Updated 24 June 2014 — Below the fold is a list of historical sources on the internet, this includes both primary and secondary source collections. I am constantly updating this list when I run across useful sites. Please point me at sites I miss in the comments section. I thought it would be a good idea to put up a note about sources I use on the site and general historical source collections as I run across them or they are recommended to me. For the most part I will try to use online sources in my essays and blog posts for one main reason. There is tons of great information on the internet if you know where to look and how to search. I hope that by posting online sources it will point people to some of the many resources available online. Occasionally I will use books from my personal library to cite some items that I just cannot find an online source for. Lastly, when I do academically cite something I will use standard scholarly notation according to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition.
Here is the list of online historical primary and secondary sources:
The Avalon Project: a collection of historical legal documents from antiquity to the present.
Google Books: There are literally millions of books on this site, many of them available for full viewing.
Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection: As much as I hate to hype anything from the University of Texas(because I am a University of Oklahoma fan) this page has many historical maps that come in extremely handy at times; especially when comparing historical to contemporary place names.
Global Security.org: This is not so much a historical source as a fairly decent source of contemporary military information. Take things on this site with a grain of salt. Their info is generally good but is sometimes dated. (Update: This site has now put up a pay wall to get to much of their content)
Federation of American Scientists: This is another good site for contemporary info. They also have a fairly extensive library of historical information about the development of WMD over the last century or so. Their sections on Nuclear and Chemical weapons are especially good. The US Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC)
Combined Arms Research College Library is an excellent source for official US Army history publications, they also have an archive of Theses’ written by students that have attended the CGSC.
The “Green Books” US Official Histories of WWII. These are the best official histories to come out of WWII. In general, these books are only available in libraries so it is awesome that they are now available digitally.
US Army Center of Military History is another excellent source for official histories. The Center of Military Heraldry is also there and has links to the official lineages of just about every unit that has ever served in the US Army.
Military History Online: An excellent collection of articles on military history by a variety of authors; some professional historians and some amateurs. The general quality of the articles is high though. I have to say that because I have a few articles posted on there. 🙂
De Re Militari: The Medieval Military History Society has an excellent selection translations of primary source material on the society webpage.
Military History Encyclopedia on the Web: A very good collection of Military related articles.
World History Database List of Wars: This site has a list of most of the wars fought in the western world and many outside it that link to timelines of the particular wars although there is not a whole lot of details. It is a good place to get a general idea of the issues and combatants in various wars.
ORB: The Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: This is an excellent source for short pieces on virtually every aspect of medieval history.
Papal Encyclicals Online: This is a Catholic layperson run website that has English translation of most Papal Bulls going back to 1216 on it. A pretty good source for anyone doing Crusade research or researching the church’s role in history.
Livius.org: This site has an extensive encyclopedia of articles on the Ancient world from Ancient Mesopotamian Kingdoms to the Roman Empire. An excellent resource to get a quick overview of selected topics.
The Website of Dr. Kurt Hackemer at the University of South Dakota: Dr Hackemer has a fairly large list of resources and further links on his website. Of note is a list of links to digitized newspapers mainly from the 19th Century. He also has a list of military primary documents available in PDF, again these are mainly from the 19th Century.
Eyewitness to History: This site is full of eyewitness accounts of happenings in history from the ancient world to today. I had a book by this title in Junior High and this website far exceeds anything in the book. It is possible to spend hours browsing this site, especially for the history geek.
The U.K. National Archives: The National Archives has a pretty extensive list of digitized archival material available online although if you want to do any serious research you must go to the archives themselves. They mainly have the most important and famous documents digitized.
Greek and Roman Authors on LacusCurtius: This is an excellent site I stumbled across that has the complete texts of many Greek and Roman authors, many in the original Latin and Greek along with English translations.
The Library of Congress: I can’t believe I have not included this resource before. The Library of Congress has tons of material from photographs to documents. It is one of the best American History resources on the web. They have a huge collection of Civil War photographs and a very large document collection. They are constantly adding material as it gets digitized. It is a very good place to find primary documents for American history.
Great War Primary Document Archive: This is an amazing site with literally thousands of photos and Primary Documents from World War I digitized on the site. It is a must bookmark for anyone interested in the history of the Great War
Gutenberg Project: This site has a vast collection of older books available as e-book downloads. Many are available as PDFs and Word or text files and many are not searchable but often the quality of the downloads and scans is quite good.
EBOOKEE: This site is a huge depository of e-books available for free download. This is a great place to look for recent scholarly works that you know the title of. This is a good companion to Gutenberg.
