Selected Websites with Primary Sources on the American Civil War

Websites with Primary Sources


For an extensive Webography on all the Wars on Nation-building and Nation-keeping in the nineteenth century, including the American Civil War, with several websites that offer primary document collections, go here.


Institution: Christopher Newport University, Trible Library, Newport News, VA

This site by the Library of the Christopher Newport University provides users a plethora of websites, primary and secondary sources on the U.S. Civil War, organized by types of primary source material (documents, newspapers, people, battles & events, arts & culture etc.).



Institution: Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Ken Burns

This website acts as a companion site to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) history series on The Civil War by Ken Burns (United States, PBS, 1990, 9 episodes, 1h 15 per episode). The site includes features on a range of people and events on the Civil War, maps and timelines, a large photo gallery, a collection of important primary documents, a selection of useful websites, short videos for the classroom, and suggestions for classroom activities.



Institution: British Library, London, United Kingdom

Part of the British Library's Online Galleries, this collection concentrates on the role the United Kingdom played in the American Civil War. It provides both handy reference guides and access to the library's range of sources, texts, maps, and objects produced in Britain and related to the war. Highlights include a collection of maps designed to convey the course of events to readers of British periodicals, as well as essays and bibliographies on a range of issues including diplomatic and economic relations, as well as British- and Irish-born participants in the fighting.



Institution: University of Iowa Digital Libraries, Iowa City, IA

Created by the University of Iowa Libraries and the Iowa Digital Library, Civil War Diaries and Letters provides users with access to a range of letters, diaries and other materials written by both soldiers and women on the home front. The archive also contains a collection of period photographs. Users can search and browse through individual collections of documents, which are available both as digitized images of the original and as transcribed text. In addition to source type, users can also browse according to the year of the war from which the sources date.



Institution: Terra: Foundation for American Art, Chicago, IL

The Civil War in Art: Teaching and Learning through Chicago Collections is intended to help teachers and students learn about the Civil War—its causes and effects—and connect to the issues, events, and people of the era through works of art. The website was initiated, funded, and developed by the Chicago-based Terra Foundation for American Art in acknowledgement of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War (1861–65). From 2010 to 2012, the Terra Foundation collaborated with six Chicago cultural organizations on the project. Each partner contributed images from its collection along with written descriptions, questions for discussion, and additional reading sources. Content specialists from DePaul University curated the selection of objects and wrote the exhibit texts and selected object descriptions. Terra Foundation staff contributed to the writing and editing of the Exhibit texts, object descriptions, and other content in collaboration with the partners and content specialists.