by Paula Carey
Last Updated Sep 19, 2023
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Archives UnboundThis link opens in a new windowPresents topically-focused digital collections of historical documents. Topics include U.S. foreign policy, U.S. civil rights, global affairs and colonial studies, and modern history. Select more... for specific collections.
FBI Confidential Files: Radical Politics in the US 1945-1972 (ProQuest History Vault)This link opens in a new windowThis collection covers investigations and tracking of the activities of Communist groups, Communist-front groups, and other left-wing organizations in the U.S. by the FBI and the Subversive Activities Control Board from 1945-1972. It includes files from the office of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, many of which were originally intended to be destroyed but were preserved through both intended and inadvertent exceptions to Hoover’s orders.
Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century (ProQuest History Vault)This link opens in a new windowContains records of civil rights organizations and personal papers on African American life in the 20th century. Also contains collections from federal government agencies and records on the major milestones and events in the civil rights movement.
LGBTQ+ RightsThis link opens in a new windowLGBTQ+ Rights charts the gay rights movement in America, showing the civil rights codified into law in the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the inequalities that still exist today. Topics covered include the Defense of Marriage Act, the AIDS crisis, military service by gay and transgender service members, "bathroom bills," and more.
Digital Public Library of AmericaDPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more—are free and immediately available in digital format. The cultural institutions participating in DPLA represent the richness and diversity of America itself, from the smallest local history museum to our nation’s largest cultural institutions.
Center for the Study of Political GraphicsFor nearly three decades the Center for the Study of Political Graphics has been creating a special community of international artists, activists, donors, curators, students, and teachers who share a passion for the power of political art to educate and inspire people to action.
Women Working, 1800 - 1930.Women Working, 1800–1930 is a digital exploration of women's impact on the economic life of the United States between 1800 and the Great Depression. Working conditions, workplace regulations, home life, costs of living, commerce, recreation, health and hygiene, and social issues are among the issues documented in this online research collection from Harvard University.
Activism in the US, Digital Public Library of AmericaThe United States has a long history of activists seeking social, political, economic, and other changes to America—along with a history of other activists trying to prevent such changes. American activism covered a wide range of causes and utilized many different forms of activism.
Patrick Frazier Political and Social Movements CollectionThis collection contains broadsides, flyers, handbills, photographs and posters and covers all of the major political and social movements of the 1960s and 1970s including civil rights, gay and lesbian rights and feminism as well the anti-nuclear and the Vietnam War protests. The protests featured in this collection are mostly from the Washington, DC area including student protests at American University and the University of Maryland at College Park.
Campaigning for the Presidency, 1960-1972, New York Historical SocietyCoinciding with the 2016 presidential election, the New-York Historical Society showcased more than 120 objects from The Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection, considered one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections of historical and political campaign memorabilia.
Political Campaigns, Digital CommonwealthThis site provides access to photographs, manuscripts, books, audio recordings, and other materials of historical interest that have been digitized and made available by members of Digital Commonwealth, a statewide consortium of libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies from across Massachusetts.
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 to 1938Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA).
American Archive of Public BroadcastingWe are a collaboration between WGBH and the Library of Congress with a long-term vision to preserve and make accessible significant historical content created by public media, and to coordinate a national effort to save at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity.
Rebel ArchiveRebel Archive is a non-profit project seeking to accomplish two goals: to be a platform to spread "leftist" historical documents and to be a search tool for investigators. The digital archive contains documents of very diverse currents of thought, as well as unaffiliated documents coming from no specific group.
The terms "leftist" and "left" are in that way broadened to keep the archive from becoming an apologist for any specific tendencies of the left, even though the project's -for the moment- sole contributor does have well defined political position. That is why, for example, the archive houses documents of Stalinist groups, Trotskyist groups, of the communist left, and anarchists, to cite a few.
Digital SNCC GatewayMade possible by the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the SNCC Digital Gateway: Learn from the Past, Organize for the Future, Make Democracy Work is a collaborative project of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC—pronounced “Snick”) Legacy Project, Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, and Duke University Libraries. There are links to several digital collections around the country,
Politics, Laws & Legislation
U.S. Supreme Court LibraryThis link opens in a new windowThe official U.S. Reports derived from bound volumes as well as preliminary prints, slip opinions, and books and periodicals related to the Court.