Virginia Memory: This is a very interesting site that has a searchable database of Civil War primary documents that have been digitized. It mainly consists of diaries and letters of participants and is searchable by keyword, battle, and region.
Military History Resources: This site has a huge collection of links to military history resources covering just about every historical period.
20 Sep 2011 – The Art of Battle: Animated Battle Maps: Very nice collection of battle maps that are animated to show the course of a battle. The battles covered range from Antiquity to World War II. Very interesting site that is growing all the time.
20 Sep 2011 – Chinese Military Power: A Compendium of Online Resources about Chinese Military Policy & Capabilities: A useful one-stop resource for all thins related to the Chinese Military. This site links to many articles related to the Chinese military. The only drawback to it, is that looks like it stop getting substantial updates in 2008 and much has happened in the past three years. Still a useful site though.
26 Oct 2011 – The Nuclear Weapons Archive: I cannot believe I forgot about this site when initially putting this list together. This site has probably the most comprehensive list of materials relating to nuclear weapons I have yet seen. They have all declared nuclear countries on her as well as sections on countries suspected of having them. An excellent resource for just about anything having to do with the history and proliferation of nuclear weapons.
27 Oct 2011- Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: The British Royal society has just made their entire archive of their journal the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society available online. It is the oldest scientific journal in the world, its first edition appeared in 1665. It includes things like Isaac Newton’s first article, Ben Franklin’s article about the experiment with the kite and many more. I have only briefly browsed it but there is some really cool stuff in there and it is an invaluable research for historians and the general public.
31 Oct 2011 – Documentary Guide: A fellow poster at WCF pointed me to this site. It is not strictly a history site but if you type history into the search box it pops up with a lot of history documentaries viewable online. Some are kind of off the wall late-nite history channel type videos but many are good solid films. Worth checking out if you have the time.
11 Nov 2011 – Air Aces: A fellow poster at WCF pointed me to this site also. It is an exhaustively researched list of just about every air-to-air combat that has taken place since military aviation began. If you are a fighter enthusiast this site should be on your list of bookmarks. If you are a historian, this is an invaluable resource on air combat. An excellent website with an extensive list of links of its own to other air combat sites. Some of the links on this site are broken but many are not.
27 Nov 2011 – GET IN GET OUT AND GET AWAY: Interesting site about National Service in Britain prior to its abolishment in the early sixties.
19 Jan 2012 – Nazi and East German Propaganda Guide Page: A very cool page that has literally thousands of examples of both Nazi and DDR propaganda. Well worth looking at if you are interested in knowing what kind of stuff dictatorships use to fool their citizens into following them.
26 Jan 2012 – British History Online: This site has a large collection of primary and secondary documents from British History. One of the ones I found the most interesting was the Assize of Nuisance from 1301-1427 detailing complaints from people in London that were investigated by the city Aldermen. Excellent site to waste an afternoon digging through or conduct serious research.
13 February 2012 – British Imperial History Library: A pretty large collection of resources relating to British Imperial history. They also have a pretty good selection of free books available for download as PDFs.
18 February 2012 – Criminal proceedings of the Old Bailey: The records of court cases at the London Central Criminal Court from 1674-1913. Very interesting place to research the different ways in which criminal cases have been handled in London over the years.
8 March 2012 – Jensen’s Web Sources for Military History: This is a huge list of links to military history resources from antiquity to the modern day. Many free journals are listed in the generalist section, which is what makes this site so valuable in my eyes. A word of warning though, as with any link collection (including mine here) some are broken.
16 April 2012 – Historical US Newspaper Archives and Library Of Congress Digitized Newspapers: The first site is an aggregator which lists all fifty states and a summary of the archives of newspapers from that state that are available online and links to those papers, many are links to the LOC site. The LOC site has digital copies of newspaper from all over the country with the earliest being from 1837 to the present. Both very interesting, it is cool to read papers from significant historical events in the US and see what contemporaries of the time thought. I can get lost for hours in both sites.
17 April 2012 – Institute for the Study of Warfare: This is an interesting site with plenty of useful information about current US military operations and analysis of geopolitics around the globe. Well worth looking at.
18 May 2012 – Open Library: While not strictly a historical resource this is an awesome site for people like me that love to read. They have over 1 million e-books available for free lending download. I cannot say enough good things about a site that encourages people to expand their horizons through reading.
4 June 2012 – Digital Book Index: A very good site with thousands of digital books indexed by subject. The History section alone is broken down into over 100 subcategories.
