Rutgers University Libraries Clio's Net: Seeking American History on the Web

Secondary Sources

Finding Books: Library Catalogs

The online catalog for the Rutgers University Libraries. The Rutgers Libraries have a strong collection of U.S. history materials, with the largest portion of the collection located in the Alexander Library on the New Brunswick campus. IRIS also includes a significant portion of the Sinclair New Jersey Collection, the most comprehensive collection of New Jersey materials in the state. The Sinclair Collection (IRIS sublocation SNCLNJ) is part of the Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives, located within the Alexander Library on the New Brunswick campus. The Dana Library on the Rutgers Newark campus is actively collecting materials relating to the city of Newark; all materials in the NEWARK collection will also be found in IRIS.

Individuals may purchase guest borrowing privileges at Rutgers by submitting an application form and $100 annual fee by mail to Community Borrower Program, University Libraries Administration, 169 College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1163.

Newark Public Library Catalog
The Library's New Jersey Information Center has a wealth of materials on New Jersey, Essex County, and Newark. Anyone who lives, works, attends school, or owns property in the City of Newark is entitled to a free Newark Public Library card. The Library Catalog also includes the holdings of the Newark Museum and the New Jersey Historical Society.

The New York Public Library
One of the great research libraries of the world with some 45 million items in its collections. The catalog includes materials from the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, as well as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Finding Digitized Books

For a book to be legally digitized and available online, either the holder of the copyright has to give permission for the digitization, or the book needs to be in the public domain. In the U.S., books in the public domain are usually those that were copyrighted prior to 1923, although under certain limited conditions later works may also be in the public domain. Books that are freely available online will be those that are in the public domain.

Google Books
Google has partnered with a number of universities to scan the full-text of public domain books in the university library collections. They've developed technology that enables them to scan more than 3,000 books per day. In addtion to the full-text of the books in the public domain, for many titles Google allows you to view snippets or selected pages from books still under copyright.
Internet Archive
Search the "Texts" files for specific titles or books on particular subjects.

Finding Articles: Indexes and Databases

You'll Need to go to a Library to Use:

Humanities Full Text
Humanities Full Text is the basic index for finding articles in the humanities disciplines, including history. It indexes over 550 of the core, English language journals in history, literature, art and music, philosophy and religion. It indexes many journals back to 1984 and, beginning with 1995, includes many full-text articles.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access.
America: History and Life 1964- .
The most comprehensive index to American (U.S. and Canada) history. Indexes over 2000 journals worldwide, as well as book reviews and dissertations.
Off-Campus Access Rutgers-restricted Access
New Jersey History
The premier journal for articles relating to the history of New Jersey is New Jersey History, formerly (1845-1966) published as the Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society. The 1845 to 1995 volumes of this journal are indexed in Periodicals Index Online. Restricted Access

But You Can Sit at Home and Use

Index to, and in many cases access to the full text of, thousands of articles and entries from magazines, newspapers, and reference books, as well as images. Includes resources appropriate to middle school and high schools populations, as well as scholarly and research resources. Includes the Ebsco History Resource Center database.
Google Scholar
Use the Google search engine to search specifically for scholarly literature including books, peer-reviewed articles, and theses.
ViVa: A Bibliography of Women's History in Historical and Women's Studies Journals
Index to over seven thousand articles on women's and gender history published from 1975 to the present in historical and women's studies journals.
Thomas Jefferson: A Comprehensive, Annotated Bibliography of Writings About Him, 1826-1997
Search or browse a bibliography of writings about Jefferson from his death in 1826 up to 1997.

