Digital Libraries and Collections

Sources for general digital libraries and collections are listed in Library Research Guide for History.

Online Primary Source Collections for the History of Science lists digital collections at Harvard and beyond by topic

Digital Libraries/Collections by Subject


Expeditions and Discoveries (1626-1953) documents nine Harvard–associated expeditions of scientific discovery in anthropology and archaeology, astronomy, botany, and oceanography. Contains published work, manuscripts and records, visual sources and maps from 14 Harvard repositories.

Nineteenth Century Collection Online is an enormous collection of digitized microfilm collections and newly digitized material. It consists of 12 segments. Links below lead to segment overviews with a list of included collections at the bottom of the page. Includes:

HOLLIS records for items in this collection of which Harvard holds print or microfilm versions are NOT linked to the online version.

This massive collection includes some 3.5 million journals, books, reports and personal documents covering “every aspect of 19th Century science” and representing theoretical as well as practical and popular science. It’s based in large part on the holdings of the Huntington Library (including the Burndy Library), the Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (now at Drexel University), and other libraries.

The two Science, Technology and Medicine, 1780-1925 segments are composed of 14 parts, largely discipline focused, containing full text searchable digitized monographs and periodicals.  American Medical Periodicals (1.2 million pages) contains over 1200 periodicals from the National Library of Medicine.  There is archival material in:

Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia: Minutes and Correspondence (in Part 1) This is the only published version of these documents, which include minutes, correspondence, archival collection summaries, membership lists, and donation ledgers from the Academy's founding in 1812 until 1925.

The Rise of Public Health in England And Wales (1805-1900) (in Part II) includes governmental public health records of various public health boards. Individual records also. All information from the National Archives.


Historical Math Monographs (Cornell).

DML: Digital Mathematics Library (Also: WDML: World Digital Mathematics Library): Retrodigitized Mathematics Journals and Monographs

Newton Papers (Cambridge Digital Library)

Portail Documentaire Mathématique


NASA Astrophysics Data System

Newton Papers (Cambridge Digital Library)


NASA Astrophysics Data System

Newton Papers (Cambridge Digital Library)


Selected Classic Papers from the History of Chemistry

Newton Papers (Cambridge Digital Library)


South Seas: Voyaging and Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Pacific (1760-1800)


Biodiversity Heritage Library

Codebreakers: makers of modern genetics

Early Classics in Biogeography, Distribution, and Diversity Studies: To 1950 is continued by Early Classics in Biogeography, Distribution, and Diversity Studies: 1951 to 1975

DARBASE offers a catalogue of all Darwin manuscripts plus facsimiles and transcriptions of many.

Darwin Online


Botanicus Digital Library offers full text historic botanical literature from the Missouri Botanical Garden Library.


AnimalBase: Early Zoological Literature Online offers digitized texts to about 1800 searchable by taxon or work.

Human and Social Sciences

Defining Gender Online: Five Centuries of Advice Literature for Men and Women (1450-1910).

Twentieth Century Advice Literature: North American Guides on Race, Sex, Gender, and the Family.

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


Medical Heritage Library. Information about the Medical Heritage Library

UK Medical Heritage Library

Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics provides print, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard University libraries and archives.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Digital Collections

Wellcome Library Digital Collections


Core Historical Literature of Agriculture, Cornell University is a collection of full-text searchable agricultural texts (1850-1950). Includes agricultural economics and engineering, animal science, crop protection, food science, forestry, human nutrition, rural sociology, and soil science. Texts are listed and evaluated in The Literature of the Agricultural Sciences, Wallace C. Olsen, series editor. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press:

  • The literature of forestry and agroforestry, 1996.
  • The literature of crop science, 1995.
  • The contemporary and historical literature of food science and human nutrition, 1995.
  • The Literature of soil science, 1994.
  • The Literature of agricultural engineering, 1992.
  • Agricultural economics and rural sociology: the contemporary core literature, 1991.

National Agricultural Library Digital Collections.. Opening Series on the search screen allows restriction to particular USDA publication series.