The Databases link in HOLLIS' top menu leads to many tools to help you find both primary and secondary sources.



This section of the guide lists some of them and what they contain. The Harvard Library subscribes to many article databases and datasets from many different vendors, and may have different search interfaces. Many of the same search terms will work, but how you limit or refine the search, save and export results will be different.

There are several databases that will be useful for finding articles on your topic. Please keep in mind that not all of these databases will be good for all topics; try your search words and phrases in several different databases. Some are very field specific, and some are general. This course covers many disciplines and many historical and modern periods. Which databases you choose will depend on your topic. If you are in doubt, please ask--my contact information is on the bottom left of the Welcome page.

Articles & Documents

  • ACLS Humanities E-Book Project includes over 2200 largely history titles. Largely 1950-1999, some earlier, later. Full text searchable over whole collection. Browsable and searchable by LC Subject Heading. Links to book reviews in JSTOR, Project Muse and History Cooperative. Linked from HOLLIS records.
  • America: History and Life (1955- ) covers North America. Includes books, book chapters, journal articles, and book reviews.
  • American Civil Liberties Union papers, 1912-1990. this collection presents an array of primary source materials that affected the United States during the first half of this century. The documents are arranged first by year, next under general subject headings, and finally by case or topic. The types of materials found in the collection include: Internal documents such as memoranda and committee reports ; Correspondence from clients, members of the board of directors, government bureaucrats, attorneys, and other sources ; Materials relating to local organizations affiliated with the ACLU, plus records of hundreds of organizations with which the ACLU had supportive or adversarial relations, such as the Friends of New Germany and the DAR ; Legal briefs and newspaper clippings.
  • American Periodicals: This collection offers digital access to a range of special interest and general magazines, labor and trade publications, scientific and literary journals, and photographic periodicals, as well as other historically significant titles from the United States
  • Historical Abstracts covers the world outside of America (for the U.S. see America: History and Life, above). Includes books, book chapters, journal articles, but NO book reviews.
  • Immigration to the United States. Provides access to digitized historical, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard's library and museum collections. This collection documents voluntary immigration to the United States from the signing of the Constitution to the onset of the Great Depression. Illustrated in the collection are salient themes of immigration to the U.S., including acculturation, nativism, racism and prejudice, homesteading, and industrialization. Governing policies are also documented. Concentrating heavily on the 19th century, the collection includes approximately 1,800 books and pamphlets as well as 6,000 photographs, 200 maps, and 13,000 pages from manuscript and archival collections.
  • JSTOR offers full-text of complete runs (up to about 5 years ago) of over 400 journals. Allows simultaneous or individual searching, full-text searching optional, of many historical journals. List of included journals.
  • North American immigrant letters, diaries, and oral histories. Includes 342 authors and approximately 37,500 pages of information, illustrating what it meant to immigrate to America and Canada between 1800 and 1950. Composed of contemporaneous letters and diaries, oral histories, interviews, and other personal narratives, the series provides a rich source for scholars in a wide range of disciplines. In selected cases, users will be able to hear the actual audio voices of the immigrants.
  • Periodicals Index Online (PIO) indexes over 5500 English and Western European language journals from their inceptions to 1995. Limit to historical journals by adjusting Journal Subject(s) menu to History (General) or History (The Americas), although this will exclude historical articles in non-history journals.
  • ProQuest history vault. Immigration: records of the INS, 1880-1930 Presents the investigations made during the massive immigration wave at the turn of the 20th century. The files cover Asian immigration, especially Japanese and Chinese migration, to California, Hawaii, and other states; Mexican immigration to the U.S. from 1906-1930; and European immigration. There are also extensive files on the INS’s regulation of prostitution and white slavery and on suppression of radical aliens.
  • Social Sciences Premium Collection: covers international literature in social sciences, including politics, public policy, sociology, social work, anthropology, criminology, linguistics, library science, and education. Includes abstracts, journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, and more.
  • Web of Science Citation Indexes allow citation searching, that is, starting with an article of interest and finding more recent articles that have cited it. Covers a broad range of disciplines outside of science, including the social sciences and humanities.

Data and Statistics

Some of the resources here are PDFs and some are datasets.

Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States (Migration Policy Institute)

Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 1850 to 2000 (pdf document)

Migration Data Hub (Migration Policy Institute)

Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1978-2001 Online Version

Statistical Abstract of the United States of America. Summary statistics on the social, political and economic organization of the United States. Compiled from publications and records of various government and private agencies, it is designed to serve both as a convenient reference volume and as a guide to other statistical sources.

Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (Department of Homeland Security), 1996-present.


Chronicling America, enhancing access to historic American newspapers (1777-1963) (Library of Congress) offers searchable full text but may not have all newspapers from the whole country. Also includes the valuable U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present, in which searches can be limited by language and ethnicity.

Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection (1799-1971) in America’s Historical Newspapers. (In Quick Facts & Overview box on the right). This database is very slow; patience is required when searching it.

As with many areas of research in the Harvard Library, there is the Guide to Newspapers and Newspaper Indexes for general newspaper coverage.