Libraries and Archives

American Antiquarian Society.  Founded in 1812, the American Antiquarian Society’s collections document American history, literature and culture through 1876.  Collections include printed books and pamphlets, prints and broadsides, maps, sheet music, and more.  Online finding aids and a general catalog are available.  Specialized catalogs compile information on pre-1820 American engravings and the 19th century American children’s book trade.  GIGI is the Society’s database of digital assets.

American Craft Council‘s library catalog accesses a collection focused on the development of the craft movement in America in the years following the Second World War.  Digital collections are also available.

Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian is dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers and primary records of the visual arts in America.  Website provides information on their 6,000 archival collections, 125 of which are available entirely online.

Archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society.  Archives holdings are searchable within the UW-Madison Library Catalog.

The Boston Athenaeum, a membership library, opened in 1807.  See examples of their holdings in their Digital Collection.

British Library Images Online provides images from their extensive collections.  Images include illustrations, drawings, photographs, more.  The main website for the library also gives links to collection catalogues and online galleries.

Hagley Museum and Library collects, preserves and interprets the history of American enterprise.  The library includes book, pictorial, manuscript and archive collections, including a rich collection of trade catalogs.  Some items have been digitized.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  One of the oldest and largest non-governmental repositories of historical documentary material.  Its Discover catalog list holdings of books, images and more.  A digital library is also accessible.

Kohler Art Library, University of Wisconsin Madison.

Lewis Walpole Library, a department of Yale University, is an important center for research in 18th century studies.  Online digital collections are searchable.

Library of Congress has made an extensive array of resources available online, including the library catalog, finding aids to archival collections, and many digital collections.  Search their Online Catalog, or their Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, or browse featured digital collections.

The Library of Virginia serves as the state library and archives of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The LVA Catalog allows combined or separate searches of book/journal collections, archives/manuscript collections and/or image/index holdings.  Many digital collection are available in their Virginia Memory project.  See a useful chronological guide in their “Best Sources for Virginia Research by Time Period.”

The website of Monticello provides access to libraries and archives relating to Thomas Jefferson, as well as reconstructions of libraries owned by Jefferson at various times in his life.  See a searchable list of books known to or owned by Thomas Jefferson.  Note that the Library of Congress began with a collection of books sold to them by Jefferson; see inventory online.

National Archives and Records Administration provides a Research page with information on how to search their extensive holdings.

SIRIS: Smithsonian Institution Research Information System is a gateway to the Smithsonian’s many online library, archives, art, and photographic collections.  Note access to the “Inventory of American Painting and Sculpture” and the “Pre-1877 Art Exhibition Catalogue Index.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Special Collections houses the majority of pre-1800 books at UW-Madison, as well as many special collections.