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Primary and Archival Sources

THE National Archives

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Main website

Research by Topic

ARC Galleries (Archival Research Catalog, or ARC)

America's Historical Documents (a sampling of NARA's records, from the most celebrated milestones to little-known surprises)

Digital Vaults

Library of Congress

Digital Library

  • American Memory
  • written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience

"History Topics"

Primary Sources by State

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (digitized, searchable)

Other Archives with Online Content

Many states have statewide digital "libraries" of archival materials. Just a few examples:

Find more digital libraries with archival materials:

National History Day and Archives Toolkit, under Information for Students and Teachers:

  • Introduction and Video - has nice video on visiting an archives for the first time (made over at UW-Eau Claire)
  • Using Primary Sources - has examples of different types of archival materials and other primary sources, including some examples from UWRF's collections; also has a video from the Minnesota Historical Society on primary vs. secondary sources
    • for example, this photograph from the Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, showing Americans of Japanese ancestry appearing for registration in 1942