trouble: Sketch of Hermoine from Harry Potter with "Bookworms will rule the world (after we finish the background reading)" on it (Default)
Hi All,

I am putting together a list of primary sources that are available for free on the internet.

[My prof, bless her wee cotton socks, thinks "history on the internet" is limited to Wikipedia.]

What are you favourite primary source websites?


Right now, because of what I'm working on, I'm very fond of:

Amicus [also in in French], specifically relevant here for its sheet music from Canada's past. [I can't guarantee this site is available outside of Canada]

Broadsides Ballads
"The Bodleian Library has unparalleled holdings of over 30,000 ballads in several major collections. The original printed materials range from the 16th- to the 20th-Century. The Broadside Ballads project makes the digitised copies of the sheets and ballads available to the research community."

African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
"The collection includes many songs from the heyday of antebellum black face minstrelsy in the 1850s and from the abolitionist movement of the same period. Numerous titles are associated with the novel and the play Uncle Tom's Cabin. Civil War period music includes songs about African-American soldiers and the plight of the newly emancipated slave. Post-Civil War music reflects the problems of Reconstruction and the beginnings of urbanization and the northern migration of African Americans."

Also of note, the CBC has decades worth of news footage and documentaries up, and the National Film Board of Canada is releasing several of their films and shorts online, including the crowd-pleasing Log Driver's Waltz.

Collected from others:

We'll start with the biggie: the Monumenta Germaniae Historica is online! (http://www.mgh.de/dmgh/) Pro: it's the MGH, and it's searchable. Con: the site is in German. Which is only a con if you can't read German and really isn't that much of a hurdle even if you don't, actually...

I am also fond of the Acta Sanctorum, which has its tomes online (http://www.patristique.org/article.php3?id_article=132). Pro: lots of saints' lives, arranged by feast day. Con: I don't think it's searchable, but I'd have to look more closely. And the site in French, but again that shouldn't be too much of a problem because the layout is clear.

Then there's the Internet Medieval Sourcebook (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/Sbook.html). Pro: has a wide variety of sources, mostly translated into English. Con: sometimes they are translated badly. ;) But it's a good place to start.

If you will allow for a relaxed definition of 'primary source,' the Web Gallery of Art has a great collection of images of European works from the 12th through the 19th centuries: http://www.wga.hu/

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