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U.S. History: Primary Source Collections Online

A guide focused on primary source collections from government agencies, universities, museums, libraries, and historical organizations. First curated by Erin Owens and Kristina Claunch of Sam Houston State University.


This is a topical list of high-quality U.S. History websites originally curated by Erin Owens and updated by Kristina Claunch of Sam Houston State University. It is now maintained by Abby Nafziger, Goshen College, please reach out if you find any broken links.

To get started, click a topic in the menu on the left, then begin browsing the websites that are listed.


  • The library is not responsible for the content of the selected sites.
  • No endorsement is given to additional sites which are linked to by selected sites. 
  • It is a student's responsibility to accurately cite online materials used in research.

Primary versus Secondary Sources

Generally primary sources are works that are generated at the time or by the person directly being studied. Examples include (but aren't limited too):

  • oral histories

  • legal testimony

  • truth and reconciliation hearings

  • art collections

  • clubs or associations dedicated to remembering

  • public inscriptions

  • public memorials to past events/people

  • victim testimonies

  • historical autobiographies or memoirs

  • photography

  • museum exhibits

  • letters

  • scientific study of historical trauma or memory

  • family histories

  • local histories

Secondary sources are generally produced by other scholars who have studied the event or person you are interested. Generally these include books and articles. The papers that you write for this class will be secondary sources that will help future scholars interested in the same topic you will write about.