Digital Libraries/Collections

A large amount of online full text is available through Harvard Libraries or free on the Web. Only general digitized print and multi-format collections are listed here. Full text government documents, periodical, and archival material are listed in those sections. To find full text collections in Harvard Libraries: E-Resources: choose Subject + Resource Type: Electronic book/text collections.

United States

Early American Imprints, Series 1 (1639-1800) and Early American Imprints, Series 2 (1801-1819) are based on the microform collection of books, pamphlets and broadsides issued in America recorded in Charles Evans' American Bibliography and Roger P. Bristol's Supplement to Charles Evans' American Bibliography, and in American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819 by Ralph Shaw and Richard Shoemaker.
Since spelling in early books is variable and the long s (which looks like an f) is often used, it is important to try variant spellings and the wild card feature

Nineteenth Century in Print: The Making of America in Books and Periodicals: Periodicals

Fold3 (formerly Footnote) provides access to a wide variety of digitzed historical documents--many from the microfilmed collections of the United States National Archives and Records Administration.

AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History: Online documents arranged by year

Digital Libraries by Region/State

State Digital Resources: Memory Projects, Online Encyclopedias, Historical & Cultural Materials Collections

Digital Libraries by State or Region

250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives

State Archives Collections Online: Directory of Digital Collections, Virtual Exhibits, and State Memory Projects

American Memory (Library of Congress)

Discovering American Women's History Online

A Chronology of US Historical Documents

General Digital Libraries

Google Book Search has digitized many pre-1920s books. Links to digitized books, whether digitized at Harvard or at another library are available through HOLLIS records, either through a Networked Resource link (Harvard books) or the "Discover more in Google Books" icon (from other libraries) To find books Google has digitized from other libraries, but which are not held at Harvard, search directly in the Google Book Search.

HathiTrust Digital Library includes a searchable database of digitized books and periodicals contributed by numerous libraries. Includes items contributed by these libraries to Google Books and to Internet Archive but with some unique material. Each full text item is linked to a standard library catalog record, thus providing good metadata. The catalog can be searched separately. Globally full text searchable, like Google Books but unlike Internet Archive. Full text is fully viewable. Single page pdfs can be downloaded, but pdf downloads of a whole work are not currently available at Harvard.
There is now an Advanced Full Text search feature available in HathiTrust that allows a full text search of specified books or periodicals similar to that available in Google Books Advanced search. Described at: Advanced Search for HathiTrust full-text search.

Internet Archive also offers much digitized full text, but unlike Google Books and HathiTrust, it is not globally full text searchable.

The Online Books Page arranges electronic texts by Library of Congress call numbers and is searchable (but not full text searchable).  Includes books not in Google Books, HathiTrust, or Internet Archive. Has many other useful features.

Internet History Sourcebooks Project

Electronic Text Collections is a list of online text collections.

Electronic Texts, Primary Sources, Digital Libraries is a list.

English Language

Searching Early English Books Online (EEBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and Early American Imprints.
Since spelling in early books is variable and the long s (which looks like an f) is often used, it is important to try variant spellings and the wild card feature. ECCO offers fuzzy searching in Advanced Search

Both Early English Books Online (EEBO) and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) contain full text of most books published 1475-1800 in Great Britain and North America and books published in English anywhere.

Early English Books Online (EEBO) offers full text for works, including much ephemera and many periodicals, dated 1475-1700. Uses Library of Congress Subject Headings.

EEBO uses page images and OCR text. Although searchable by words and phrases, there are character recognition errors and full Boolean searching is not possible. Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnershiphas input over 25,000 works and offers corrected text and full Boolean and other search capabilities for this subset of EEBO.

Periodicals included in EEBO include corantos, newsbooks and periodicals included in the Thomason Tracts. Periodicals Search guide.

Search Guide: Early English Books Online (EEBO)

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) offers full text for English language works dated 1700-1800. Uses Library of Congress Subject Headings. Searchable by words and phrases based on the OCR text. Many 18th century American imprints are not included in ECCO because they are available in Early American Imprints (EAI) (next).

