals, mugs and other souvenir items
  • And all sorts of campaign branded items such as hats, t-shirts, jewellery, dolls, playing cards, rain bonnets… even a bar of soap!

To learn more about the archive and what it can tell students and researchers of American history and politics, watch the below video of Professor Davies discussing the material culture of US elections and political marketing, accompanied by selected items from the collection.

    There have also been a couple of short videos on the topic posted recently on the BBC website in the run up to this year’s elections: Badge man predicts Ohio winner, talking to a manufacturer of campaign buttons, and Preserving US presidential campaigns on the web, which visits the Smithsonian’s extensive collections as well as looking at the archive of campaign TV advertising from the Museum of the Moving Image.

    Full details of the materials can be found in the archive catalogue, and images of some of the items (either individually or as part of previous exhibitions) can be seen on our Flickr page. If you are interested in consulting items from the archive, please contact

    "Access to Presidential Paper and Records in the Presidential Libraries" Nancy Smith, Director of the Presidential Materials Division at the National Archives of the United States

    This post was written by DPhil candidate Patrick Sandman, and first appeared on the RAI Events blog. It is reposted here with permission for the interest of VHL readers.

    In a well-attended and interesting workshop, Nancy Smith, the Director of the Presidential Materials Division at the U.S. National Archives, discussed the history and accessibility of presidential papers to a group of undergraduates, graduates, and professional historians.

    Beginning the discussion with FDR in 1939, Director Smith detailed the trajectory of presidential libraries and materials. Fifteen years after Roosevelt donated selected material to a library in Hyde Park, NY, Congress passed the Presidential Library Act in 1955. For the next two decades, presidents donated and distributed papers at their own discretion.  For Director Smith and millions of Americans, however, the tradition of presidential papers would change in July 1973.

    During his testimony to Sam Ervin’s Senate Committee, White House Assistant Alexander Butterfield revealed the existence of President Nixon’s infamous White House taping system.  As a result of the calamity, contention, and cynicism surrounding Watergate, Congress created the Presidential Records Act in 1978 to broaden public accessibility to the office of the President. 

    During the last forty years, Director Smith has worked closely with Presidents and their records.  She highlighted the difficulty of cataloging executive information, particularly the often-contentious process of delineating the personal and private from the public and presidential. As such, she often deals with presidential staff and lawyers in order to properly archive non-classified information.

    Interestingly, the advent of electronic records has added a new, complex dimension to presidential material. For George W. Bush’s administration alone, Ms. Smith and her staff will screen more than twenty million emails.  Despite the tremendous challenge of vast email compilation, the PMD, under the guidance of Director Smith, makes presidential material available faster than any other place in the world.

    Before ending the discussion, Director Smith provided excellent advice to an audience of historians. She disseminated packets of information on various Presidential libraries around the United States and encouraged researchers to explore new collections and archives. 

    Editor’s note: To add to Patrick’s interesting summary, there’s a lot of information about the Presidential Libraries on the National Archives website at, as well as links to the websites of the libraries themselves.  Most of the Presidential Libraries are engaged in digitisation projects to a greater or lesser extent, and their websites can be a good source of documents even without travelling to visit. The National Archives has also set up the Presidential Timeline website to provide a single point of access to digitised sources from the Presidential Libraries.

    You can also follow the Presidential Libraries on Twitter and Tumblr – the Tumblr in particular is fascinating.

    And for even more, if you’ll excuse the blatant plug, I visited two of the libraries myself last year as part of my Travelling Librarian trip – you might be interested therefore in my write-ups of my visits to the FDR Library and the JFK Library.

    And finally, Nancy Smith also spoke later in the day about the role of the National Archives in presidential transitions. This talk has been written up on the RAI blog by both Skye Montgomery and Sebastian Page.