Primary Source Digital Archives

  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – The National Archives is an independent agency of the United   States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents. Teachers and students can search the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) for digital copies, or they can browse through one of the ARC Galleries, or Research by TopicOnline exhibits are another good place to look for documents under a specific theme, or students can study 100 Milestone Documents at the Our Documents site.  Additional documents can be found at affiliated Presidential Libraries across the United   States.  The National Archives Experience also offers a bank of searchable documents with activities with its Digital Vaults and Docs Teach sites.
   American Memory – The Library of Congress’ American Memory project has several collections of primary sources that teachers and students can browse by collection, time period, time of source, or place.  Additional resources, like online exhibits and webcasts, can be found at
  Digital History – The Digital History website was designed for the Department of History and College of Education at the University of Houston.   There are a variety of resources available on the site, including a U.S. History textbook, lectures, lessons, videos, timelines, and primary and secondary sources.   A new inquiry-based module called Explorations is currently in development, as well as suggestions for Doing History.
  Smithsonian Collections – The Smithsonian Institution offers several online lessons and collections for teachers and students of all levels.  The Encyclopedia Smithsonian features online exhibits, including History and Culture and Understanding the American Experience.  Users can search the Smithsonian’s History Explorer to find a variety of educational resources. offers an archive of past historical articles, videos, and photos. Lastly, users can search the documents used to create the DBQ’s on the Smithsonian Source page.
  The Gilder Lehrman Collection – The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the New-York Historical Society, contains more than 60,000 documents detailing the political and social history of the United States. The collection’s holdings include manuscript letters, diaries, maps, photographs, printed books and pamphlets ranging from 1493 through modern times.  The Collection is particularly rich with materials in the Revolutionary, Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction periods.
Ohio Memory – The Ohio Memory is a collaborative project of the Ohio Historical Society and State Library of Ohio.  The updated Ohio Memory website provides searchable access to over 75,000 documents and allows users to create their own online exhibits.
InfOhio – InfOhio provides links to research tools, online photo and text collections, historical video collections, online encyclopedias, and other government, historical, and educational sites.  Students can also OPLIN resources from across the buckeye state.
    Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers – This site allows users to search and view newspaper pages from 1860-1922 from 22 states and the District of Columbia. The collection includes 3.14 million pages from 414 titles, including Ohio newspapers such as the Stark County Democrat, the Perrysburg Journal, the Democratic Banner of Mount Vernon, the News-Herald of Hillsboro and the Democrat-Sentinel of Logan.There are numerous search options. Users can search specific newspapers by date or by key word or phrase. Or they can search all newspapers, or papers from Ohio, or from another state, by date or by key word or phrase. They can also browse the available run of a particular newspaper. The project is a great resource to give students easy access to these interesting sources of the past.  (source:
eHistoryThe digital outreach portal of Ohio State’s Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching, eHistory features a collection of primary sources (including the well-regarded “Official Records of the Civil War”) and collections of historic maps and images. eHistory also features multimedia histories, such as on-line exhibitions, digital films and interactive sites. eHistory also publishes monthly book reviews.  (source:
OhioPixA collection of images from the Ohio Historical Society Collections. (source:
  EdSITEment at the National Endowment for the HumanitiesThis site is a collection of web resources for the humanities. The intent is to provide teachers with a listing of resources for the classroom. There are four categories to choose from (Art & Culture, Language & Literature, History & Social Studies, and Foreign Languages). Each category lists both lesson plans and web sites. (source:

Do you have an online primary source archive to share?  Let others know by posting a comment below.

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