The Library of Congress offers millions upon millions of documents, newspapers, videos, photographs, oral histories, and just about anything else you can think of — ALL FOR FREE!
To use this treasure trove of history, just visit the Library of Congress website.
From here, you can Quick Search in the search bar for your topic, or use the drop down menu to select the media collection you want to search.
The LOC provides hundreds of research guides on a broad range of subjects, from history to politics to the law.
Use their catalog to search their vast collections.
Within the LOC Digital Collections, you will find curated collections of documents, media, and resources all available for free online.
For example, within the Digital Collection of Abraham Lincoln’s Papers, you can view high-quality scans of original archival documents such as this hand-drafted bill to abolish slavery in DC.
Within the Civil Rights Collection, you can see the massive number of available documents, almost 300,000! Also note the different types of resources available — newspapers, books, photographs, videos, and much more.
Here you see a collection of oral histories from civil rights leaders and people who lived through the movement. Watch their full interviews and read the transcripts.
Limiting your results within the Civil Rights Collection you’ll see full-page scans of Civil Rights newspapers, some going back to before the Civil War. Many of the scans are of such high quality that they are fully searchable within the text.
In the LOC Print & Photograph Collection, you can find hundreds of thousands of historical photos beginning at the invention of the camera!
The LOC provides access to hundreds of research databases for scholarly articles and primary source documents.
As an online researcher, you may not have access to everything in these databases. Check each database for “Free Access,” or limit the display results to “Free.”
Enjoy the LOC collection and happy researching!