Both EEBO and ECCO are based on the English Short Title Catalog (ESTC) which has over 470,000 catalog (no full text) entries listing books, periodicals, newspapers and some ephemera printed before 1801. Works published in Britain, Ireland, British colonies, and the US are included, together with items printed elsewhere which contain significant text in English, Welsh, Irish or Gaelic. Books falsely claiming London publication are included. Items omitted from ECCO because they are available in EAI are represented in the ESTC. Reprints (reissues of original works) are not usually included in ECCO; they are fully represented in the ESTC.

NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship) (1770-1920) is a searchable (full text search available) database of selected digital scholarship and of websites related to the British and American long 19th century. Where fee-based material is found, you will have to go through Harvard Library E-Resources; no automatic link to Harvard resources is available.

Digitized Harvard Collections

Digital Collections at Harvard. Digitized versions of Harvard University Library collections.

Harvard College Library Digital Collections

Harvard Law School Library Digital Collections

Digital Libraries/Collections

Subject Collections


Black Thought and Culture (ca. 1840-1975) includes monographs, essays, articles, speeches and interviews written by leaders within the black community.

The Making of the Modern World offers full text searching of works on economics and business published from 1450-1850 from the Kress Collection of Business and Economics at the Baker Library, Harvard Business School and the Goldsmiths' Library of Economic Literature at the University of London Library. Includes material on commerce, finance, social conditions, politics, public health, trade and transport. A great deal of more recently acquired material in the Kress Collection is not included in The Making of the Modern World.

Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice, 1490-2007 is a "portal for slavery and abolition studies, bringing together documents and collections from libraries and archives across the Atlantic world.

Social Theory (1822-1990s) presents major works by several sociological authors.

Yale Law School Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy

United States

100 Milestone Documents, compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration, chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965.

American Civil War: Letters and Diaries includes published and archival memoirs, letters, and diaries, plus supplementary chronologies, biographies, bibliographies, etc.

American West: Sources from the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana (1722-1939) offers digitized manuscripts, ephemera, photographs, maps, and printed books.

Civil Rights Digital Library (includes lots of film)

Documenting the American South

Early Americas Digital Archive

The Gilded Age (1865-1902) offers manuscripts, photographs, cartoons, government documents, songs, ephemera, etc., together with critical essays on selected primary sources.

Colonial/American Revolution Era

American Archives: Documents of the American Revolution, 1774-1776 is an online version of Peter Force's American Archives, a compilation of documents, including pamphlets, correspondence, and proceedings. Peter Force (1790–1868) was a printer and document collector.

The Coming of the American Revolution, 1764-1776 (Massachusetts Historical Society) includes primary documents and a timeline.

Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Papers contains both the Federalist Papers and letters from Hamilton

American Archives. Documents of the American Revolution, 1774-1776 offers an online version of Peter Force’s American Archives, a collection thousands of pamphlets, booklets, and newspaper articles pertaining to the "Origin, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies in North America".

Federalist Papers

Liberty Library of Constitutional Classics offers full text of classic works on constitutional government.

Primary Documents in American History: The American Revolution and The New Nation, 1763-1815

Library of Congress Digital Collections: Colonization and Settlement, 1585-1763

Library of Congress Digital Collections: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Virginia Company Archives: The Ferrar Papers, 1590-1790, from Magdalene College, Cambridge includes digitized version of The Records of the Virginia Company of London (Washington, D.C., 1906-35), with contemporary maps and images.

Immigration Sources

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930. provides print, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard's library and museum collections.

Native American Sources

Early Encounters in North America: Peoples, Cultures, and the Environment (1534-1860) includes letters, diaries, memoirs, and accounts of early encounters between Native Americans, Europeans, Africans, and Americans.

North American Indian Thought and Culture (1600-present) offers a fully Indexed collection of autobiographical, biographical, and oral history accounts covering most North American regions.