If you find a particular website (e.g. Internet Archive or the Library of Congress) difficult to search, try creating your own search engine for that site using Google.
Go to the Google search bar in your browser and enter your search terms (e.g. circus history).
Add the following to the end of your site: site:loc.gov (where you can replace "loc.gov" with any website you want to search or just add a domain, e.g. site:.edu where you limit results to only webpages from American colleges and universities)
This website allows a general search of 80+ historical primary source databases. Browse individual databases or search across them with keywords. The database World's Fairs: A Global History of Expositions will be of particular interest.
The publisher Adam Matthew is making these primary source databases available to students during the pandemic.
Offers fully searchable facsimile images of approximately 15,000 broadsides (1820-1900) and 15,000 pieces of ephemera (1760 -1900) from the American Antiquarian Society collection. Subjects range from contemporary accounts of the Civil War, unusual occurrences and natural disasters to official government proclamations, tax bills and town meeting reports. Material types include clipper ship sailing cards, early trade cards, bill heads, theater and music programs, stock certificates, menus and invitations documenting civic, political and private celebrations.
Early American Imprints: Series II, Shaw-Shoemaker (1801-1819)
Covers American history and literature from the colonial period to the eighteenth century. Provides full-text digitization of the Early American Imprints microform set, Series II (1801-1819). Covering every aspect of American life during the early decades of the United States.
Includes over seventy seminal as well as lesser known contemporary indexes to English-language publishing prior to 1930. Access is by genre: 1. Multi-title Periodical Indexes (e.g., Poole's, Legal, Religion, Scientific Papers, etc.); 2. Book Indexes; 3. Newspaper Indexes; 4. Complete Individual Periodical Indexes (e.g., Harper's, Atlantic Monthly,etc.); 5. US Patents; Hansard's; US and UK Historical Government Documents
Full text versions of books, magazines, and other materials published in the 19th century. Materials now in the database of particular interest include Asia and the West; Science, Technology, and Medicine, 1780–1925.
Search through 1,800 magazines and journals published in the United States between 1740-1940. Includes early scientific publications, trade journals, popular magazines such as Ladies' Home Journal, and journals such as Puck, The Dial, and McClure's.
Search through 2,000+ historical newspapers published in the United States between 1690-1922. Includes publications from all 50 states, large cities and small towns, and a mix of major newspapers and titles with smaller circulations.
Full-text access to news articles, blog posts, videos, images, and multimedia features. Coverage from 1851-present.
If you are looking for articles in the NY Times more than 5 years old, use the "Proquest Historical Newspapers" link for coverage and an advanced search interface.
Our subscription to the current New York Times is unique in requiring that you register the first time you use it. Connect using the link "New York Times." After registering you will have access whenever you login for a full year.
Large Collections and Directories of Online Primary Sources
These links point to websites that allow for searching across the collections of many different libraries at once. Some (e.g. Internet Archive) also include content that has been submitted by users.
The DPLA allows you to search millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Each record links to the original object on the library or other content provider's website.
The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that is building an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. The Internet Archive includes more than 300,000 texts, as well as audio, moving images, software and archived web pages. A good source for books printed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including many travel accounts.
A catalog of the books, journals, and other materials held by OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) member libraries throughout the United States and in other countries. WorldCat is an important place to look for many materials not owned by the Tri-College Libraries. This combined library catalog contains more than 400 million records describing items owned by libraries around the world. Many items published in the 19th century are available digitally through free links in WorldCat records. Look in particular for links from HathiTrust and the Internet archive.