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* History: Digitized Collections

A general guide to UK Libraries' resources for historical research.

Digital Collections

American History, 1493-1945

Documents American History from the earliest settlers to the mid-twentieth century. Sourced from the Gilder Lehrman Primary Source Collection.

American Memory 

Primary source documents and archives for U.S. history from the Library of Congress. Includes printed text, photographs, images, scanned manuscripts, etc.

American Periodicals 

Scanned and searchable full-text images from over 1,000 American magazines and journals, including 89 journals published between 1740 and 1800 and 118 periodicals published during the Civil War (1861-1865) and Reconstruction (1865-1877) eras. Coverage includes popular and scholarly as well as regional and niche publications.  Coverage 1741 - 1900

Black Thought and Culture: African Americans from Colonial Times to the Present 

Speeches, essays, articles, letters, leaflets, trials, interviews, monographs and periodicals written by leaders within the black community from 1700 to 2005. Over 100,000 pages illustrate the evolution of what it means to "be black." Authors include teachers, artists, politicians, religious leaders, athletes, war veterans, and entertainers. Find influences and read history in their words. Approximately 20% of the content is previously unpublished and fugitive, such as the recovered transcript of the Muhammad Ali trial; a full run of The Black Panther newspaper, with full-color images of every page as well as searchable text; and 2,500 pages of Panther oral histories owned by the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, published as text and also with selected audio files here for the first time.


Calisphere provides free access to unique and historically important artifacts for research, teaching, and curious exploration. Discover over one million photographs, documents, letters, artwork, diaries, oral histories, films, advertisements, musical recordings, and more.

Compilation of Presidential Documents 

The Compilation of Presidential Documents collection consists of the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents which are the official publications of materials released by the White House Press Secretary. The Compilation of Presidential Documents is published by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Congressional Serial Set (ProQuest Congressional Publications) 

Search by agency, Superintendent of Documents number and serial set.

Defining Gender, 1450-1010

"Advice Literature for men and women." Access to approximately 50,000 images of original manuscript and printed material, including a strong core of documents from the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Ephemeral material such as ballads, cartoons and pamphlets are featured alongside diaries, advice literature, medical journals, conduct books and periodicals. Structured into five sections: Conduct and Politeness (Section I), Domesticity and the Family (Section II), Consumption and Leisure (Section III) , Education and Sensibility (Section IV) and The Body (Section V).

Digital Public Library of America

Discover 29,474,312 images, texts, videos, and sounds from across the United States.

Documenting the American South 

Digital publishing project by the University of North Carolina Library that provides access to images, texts, and audio files relating to Southern history, culture, and literature.

Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800 

Over 36,000 texts covering life in 17th- and 18th-century America, e.g., agriculture and auctions, foreign affairs, diplomacy, literature, music, religion, the Revolutionary War, temperance, and witchcraft. Based on the American Bibliography by Charles Evans, enhanced by Roger Bristol's Supplement. As of July 13, 2010, includes the Supplement from the Library Company of Philadelphia, 1670-1800.

Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819 

Over 36,000 texts, completing the Early American Imprints set. Series II is based on the noted “American Bibliography, 1801-1819” by Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker. You also have access to Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800. Search Early American Imprints, Series I and II and American Broadsides and Ephemera, 1760-1900 in the combined search interface, America’s Historical Imprints.

Empire Online

Over 60,000 manuscripts and documents covering the reach of the British Empire, all the way to Australasia, South Asia, Africa, and the Americas.  Also includes references to biographies and chronologies. 

Everyday Life and Women in America, c. 1800-1920

This digital collection explores American social, cultural, and popular history, providing access to primary source material from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History, Duke University and The New York Public Library. It is made up of fully searchable images (alongside transcriptions) of monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes. The collection is especially rich in conduct of life and domestic management literature.

Foreign Relations of the United States Series (FRUS) 

Presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the State Department's Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now contains more than 350 individual volumes. The volumes published over the last two decades increasingly contain declassified records from all the foreign affairs agencies. The series is published in paper, but many of the volumes have been digitized either by the Department of State or the libraries at the University of Wisconsin at Madison or the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Department of State volumes begin with 1945/50, while those digitized by the University of Wisconsin and Illinois at Chicago cover the years 1861-1960. UK Libraries has these volumes in paper in the Government Publications section of Young Library (call number S1.1).

HathiTrust Digital Library

Digital repository of collections located in various libraries and includes a searchable databases of digitized materials.

Historical Statistics of the United States 

Compendium of statistics from over 1000 sources with over 37,000 data series. Online version of the revised 5 volume paper resource...
You can download tables in Excel or CSV, and also download entire groups of tables as a zip file. You can also create custom tables by merging columns from multiple tables, then download, print, or graph the resulting tables.

National Archives (NARA)

The National Archives was established in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt, but its major holdings date back to 1775. They capture the sweep of the past: slave ship manifests and the Emancipation Proclamation; captured German records and the Japanese surrender documents from World War II; journals of polar expeditions and photographs of Dust Bowl farmers; Indian treaties making transitory promises; and a richly bound document bearing the bold signature "Bonaparte"—the Louisiana Purchase Treaty that doubled the territory of the young republic.