18 July 2012 – Manybooks.net: This is another free eBook site. They have a section on war books that has close to 1,400 titles in it. Many are older books in which the copyright has expired but they are good nonetheless. What I especially like about their war book section is it full of personal memoirs from WWI and the American Civil War. In other words, the types of books you don’t find on bookstore shelves that provide a different view of war from standard historical works.
11 November 2012 – The Castles of Wales: This interesting site contains data on over 500 castles located in Wales. Many of the pages also contain photos of castles or the sites where castles were formerly located.
11 November 2012 – Roads to Ruins: This interesting website contains information about a fairly large selection of castles throughout Germany. There are about 100 castles listed but there are plenty more castles in Germany than those listed on this site. I am personally aware of the location/ruins of at least 6 castles within 10 miles of where I live in Northern Bavaria.
11 November 2012 – Japanese Castles: This interesting page has information about a limited selection of Japanese castles. These castles are interesting because the Japanese castle building tradition grew separate from the European tradition yet both cultures developed very similar solutions to similar problem when designing and building fortifications. I will say that I find Japanese castles to be very aesthetically pleasing.
6 December 2012 – Urban Ghosts-Military Section: While not strictly a historical resource this section of the Urban Ghosts website has plenty of features about abandoned bits and pieces of objects from military history. It is interesting to say the least and a great site to waste some time at if you have nothing better to do.
2 January 2013 – Imperial War Museum: The Imperial War Museum is the official repository of British military imagery and they have an extensive and impressive collection of images that have been digitized and made available online. There is a search function as well as a listing of the collection by subject. An excellent research tool.
1 March 2013 – Sites of Memory: This site has a pretty extensive list of war memorial from all over the world. It is s good place to see how different peoples and cultures remember their fallen. I will admit that i know the site owner and have contributed. that just makes the site better in my opinion.
29 April 2013 – Lone Sentry Blog: I ran across this site while doing some recent on WWII. It has a large collection documents and images relating to WWII. It is indexed fairly well and heck, it is just interesting to browse what has been put up and see what gems you will run across.
10 June 2013 – McMaster University WWI Trench Map Database: This database has a large number of aerial photos and trench maps of the British sector in Flanders and Northern France from WWI that have been digitized. A good place to go to get a very goo idea of how intricate the trench networks of WWI really got.
29 July 2013 – Open Education Databae (OEDb): This site has thousands of college level courses across the academic spectrum available for free. They are taught by professors from major universities. A search for history alone turns up over 400 classes. Well worth checking out for both the novice and the serious history geek. Hat Tip to Mr. Xavier Gray for pointing me in the direction of this resource.
16 October 2013 –Richard Jensens’s Web Sources for Military History : A pretty extensive collection of military history sites from around the web. The site has not been updated since 2012 so expect some dead links but there is plenty of infor on here and the links are broken down by category. A good place to start looking.
11 November 2013 – Fold3: A very interesting site that contains thousands of digitized records of United States veterans from the Revolution to the War in Afghanistan. A good place to start looking if you want information on a specific veteran or just want to browse.
2 January 2014 – Holy Land Photos: This very interesting site has photos of locations from throughout Israel and jerusalem of sites both religious and historical. Each section includes an update of the status of archaeological research of the site in question. The different types of locations range from the possible locations of Christ’s Tomb to water cisterns for Jerusalem built by the Romans.
16 January 2014 – British Army War Diaries-1914-1918: The UK National archives is in the process of digitizing hundreds of thousands of pages of British Army WWI unit war diaries as part of their effort to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI. The collection is not complete as of this update but it is pretty large and they add more stuff to it all the time. This is an invaluable source for researching particular battles from WWI in which British units participated.
30 January 2014 – Oral History AudioBooks: This site was recommended to me by the site owner. After checking it out it is well worth inclusion here. What it is is a collection of anecdotes and transcripts of interviews with WWII members of the 712th Tank Battalion as they relate their wartime experiences. This is kind of a mini-VFW hall. A place to go get some of the war stories old vets toss around when they get together and that most people never get to hear. The best war stories don’t involve killing and being killed, they are about the little things that make life in combat tolerable.
12 June 2014 – Institute for the Study of War: While not strictly historical this site’s breadth and depth of information on war and especially current conflicts is unparallelled. It has insightful analysis of ongoing wars and the tea leave readers here are pretty accurate in predicting the course of current wars around the globe. Very interesting and insightful.
24 June 2014 – World War I Hub from OUP: This is essentially a marketing site put up by Oxford University Press. For being a marketing site though, it has an outstanding selection of material available about the outbreak, course, and conclusion of World War I on their for free. OUP publishes some of the best historical works around and they draw on that collection of published work as well as some specially commissioned pieces to put this site together. Well worth a visit.