Primary Sources

Digital Source Collections

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library
The Library of Congress site offers access to more than 9 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections of primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The collections include manuscripts, photographs, posters, maps, books, pamphlets, and sheet music, as well as sound recordings and motion pictures and can either be browsed or searched.
The Making of America
Digital project developed by the University of Michigan and Cornell University. The Michigan site has a searchable library of primary sources--approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles published in the 19th century--in American social history from the antebellum through reconstruction. While Cornell's site only provides access to the text of some 270 books, they have digitilized major runs of twenty-two 19th century journals and allows you to search or browse over 100,000 journal articles.
Documenting the American South
Collection of sources (texts, images, and audio files)on Southern history, literature, and culture taken primaily from the collections of the University of North Carolina. Includes First-Person Narratives of the American South; the Library of Southern Literature; North American Slave Narratives; the Oral Histories of the American South; and The Church in the Southern Black Community. Includes over 1250 digitized books and manuscripts.
The Gilded and the Gritty: America, 1870-1912
Digital Collection from the National Humanities Center.
New Jersey Digital Highway
Collaborative project of New Jersey educational institutions, museums, libraries, and archival collections to digitize a variety of matierals relating to New Jersey. The initial collection focuses on The Immigrant Experience in New Jersey.

New Jersey in the American Revolution, 1763-1783
A Digital Collection from the New Jersey State Library.

The American Republic

Core Documents of U.S. Democracy
Links to cornerstone (eg., The Constitution, the Federalist Papers) documents as well as to key congressional, presidential, judicial, and regulatory documents.

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1873
Search or browse a linked set of published congressional records of the United States from the Continental Congress through the 43rd Congress, 1774-1875 including the Journals of the Continental Congress (1774-89); the Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, or Farrand's Records, and the Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (1787-88), or Elliot's Debates; the Journals of the House of Representatives (1789-1875) and the Senate (1789-1875), the debates of Congress as published in the Annals of Congress (1789-1824), the Congressional Globe (1833-73), and Congressional Record (1873-75); the Statutes at Large (1789-1875); the American State Papers (1789-1838); and congressional bills and resolutions for selected sessions beginning with the 6th Congress (1799) in the House of Representatives and the 16th Congress (1819) in the Senate. From the Library of Congress American Memory project.

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library
The Library of Congress site offers access to more than 9 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections of primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. Among the collections:

The Avalon Project: Eighteenth Century Documents
Digital collection of documents in American political and diplomatic history compiled by the Yale Law School. Documents are also arranged by major collections, including

The Foundersí Constitution
Sources for the Constitution, including the first Ten Amendments, arranged article by article.

Religion and the Founding of the American Republic
Explores the role of religion in shaping early American life and politics and forming the American Republic as illustrated by early American books, manuscripts, letters, art and music. Virtual exhibit from the Library of Congress.

Early Virginia Religious Petitions
Images of 423 petitions submitted to the Virginia legislature between 1774 and 1802.

The Dolly Madison Project
From the Virginia Center for Digital History.

Constitution of New Jersey; 1776
From the Yale Avalon Project

Civil War and Reconstruction

The Crisis of the Union: An Electronic Archive of Documents about the Causes, Conduct, and Consequences of the US Civil War
Search or browse a large collection of digitalized pamphlets, books, broadsides, cartoons, maps and other print materials from between about 1830 and 1880. From the University of Pennsylvania Department of History.

The Emancipation Proclamation (1863)
Transcript plus copies of the original document.

The Gettysburg Address (1863)
Transcript plus copies of the original document.

The Issue of Slavery

Statutes of the United States Concerning Slavery
From the Avalon Project at the Yale Law School.

The Compromise of 1850
Henry Clay's Resolution and the five statutes passed by Congress. Transcript plus copies of the original document.

The Life, Trial and Execution of Captain John Brown, Known of "Old Brown of Ossawatomie," With a Full Account of the Attempted Insurrection at Harper's Ferry (1859)
From the Avalon Project at the Yale Law School.

The Dred Scott Case
Chronology and online exhibit of documents. From the Washington University Libraries in St. Louis.

Secession Era Editorials
Collections of editorials relating to the Nebraska Bill (1854), the attack on Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner (1856), the Dred Scott case (1857), and John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry (1859).

The Creed of Black Republicanism
From the "Freepont Weekly Bulletin," Cincinnati Enquirer August 19, 1858.

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Transcriptions of the debates.

The Confederate States of America

Confederate States of America: Formation of the Confederacy
Harper's Weekly covers and transcriptions of their news reports relating to the events leading to the formation of the Confederate States and the beginning of the Civil War.

Military History

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
Search or browse 127 volumes of official documents and reports on Civil War military operations. Includes the battle reports for both Union and Confederate armies, arranged chronologically by campaign and theater of operations.

