American Studies subject guide



Online subject resources

There are a vast number of sites with material of interest to American studies students; the individual sites below are a very small selection of what is available. Most of the resources below are freely available on the internet. In addition, the Library subscribes to a vast range of e-resources: see other pages within this guide for subscription e-books, bibliographic databases, and online reference works.

We recommend:

Gale Primary Sources:

  • allows you to search 18 primary source databases from Gale Cengage with a single search box, including historical, newspaper, and periodicals archives.
  • includes interesting tools like "term frequency" (see the frequency of your search term over time) and "term clusters" (see what other terms commonly occur in relation to your search term)

Archive Explorer (from Adam Matthew):

  • allows you to search 9 databases of topical primary source material with a single search box - covering subjects like the American West, gender, Africa, the Raj, the Grand Tour, Victorial Popular Culture, women's writing, etc

Online subject collections


Show all


Hide all


Arts and culture

  • askART: Good for American artists
  • Black Thought and Culture (from Alexander Street Press): contains 1,303 sources with 1,210 authors, covering the non-fiction published works of leading African Americans
  • Sixties project: A project at the University of Virginia including primary and secondary sources
  • Smithsonian: Collections, catalogues and archives from the 16 Smithsonian museums
  • 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.
  • Women's Magazine Archive (from ProQuest): archive of leading women’s interest consumer magazines, covering the late-19th century to 2005 and illustrating the events, trends and attitudes of this period



  • American Film Institute
  • Internet movie database: comprehensive source for movie information including cast lists, plot summaries, reviews etc
  • Kanopy streaming service: includes award-winning documentaries, acclaimed and classic films and rare titles, and covers many subjects:
    • discover and use them for seminar preparation, essays or research.
    • you can make clips and create your own playlists; 
    • the Library will buy the videos that you use the most and they will then become part of the Library's collection of e-resources and be accessible for one year.



  • AMDOCS: full text documents for the study of American history, arranged chronologically
  • Americas and island territories: Through a lens: collection of UK Colonial Office historic photographs of North America, including materials relating to Canada, the Caribbean, British Empire and foreign policy
  • American Memory: primary resources on American history and culture, including digitised historical documents, photographs, sound recordings and film. Compiled from material in the Library of Congress
  • The American West: collection of manuscripts, maps, ephemeral material on the story of the American West
  • Archives of the West: primary sources for the history of the West
  • The Avalon Project: Collection of original documents, mainly in law, history and diplomacy, maintained at Yale University
  • Calisphere: the history of California in digitised primary sources, including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, and advertising
  • Civil rights in Mississippi: digital archive from the University of Southern Mississippi
  • Discovering American Women's History: a diverse collection of primary sources which includes photos, letters, diaries and artefacts from 1600s to present day
  • Documenting the American South: full text documents illustrating the history, literature and culture of the American South from the Colonial period to the early 20th century
  • Empire Online: primary and secondary materials for the study of 'Empire' and its theories, practices and consequences, covering the last 500 years.
  • Historical Statistics of the United States: fully searchable database of US historical statistics, which allows users to create customised tables reflecting their own areas of interest
  • Making of America: joint project from Cornell and the University of Michigan containing primary resources from the Antebellum period to Reconstruction (c 1850-1900)
  • Migration to New Worlds: unique primary source material recounting personal experiences of 350 years of migration
  • MLK Online
  • Native American nations: information on native Americans, mainly compiled by the nations themselves
  • Revolution and Protest (from Alexander Street): covers protest movements, revolutions and civil wars from the 18th century to present. Includes video and images, as well as personal papers, government documents, journals, speeches and monographs
  • Slave voyages: the transatlantic slave trade database




Politics and government

  • ACLU Freedom Network: The American Civil Liberties Union provides information on social and political issues such as the death penalty, racial equality, women's rights etc
  • Maintained by the Library of Congress, an excellent site for all legislative and congressional information
  • HeinOnline: Including US Federal Legislative History Library; US Attorney General opinions; US Statutes at Large; US Supreme Court Library; Treaties and agreements library

US government official sites

Indexes and search engines for US government sources



Library Services, University of Kent

Contact the Library  |  Give Library feedback |  Library Regulations

Last Updated: 28/05/2019