This feature serves as a preliminary guide to freely accessible online collections of primary sources. The sites identified here draw on the expertise of AHR staff, the Board of Editors, and readers. Readers are encouraged to use the form available at historians.org/digital-primary-sources to submit their own favorite primary-source archival collections. COMPARATIVE/WORLD/TRANSNATIONAL Endangered Archives (British Library, various repositories) http://eap.bl.uk/database/collections.a4d “Since it was established in 2004 the Programme has funded 246 projects in 78 countries worldwide, helping to preserve archives that are at risk of being destroyed, neglected or are physically deteriorating and making them freely accessible to the rest of the world through the Programme’s website.” To date, Endangered Archives has enabled the gathering of hundreds of thousands of sources, including “rock inscriptions, manuscripts, archival records, newspapers, photographs and sound archives.” Geography: Comparative/World/Transnational Period: Premodern ASIA National Archives of Japan Digital Archive (National Archives of Japan) https://www.digital.archives.go.jp/index_e.html “Provides access to the descriptions and digitized images of the historical records preserved by the National Archives of Japan,” including millions of images of administrative and corporate records, culturally significant letters, maps, charts, and drawings. Geography: East Asia, Japan Period: Ancient–contemporary CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES Medicine in the Americas (U.S. National Library of Medicine) https://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/americas/index.html “A digital library project that makes freely available original works demonstrating the evolution of American medicine from colonial frontier outposts of the 17th century to research hospitals of the 20th century.” Materials include both popular and clinical works on subjects ranging from public health to alternative therapies, ethnic and racial diversity, and women’s health. Geography: United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada Period: 1610–1920 Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project (University of Virginia) http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/home.html “An electronic collection of primary source materials relating to the Salem witch trials of 1692 … These resources include court records, contemporary books, and record books, as well as images of the original court documents, indexed according to various archival collections. The overview also refers to some of the notable people who played important roles in the trials and in the debate about the legitimacy of the trials. Users of the Archive may search the court records and contemporary books and letters for names of people involved, aided by a list of notable people and by a complete alphabetical list of everyone mentioned in the court documents. The Archive’s historical maps of Salem Village, Salem, and Andover show the locations of the houses of many of the people involved in the trials. The Regional Accusations Map displays the chronology of the accusations from February through November 1692 … The Archive’s collection of literary works includes works by Hawthorne, Longfellow, Whittier, and Freeman.” Geography: Massachusetts, United States Period: 1692–1893 “A Shaky Truce”: Starkville Civil Rights Struggles, 1960–1980 (Mississippi State University) http://starkvillecivilrights.msstate.edu/wordpress/ “This digital oral and public history project is an ongoing cooperative effort between faculty and students at Mississippi State University History Department and Libraries. The site narrates the unique history of Starkville, Mississippi’s civil rights struggles with particular emphasis on the local fight for school desegregation … Through the use of digitized archival documents and oral history interviews, ‘A Shaky Truce’ highlights Starkville’s story and the voices of its participants in order to position this town and its people as critical reflections of this national movement.” Geography: Mississippi, United States Period: 1960–1980 EUROPE: EARLY MODERN AND MODERN Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707 (University of St. Andrews) http://www.rps.ac.uk/ “A fully searchable database containing the proceedings of the Scottish parliament from the first surviving act of 1235 to the union of 1707.” According to the site, “the inclusion of new parliaments and conventions of estates, committee records, parliamentary minutes and additional material makes the online edition the most comprehensive record of Scottish parliamentary proceedings ever available.” The transcriptions “are fully cited and an extensive editorial apparatus included,” and “a parallel translation of the original Latin, French and Scots text into English and the standardisation of place and personal names, where identifiable, enables keyword searches on an infinite number of subjects, with direct links from the modern translation to the original manuscript record.” Geography: Scotland Period: 1235–1707 Bibliothèque bleue (Médiathèque du Grand Troyes, University of Chicago, and the Collaborative Initiative for French and North American Libraries) https://artfl-project.uchicago.edu/bibliotheque-bleue “The Bibliothèque bleue de Troyes represents a long and storied tradition in popular French print culture. Spanning more than 250 years and involving the publication of mass-produced, inexpensive books that were sold to peasants for pennies by colporteurs (peddlers), the Bibliothèque bleue was comprised of texts ranging from the practical (recipes, almanacs, and how-to books) to the pious (hagiographies, prayer books, and other religious instruction) and to the entertaining (fiction, romans de chevalerie, songbooks, burlesque), providing a unique insight into the popular culture of 17th to mid-19th century France. The most significant collection (some 2570 volumes) of Bibliothèque bleue material can be found at the Médiathèque du Grand Troyes, whose digitization efforts—digital page images of some 623 separate imprints—form the basis of the Bibliothèque bleue.” Geography: France Period: ca. 1600–1850 The Down Survey of Ireland (Trinity College Dublin) http://downsurvey.tcd.ie/index.html “Taken in the years 1656–1658, the Down Survey of Ireland is the first ever detailed land survey on a national scale anywhere in the world. The survey sought to measure all the land to be forfeited by the Catholic Irish in order to facilitate its redistribution to Merchant Adventurers and English soldiers. Copies of these maps have survived in dozens of libraries and archives throughout Ireland and Britain, as well as in the National Library of France. This Project has brought together for the first time in over 300 years all the surviving maps, digitised them and made them available as a public online resource … The Down Survey Maps section comprises digital images of all the surviving Down Survey maps at parish, barony and county level. The written descriptions (terrier) of each barony and parish that accompanied the original maps have also been included. The second section, Historical GIS, brings together the maps and related contemporaneous sources—Books of Survey and Distribution, the 1641 Depositions, the 1659 Census—in a Geographical Information System (GIS). All these sources have been georeferenced with 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps, Google Maps and satellite imagery.” It can be searched for landowner by name, landownership by religion, and murders in the 1641 rebellion. Geography: Ireland Period: 1641–1670 Darwin Manuscripts (Cambridge Digital Library) https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/darwin_mss “This is a conceptually coherent set of over 30,000 digitised and edited manuscript pages, spanning 1835–1882. None of these documents have hitherto been digitised to the present high standard of full-colour and high-resolution. While several documents are classics of the Darwin manuscripts corpus, many have never been transcribed and edited before and many that have been published previously are presented here in new and radically improved editions.” Geography: World, United Kingdom Period: 1835–1882 SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Historical Papers (University of the Witwatersrand) http://www.historicalpapers.wits.ac.za/index.php?digitalSelection/U/ “Historical Papers is one of the largest and most comprehensive independent archives in Southern Africa. We house over 3400 collections of historical, political and cultural importance, encompassing the mid-17th Century to the Present … Included are the records of many human rights NGOs, trade unions, labour federations, political parties, women’s organisations, churches and church bodies, and the papers of human rights activists. We are also home to a huge volume of political trials, photographs, press clippings, oral interviews, and material collected by several research institutions and individual researchers.” Geography: Sub-Saharan Africa Period: 1633–2015 © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press.
The American Historical Review – Oxford University Press
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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