The Home Front

Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War
A digital archive of primary sources that document the lives of people in Augusta County, Virginia and Pennyslvania before, during, and after the Civil War. A project of the Virginia Center for Digital History at the University of Virginia.

Close to Home: New Jersey and New York

The Civil War and New Jersey
From Electronic New Jersey.

Civil War Treasures From the New York Historical Society
Includes NYC recruiting posters, sterographic views, photographs, and drawings and writings by ordinary soldiers.


Civil War Maps, 1861-1865
Approximately 3000 Civil War maps, charts, atlases and sketchbooks depecting battles, troop positions and movements, engagements, fortifications, coastal charts, and theaters of war. Includes an introductory essay on the development of mapping during the Civil War. From the Library of Congress American Memory project.


Selected Civil War Photographs
Over 1000 photographs, most of which were made under the supervision of famed photographer Matthew P. Brady. Include scenes of military personnel, preparations for battle, and battle after-effects. From the Library of Congress American Memory project.

After the War

A Visual Time Line of Reconstruction, 1863-1877
Timeline with links to online exhibits and documents.

"Three Months Among the Reconstructionists"
Transcribed from the February 1866 Atlantic Monthly.

Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

Finding Precedent: The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
Over 200 editorials, news articles, illustration and cartoons published in Harper's Weekly between 1865 and 1869.

The Impeachment Trial of Andrew Johnson
Overview, timeline, transcripts, opinions, issues, and images. From Professor Douglass Linder's (University of Missour-Kansas City Law School) Famous Trials.

The Twentieth Century

Bonus March, 1932
Newspaper clippings, correspondance, photographs, and other materials relating to the military dispersal of World War I veterans and their families who had set up an encampment in Washington in an attempt to pressure the government to redeem their bonus certificates.

New Deal Network
Virtual library of over 20,000 photographs, political cartoons, and texts (articles, speeches, letters, and othe documents). Includes a Document Library organized by topic, a New Deal Photo Gallery, selections of the press conferences of the various New Deal Work Relief agencies, and a Labor in the 1930s Bibliography.

The Vietnam Era

Report of the Department of the Army Review of the Preliminary Investigations of the My Lai Incident
14 March 1970. Full-text of the official Army inquiry. From the Virtual Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University. Volume 1 of the Army report, which consists of the analyses, findings, conclusions, and recommendations, is also reproduced in The My Lai Massacre and Its Cover-Up: Beyond the Reach of Law? : The Peers Commission Report. Joseph Goldstein, (New York, Free Press, 1976) which includes supplementary documents relating to "the power of civil and military authorities to hold accountable those responsible for My Lai and its cover-up."

Famous American Trials: The My Lai Courts-Martial 1970
Introduction, chronology, maps, images, and excerpts from the court martials. From the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

Kent State: May 4th Oral History Project
Transcriptions of interviews/recollections of those present at Kent State on May 4th, as well as others impacted by the events of that day. From the Kent State University Library Special Collections.

Martin Luther King Jr.: "Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam"
Speech delivered at New York City's Riverside Church on April 4th 1967.

Walter Cronkite: Changing Attitudes Toward War in Vietnam
In an August 7, 2002 NPR broadcast, Cronkite recalls the gradual change in journalistic approach, and the public attitude, toward the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee: Position Paper On Vietnam

Decade of Protest: Political Posters from the United States, Cuba, and Vietnam 1965-1975.
Exhibit held at Track 16 Gallery, January 19-March 9, 1996.

PBS American Experience: Vietnam Online

The Newark Riots

1967: The Newark "Riots"
Collection of primary and secondary materials. Part of the Newark Experience site.