Nexis UniThis link opens in a new windowNexis Uni is a source for newspapers and magazines, trade journals, wire services and transcripts, as well as legal sources for federal and state cases and statutes, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 1790, and information on U.S. and international companies and executives.
Political Extremism and Radicalism in the 20th CenturyThis link opens in a new windowPolitical extremism and radicalism in the twentieth century is a compilation of archival collections covering a wide range of fringe political movements. It has been sourced from libraries and archives across the world. Covers a broad assortment of both far-right and left political groups. It offers a mixture of materials, including periodicals, campaign propaganda, government records, oral histories, and various ephemera, which allow researchers to explore unorthodox social and political movements. The collections cover the 1900s through 2010s.
American Politics and Society from Kennedy to Watergate (ProQuest History Vault)This link opens in a new windowConsists of records from the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon presidencies plus federal agencies. Topics including women's rights, urban renewal, rural development, tax reform, civil rights, space exploration, international trade, health and ecological effects of pollutions, the American Indian Movement, and Watergate are covered in a variety of document types.
Americans for Democratic Action Records, 1932-1999 (ProQuest History Vault)This link opens in a new windowRecords of the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), founded in 1947 as a national, independent, liberal organization, and of its predecessor, the Union for Democratic Action, founded in 1941 to combat fascism at home and abroad. The collection concerns ADA's administration, legislative lobbying and political activities, its chapters throughout the country and on various campuses, conventions, and relations with other organizations.
Immigration to the United States, 1789-1950This digital collection of historical materials from Harvard's libraries, archives, and museums documents voluntary immigration to the United States from the signing of the Constitution to the start of the Great Depression.
Columbia Center for Oral HistoryThe Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH) was founded by historian and journalist Allan Nevins in 1948 and is credited with launching the establishment of oral history archives internationally. At over 10,000 interviews, the Oral History Archives is one of the largest oral history collections in the United States.
Southern Oral History Program, University of North Carolina, Chapel HillSince 1973, the SOHP has conducted 6,000 interviews with men and women–from mill workers to civil rights leaders to future presidents of the United States. Made available to the public through UNC’s renowned Southern Historical Collection and through our online database, these interviews capture the vivid personalities, poignant personal stories, and behind-the-scenes decision-making that bring history to life.
Moakley Oral History Project, Suffolk UniversityThe Moakley Archive Oral History Project is a collection of interviews that highlight key events and issues related to Congressman John Joseph Moakley's life and career. By collecting audio- and videotaped interviews with family, friends, staff, colleagues, political opponents, political leaders and his constituents the Project preserves valuable information and observations that may not be a part of the Congressman John Joseph Moakley Papers.
Story CorpsStoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.
We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.
Oral History Center, UC BerkeleyThe Oral History Center preserves the recollections of persons who have contributed to the development of California, the West, and the world. These oral histories include series on politics, agriculture, water resources, winemaking, fine printing, land use, and University of California history.
ARTstorThis link opens in a new windowARTstor is a database of images from museums, artists, libraries, colleges and universities, scholars, private collections, and photo archives available for teaching, education, and scholarship, with all images cleared for educational use.
Associated Press Images CollectionThis link opens in a new windowAssociated Press Images Collection is a searchable collection of recent and historical photos from the Associated Press, plus AP graphics, articles, and brief sound clips.
Political Posters, Labadie Collection, University of MichiganThe Joseph A. Labadie Collection contains posters which have been acquired over the past 100 years. This database consists of images of those posters covering social protest movements such as Anarchism, Civil Liberties, Colonialism, Communism, Ecology, Labor, Pacifism, Sexual Freedom, Socialism, Women, and Youth/Student Protest. Some are from the first half of the 20th century, but the majority are from the 1960s and later. Many are undated.
Pinback Buttons, Labadie Collection, University of MichiganThe Pinback Buttons (formerly Political Buttons) image database from the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan consists of over 1000 pinback buttons covering the topics of Anarchism, Atheism, Civil Liberties, Colonialism, Communism, Cooperatives, Ecology, Labor, Narcotics, Pacifism, Political Parties, Radical Right, Sexual Freedom, Socialism, Spain, Women, and Youth/Student Protest. The earliest is dated 1907, but the majority are from the 1930s and later.