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EN 632: Advanced Topic Seminar: Friendship, Love, and Social Taboo. Professor Lori Harrison-Kahan


Getting Started

Digital archives and databases of primary source materials for this course's final essay assignment.

Your Librarian: Stephen Sturgeon

Please contact me at for help exploring any of the resources linked here.

Race & Gender

African-American Newspapers: the 19th Century Complete texts of major 19th century African American newspapers. Includes first-hand reports of events and issues of the day, as well as biographies, vital statistics, essays and editorials, poetry and prose, and advertisements.

Black Abolitionist Papers This collection documents the efforts of African American activists in their international effort to abolish slavery in the United States. Covering the period 1830-1865, the 15,000-item collection records the full impact of African American efforts to oppose slavery by displaying the writings and publications of the activists themselves.

Jewish News Archive Collection of Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) is the archive of original reporting from around the world that documents Jewish experience of the 20th century, much of it not written about in the mainstream media. There are contemporaneous articles reported from Europe between 1937-1945 that document the Holocaust on a daily basis, articles documenting the experience of Russian Jews throughout entire reign of Communism, coverage of life in then-Palestine before the new state was inaugurated in 1948, and much more. 1923-current.

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930 Selected historical materials from Harvard's library, archives and museums documents voluntary immigration to the US from the signing of the Constitution to the onset of the Great Depression. The collection includes approximately 1,800 books and pamphlets, 6,000 photographs, 200 maps and 13,000 pages from manuscript and archival collections. By incorporating diaries, biographies and other writings capturing diverse experiences, the collected material provides a window into the lives of ordinary immigrants.

Women Working More than 500,000 pages of historical documentation focusing on the role of women in the United States economy from 1800-1930. The sources include books, pamphlets, manuscripts and images selected from Harvard's library and museum collections.

Studies in Scarlet: Marriage & Sexuality in the U.S. & U.K., 1815-1914 presents images of the texts of more than 450 trial narratives printed in the United States or the United Kingdom from 1815 until 1914, drawn from the Harvard Law School Library's trial collections. The narratives include trials for murder, rape, divorce, domestic violence, adultery, bigamy, breach of promise to marry and the custody of children.

In Their Own Words

North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries, and Oral Histories Letters and diaries by U.S. and Canadian immigrants from 1800-1950.

North American Women's Letters and Diaries Collection of women's diaries and letters covering colonial times to 1950.

British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries A database of primary documents that includes the diaries and letters of women from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Access writings by full text searching (simple or advanced) or by exploring the tables of contents.

Oral History Online Some full text oral history and index of other projects on the web.

Popular Periodicals and Women's Magazines

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Newspaper "Developed by the Brooklyn Public Library, this free database provides access to the full-text of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from 1841 to 1955." (

Harper's Bazaar America’s first fashion magazine, from 1867 to present.

Vogue Archive A complete searchable archive of American Vogue, from the first issue in 1892 to the current month, reproduced in high-resolution color page images. Every page, advertisement, cover and fold-out has been included, with rich indexing enabling you to find images by garment type, designer and brand names. The Vogue Archive preserves the work of the world's greatest fashion designers, stylists and photographers and is a unique record of American and international fashion, culture and society from the dawn of the modern era to the present day.

Women's Magazine Archive The full backfiles of leading women’s interest consumer magazines. Coverage ranges from the late-19th century through to 2005.

The Art of American Advertising Drawing from Baker Library Historical Collections’ (Harvard Business School), The Art of American Advertising, 1865—1910, is a collection of trade catalogs, trade cards, broadsides, posters, souvenir publications, and novelty items. Includes more than 1,000 images of 19th-century advertising trade cards.  As some of the most popular forms of advertising in the 19th-century, and as indicators of consumer habits, social values and marketing techniques, these materials are of interest to scholars of business history, American studies, graphic design and printing history and social and cultural history.

Large Digital Archives of General Interest

New York Public Library Digital Collections This site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.

US Library of Congress Online Prints and Photographs Online Catalog The collections of the Prints & Photographs Division include photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in, or documenting the history of, the United States and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people.

US Library of Congress Digital Collections Digitized content from the vast multimedia holdings fo the Library of Congress.