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Finding Digital Primary Sources
This page holds a selection of open access digital collections and subscription-based library databases with primary sources.
Confused about identifying primary sources? Try our short library tutorial on Understanding & Evaluating Sources.
Collections Located in New York City
This section contains digital primary source collections from institutions located in New York City. Their holdings may cover New York City or other geographical areas of Jewish significance.
For in-person access to collections, check the latest access policies at each institution.
Center for Jewish History Digital Collections
This portal searches across 5 collections housed at the CJH: the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardi Federation, the Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. As you search, select the limiter under the heading Availability on the right panel for "Available Online."
Image credit: "A shnirele perl" via Dorot Jewish Division, The New York Public Library Digital Collections.
Digitized organizational records of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the overseas rescue, relief, and rehabilitation arm of the American Jewish community.
Open Access Collections
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
Provides a single search interface for discovering millions of digital materials from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions across the country.
Provides access to millions of books, music, artworks and more from thousands of European archives, libraries and museums.
HathiTrust Digital Library
A partnership of academic and research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. Full text access only for public domain works indicated by "Full View." Downloading or printing depends on each title's copyright status. Click into each title to see entitlements on the left sidebar.
Image credit: Jewish Communal Directory 1912 via HathiTrust Digital Library.
Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
Digital collection of historical materials from Harvard's libraries, archives, and museums documenting voluntary immigration to the United States from the signing of the Constitution to the start of the Great Depression.
Yad Vashem Digital Collections
Digitized primary sources from the World Holocaust Remembrance Center including databases, documents, photographs, oral histories, films, and more.
Large image collection of paintings, sculptures, architecture, photographs, and other works of art. Access note: Remote users need to create personal accounts. After signing in with your AccessIT ID, sign in again with personal account username and password. Must disable your browser’s pop-up blocker.
Group portrait of women in a shop (circa 1910) with food collected for striking tailors. Signs on wall in English and Yiddish, read "We are Collecting Provision Striking Tailors. Please do as much as you can. Thank you!" Image credit: Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University, via ARTstor.
Early English Books Online, 1473-1700
From the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare, this collection contains more than 125,000 books and pamphlets printed in English.
Gale Primary Sources
Gale's primary sources platform for cross-searching: American Historical Periodicals (Series 1-5), British Library 19th Century Newspapers, Eighteenth Century Collections, The Making of Modern Law: Foreign, Comparative, & Int'l (1600-1926),The Making of Modern Law: Foreign Primary Sources, The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises (1800-1926), and U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs (1832-1978).
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