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Magnifying glass  Databases for History

Essential Research Tools

Academic Search Premier

Large, scholarly, multi-disciplinary database containing indexing for over 8,500 journals with full text for more than 3,900 peer-reviewed publications. Some 720 journals are specifically in the field of history. (from EBSCO)

1975-current | Some full text 

America: History & Life

Comprehensive coverage of articles from journals, book reviews, and dissertations published worldwide on the history and culture of the United States and Canada. From pre-history to the present. (from EBSCO )

1964-current | Abstracts & citations

American Factfinder 2

From the U.S. Census Bureau, provides population, housing, economic, and geographic data.

American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection

Comprehensive digital collection of historical periodicals spanning three centuries organized in five sections. Primary source materials from throughout the U.S. and many foreign publications. Click on the “Show All” link to choose a series or search all at once.

Series 1: Presents over 500 titles from 1691 through 1820. Represents over two centuries of print culture from early colonial imports to titles published on American soil during the Revolution and early republic. The subject matter covered is broad in scope covering all aspects of American society during this time period.

Series 2: Presents over 1000 titles dating from 1821 through 1837. The subject matter represents the Jacksonian Democracy era in history and includes agriculture, entertainment, history, literary criticism, and politics.

Series 3: Presents over 1,800 titles dating from 1838 through 1852. The themes presented reveal a rapidly growing young nation, where industrialization, the railroads, regional political differences, and life on the western frontier were daily realities. Subjects covered in the collection reach into every facet of American life, including science, literature, medicine, agriculture, women’s fashion, family life, and religion.

Series 4: Presents over 1,100 titles dating from 1853 through 1865. While the Civil War is a focal point of the collection, there is also a diverse record of the continuance of daily life for many Americans—both leading up to and during the war. News from the battlefront can be found, in addition to the usual breadth of subject matter found in previous collections.

Series 5: Presents over 2,500 titles dating from 1866 through 1877. The themes reflect a nation that persevered through a most difficult set of circumstances: a bloody civil war; the incorporation of the recently-freed African Americans into American life; a population that rapidly expanded into the Western territories. Broad subject areas covered in the collection reach into every facet of American life, including science, literature, medicine, agriculture, women’s fashion, family life, and religion.

1600s-1800s | Full text

Britannica Academic Edition

Access to the online version of Britannica Encyclopaedia, the academic edition. Includes Merriam-Webster
Dictionary & Thesaurus, videos, biographies, primary sources, country data, and links to the BBC News and the New York Times.

Full Text

Digital Public Library of America

Provides an ” open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future ­generations.” National portal to digital holdings of archives, libraries, museums, and cultural institutions.

Harp Week

Includes the full text of Harper’s Weekly and provides a continuous record of what happened on a weekly basis from 1857 through 1912. The first segment includes the Civil War Era: 1857-1865. The next two cover Reconstruction: 1866-1871 and 1872-1877. The last six encompass the Gilded Age: 1878-1912. Covers much of the social, political, and economic history of the United States during this period.

1857–1912 | Full text with graphics


Provides multi-disciplinary access to scholarly journals and books. Our collection (Arts & Sciences I-IV and VII) is available in all full text. Under “Refine Results” check “All Content” if you want more search results, some of which may need to be requested from other libraries. (See our Interlibrary Loan page for more information)

1800s-current | Some full text

New York Public Library Digital Collection

Explore 677,429 items digitized from The New York Public Library’s collections. This site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.


New York Times

1980-current | Full text

U.S. Newsstream

Access to over 500 national newspapers. Includes full text for the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Some full text

Project MUSE

Comprehensive source for scholarly journals and books. Project MUSE covers the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, religion, gender studies, economics, and many others. Our collection is available in full text. Check “All Content” if you want more search results, some of which you may need to request from other libraries. (See our Interlibrary Loan page).

Some full text

Renaissance and Reformation

New online journal from Iter

Full text

Salem History

Provides online access to the Milestone Documents of American Leaders reference set, a compilation of primary documents from notable Americans with commentary and analysis.

1754–current | Full text e-book

Social Networks and Archival Context: Prototype History Research Tool

Aggregates descriptive data about people and their social networks. Provides coordinated access to archival and other primary source materials described in catalogs, guides, and finding aids digitally published by libraries and other repositories.

Full text

Winona Newspaper Project

Online archive of three late 19th century and early 20th century Winona newspapers. Includes available issues of the Winona Argus, the Winona Daily Republican and the Winona Republican Herald.

Full text

Also Useful

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a simple way to search for scholarly literature. When accessing this database through the link provided here you will find free connections to the pay for view materials that are located in our subscription sources. Just click on “Find Full Text @SMU.” See also the Google Scholar Blog for citation metrics.

Some full text, some pay for view


From OCLC, the largest, most comprehensive catalog of books and other materials, with records from over 55,000 libraries worldwide. Materials found in WorldCat may be borrowed through our interlibrary loan program.
Catalog records

Contact your liaison librarian

Kate Johnson


Kate Johnson (507) 457-1511

See Also:

Start your research with CREDO

An online reference source with links to databases and the catalog

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