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As part of the Open Collections Program, Harvard University offers a wealth of texts and images related to voluntary immigration to the United States from 1789-1930. The collection’s strongest offerings are from the nineteenth-century, when successive waves of immigrants from all over the world flocked to the U.S. to reap the benefits of the new urban industrial order. Materials illuminate the perspectives of immigrants and native-born Americans and highlight both the benefits and the challenges faced by a nation during a phase of rapid immigration.

Mark Twain set a number of his best-known works in the Mississippi River Valley. Using Twain’s own works, his personal papers, and supplementary information about the setting, scholars have constructed a fascinating view of the region during the nineteenth century. Together, Twain and the scholars behind this digital project offer a unique perspective on the developments and challenges of the era including Westward Expansion, racial and ethnic conflict, industrialization, the Civil War, and its aftermath.

The archivists at Rutgers University have begun to digitize and edit the papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who were the foremost advocates of women’s suffrage (right to vote) in the United States. This digital collection is a work in progress with a relatively limited selection of documents and texts. But as they work, the project’s creators have also provided some insight into the process of documentary editing. Users will likely come away with a great deal of knowledge about how such a collection is chosen, edited, and presented.

This digital project provides an overview of early American approaches to psychiatry. Using primary source documents and photographs, the site features pioneering practitioners, institutions, and activists concerned with mental health care. Based on the nineteenth century, the project also traces the emergence of state intervention in the treatment of the mentally ill.

This digital collection presents a selection of writings—mostly letters and sermons—from the nineteenth-century American thinker, Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Though Higginson is likely best known for the correspondence he exchanged with poet Emily Dickinson, his career as a minister and writer engaged him in virtually all of the most important debates of his time, including slavery, women’s rights, temperance, and war. This collection can be browsed by topic and provides images of original writings along with typed transcripts.

The digital collections hosted by Miami University showcase about 16,000 primary sources including photographs, newspapers, videos, and interviews. While much of the collection pertains to the history of the university and the region, certain materials, such as the collection of Victorian trade cards, reveal broader trends in the economy and culture of nineteenth-century America.


This site is a project of the UNH Library Digital Collections Initiative. Search for collections by key word in the box below or use the subjects list.


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