American Immigration History

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
Online collection of approximately 1,800 books and pamphlets as well as 9,000 photographs, 200 maps and 13,000 pages from Harvard manuscript and archival collections. Emphasis on 19th century materials. An amazing resource!
How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York
Jacob Riis. New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1890.
Emigrants [i.e. Immigrants] Landing at Ellis Island
Thomas A. Edison, Inc. 1903.
Film clip. "Shows a large open barge loaded with people of every nationality, who have just arrived from Europe, disembarking at Ellis Island, N.Y." Photographed July 9, 1903.
On the Lower East Side: Observations of Life in Lower Manhattan at the Turn of the Century
A collection of turn of the century articles and other documentary sources accompanied by introductory materials.
Claghorn, Kate Holladay. " The Foreign Immigrant in New York City," Reports of the Industrial Commission 15, 1901, 465-492.
Eugenic Laws Restricting Immigration
Virtual exhibit with accompanying essay by Paul Lombardo. From the Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement
"Two Immigrants Out of Five Feebleminded," The Survey 38, September 14, 1917, 528-529.
Report published in the leading social work journal of the day on a 1913 study by psychologists at the Training School in Vineland, N.J. who spent two and a half months at Ellis Island administering intelligence tests to immigrants ("35 Jews, 22 Hungarians, 50 Italians and 45 Russians"). The study concluded that two out of every five immigrants studied was feeblemined.
Biological Aspects of Immigration
Testimony of Harry L. Laughlin before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, April 16-17, 1920.
Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 1850 to 1990
22 Detailed tables.
The Irish in Newark and New Jersey: Exhibition at the Newark Public Library
Exhibition catalog. Includes an essay by Dermot Quinn on the Irish in Newark and New Jersey prepared for the exhibit held at the Newark Public Library March 14-May 19, 2007, and the exhibit bibliography.
Coming From India: Part 1
Coming From India: Part 2
Radio documentary on the East Indian community in New Jersey. Co-production of NJN Radio and the New Jersey Historical Commission. 1998


Cornell University's Kheel Center for Labor Management Documentation and Archives
In addition to their famous online collection of documents relating at the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, this site also has annotated guides to primary resources on Agricultural labor, Women and Work, Radicals and Reactionaries, African-American Labor, etc.
United States Labor and Industrial History Audio Archive
Listen to conference presentations, hearings, and speeches from William Jennings Bryan (1896) to Betty Friedan. From the Department of History at SUNY-Albany.

Illinois Labor History Society
Includes interactive maps of Illinois and Chicago labor history sites/events with links to articles and other resources relating to those events.

Alexander Hamilton. Report on Manufactures. December 5, 1791.
Excerpt from Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton's report to the House of Representatives on how he thinks industries should operate in the new nation. Section 3 ("As to the additional employment of classes of the community not originally engaged in the particular business") encourages the employment in manufacturing of women and children "who are rendered more useful...than they would otherwise be."

The Triangle Factory Fire
Cornell University Kheel Center's virtual exhibit of photographs, primary documents, and oral histories relating to the 1911 fire in a New York City sweatshop.

McGill, Nettie. Child Labor in New Jersey: Part 3: The Working Children of Newark and Paterson. Washington, DC, Children's Bureau, 1931
One of a series of studies of child welfare in New Jersey by the Children's Bureau in 1925. According to the 1920 census, 25 percent of Newark's 14 and 15 year-olds were in the work force. Looks at data relating to termination of school life, occupations, wages, unemployment and steadiness at work.

Child Labor Reform Exhibit
From the Wirtz Labor Library at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Famous Trials

Frofessor Douglas Linder's (University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School) Famous Trials site covers landmark legal battles from the Trial of Socrates (399 B.C.) to the Trial of Zacarias Moussaoui(2006). Includes an overview of each case, a timeline, trial transcripts, contemporaneous accounts, images, maps, etc. Includes:

Giving Credit: Citing Sources

Your students don't have a clue when they need to cite something?

Check out the Rutgers-Camden Plagiarism Guide. See how many can pass the quiz!

Don't know how to cite something?

The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison also has a nice introduction to Chicago/Turabian Documentation that will give you the basic information you need to create bibliographic citations.

The above site does not, however, cover citing online resources. The Library of Congress has a guide on How to Cite Electronic Sources that show Turabian-style examples; the Bedford/St. Martin's site also offers useful information on Using Chicago Style to Cite and Document Sources

You can also try Zotero, a freely-available citation managment system that will let you collect citations as you find them, cite within Word documents, and create bibliographies using a wide variaty of style sheets.

Natalie Borisovets (
John Cotton Dana Library
March 13, 2009