NARA keeps only those Federal records that are judged to have continuing value—about 2 to 5 percent of those generated in any given year. By now, they add up to a formidable number, diverse in form as well as in content. There are approximately 10 billion pages of textual records; 12 million maps, charts, and architectural and engineering drawings; 25 million still photographs and graphics; 24 million aerial photographs; 300,000 reels of motion picture film; 400,000 video and sound recordings; and 133 terabytes of electronic data. All of these materials are preserved because they are important to the workings of Government, have long-term research worth, or provide information of value to citizens.

NYPL Digital Collections

Explore 747,464 items digitized from The New York Public Library's collections.  This site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.

Readers' Guide Retrospective, 1890-1982 

Indexes 512 magazines. Available through EBSCOhost.  Coverage 1890-1982.

Umbra Search: African American History

Brings together hundreds of thousands digitized materials from over 1,000 libraries and archives across the country.

Virginia Company Archives

Includes facsimile access to The Ferrar Papers, The Ransome transcriptions, The Records of the Virginia Company of London, Ferrar Prints, and a collection of maps and images sourced from the British Library, British Museum, Mariners’ Museum, Newport News and Magdalene College, Cambridge. This later collection includes several watercolors by John Smith; color images from de Bry's 'A Briefe and true report of the New found land of Virginia in 1590'; and a number of the earliest maps of Virginia.

The collection documents:

  • the founding and economic development of Virginia as seen through the papers of the Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624.
  • the continuing interest of the Ferrar family in the settlement of North America from Jamestown to the Bermudas.
  • trade between Britain and America.
  • the ethnic and gender composition of early Virginia.
  • tensions amongst the colonists and of early relations with Native Americans.

It is also a useful source for London's economic, social and religious history in the Early Modern era.

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 

Brings together books, images, documents, scholarly essays, commentaries, and bibliographies to document the multiplicity of women's reform movements.  Coverage 1600 - 2000 (Basic Ed.)

Kentucky-Specific Digital Collections


Textual and visual records of the University of Kentucky. Included are: UK yearbooks, minutes of the Board of Trustees, athletics archives, photographic images, etc.

Kentucky Digital Library 

Part of the Kentucky Virtual Library; provides online finding aids and digitized material from archival collections across the state of Kentucky.

Kyleidoscope: Explore Kentucky History Online 

Initiative of the Kentucky Virtual Library’s Kentucky Digital Library that seeks to create convenient avenues for educators to access primary resources regarding the history of Kentucky. Bundles together related sources and places them within historical contexts while also suggesting applicable state Combined Curriculum Standards. These bundles are called "themed collections" and are intended for classroom use.


The searchable catalog contains the records for over 8,000 interviews and nearly 300 oral history projects.  Allows users to browse the collections and projects based on subjects or names or conduct a search of the collections, projects, and interviews. Users can follow links from the catalog record to interviews or projects that are available online or request to use interviews that are not yet online by using the online form.

Databases for News Articles in History

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998

Featuring 270 newspapers published in 36 states.

Alt-Press Watch

Full-text database of approximately 190 newspapers, magazines and journals from alternative and independent presses.\

America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1998

Full-text access to colonial and early American history, with titles from 23 states and D.C. Also covers large collection of African American publications. With issues from over 700 titles (for many titles the holdings are scattered); includes Kentucky titles.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Access to scanned newspaper pages from 1880-1910 (currently from newspapers from California, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Utah, and Virginia) and information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.

Early American Newspapers

Full-text, mostly late 18th/early 19th century, covering colonial and early American history, with titles from 23 states and DC.

Ethnic NewsWatch

Provides full-text of newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press, with more than 280 publications offering both national and regional coverage. Includes publications from Asian-American, Jewish, African-American, Native-American, Arab-American, Eastern-European, and multi-ethnic communities. Nearly 25% of the publications Spanish language

Google News Archive

Search newspapers back 200 years. Generate timelines of matching stories.Sources include, Factiva, HighBeam Research, Guardian Unlimited, (Thomson Gale), and LexisNexis.

Lexington Herald-Leader

Searchable fulltext of all articles except records lists (e.g., births, police reports) and PAID obituaries. Also find records lists for the archives and the most current seven issues by using the search box at the bottom of the page at the Herald-Leader's archives page

London Times Digital Archive, 1785-1985

Over two centuries on-line for full-text searching of the London publication, more than 7 million articles, from 1785-1985. Widely recognized as the source for authoritative reports on politics, law, business and society. Extensive coverage of parliamentary debates, royal doings, obituaries, official appointments. Does not include the Sunday Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the Times Educational Supplement, the Times Higher Education Supplement. Also available in the Gale NewsVault, a searchable collection of historical newspapers.

Newspaper Source

Provides selected full-text for 40 national (U.S.) and international newspapers, including USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, The Times (London), and The Toronto Star. contains selective full text for 489 regional (U.S.) newspapers. In addition, full-text television & radio news transcripts are also provided.

New York Times

Searchable full-text of all articles except records lists (e.g., births, police reports) and PAID obituaries.

New York Times Historical Edition

Searchable full-text of the NYT from ProQuest, with keyword searching and date limiting. Coverage is from 1851-2015.

Nexis Uni

Includes access to over 5,600 news, business, legal, medical and reference publications (most full-text, the rest abstracted), primarily newspapers, magazines and journals. Includes the New York Times

Wall Street Journal (various editions)

Full-text (with abstracts) from ProQuest. Coverage is from 1984 to the present. Includes the Eastern U.S. edition plus Asian, European, and Americas.