Selected Websites with Primary Sources on the American Revolutionary War

Websites with Primary Sources


For an extensive Webography on the Age of Revolutionary Wars 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 a plethora of primary and secondary sources on the American Revolution and the War of Independence, organized by the main countries involved in the conflict and different types of primary source material (arts, music, newspapers, etc.) as well as autobiographical accounts.



Institution: New York Historical Society and Gilder Lehrman Collection

In the unpublished documents section, the New York Historical Society is making available previously unpublished manuscript documents by, to, or about Alexander Hamilton (1756–1804), American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. The documents from the collections of the New York Historical Society and the holdings of the Gilder Lehrman Collection, including The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, edited by Harold C. Syrett (New York, Columbia University Press, 1961–87), and The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary, edited by Julius Goebel, Jr. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964–81), are also available through this database.



Institution: Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Building on the work of scholars that has accumulated since the 1960s, Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic and Intra-American slave trade databases draw on multiple sources of information about individual slave-trade voyages to provide databases searchable with criteria such as point of origin, destinations, dates, and more. Beginning from a foundation of data culled from libraries, newspapers, archives, and other contemporary sources on British voyages, the team that developed Voyages, led by Emory University historian David Eltis, amassed information on Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and other nations’ trade in captive people from Africa –some 34,948 in all –as of 2010. The project’s leaders believe that their dataset encompasses more than 95 percent of all British voyages, as well as high percentages from those of French and Dutch ships, overall encompassing some 80 percent of the whole and a high percentage of the estimated 12.5 million captives taken from Africa. (The estimate itself is possible in part due to the work of this project.) Information is both viewable and downloadable.



Institution: Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL

Beginning in 1837, the printer Peter Force, who also served as mayor of Washington, D.C., from 1836-1840, devoted sixteen years to collecting thousands of pamphlets, booklets, and newspaper articles pertaining to the “Origin, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies in North America” from the Revolutionary Era. He published them in a set of nine large volumes that he called the American Archives. By the late twentieth century, Force's collection of materials from the years 1774–76 had become a valuable scholarly resource, as it contained the only surviving copies of many important documents. In 2001, Northern Illinois University Libraries and Professor Allan Kulikoff of the University of Georgia received grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the digitization of the American Archives and their presentation in a free-use World Wide Web site. This site allows its users to use sophisticated search and indexing software to explore Force's volumes. Professor Kulikoff has also produced a thematic indexing scheme describing the contents of every individual text in the American Archives collection. Together, these tools offer scholars, students, and lifetime learners with unprecedented access to these important primary source materials from American history.



Institution: Lillian Goldman Law Library of Yale Law School, New Haven, CT

The Avalon Project is a website dedicated to digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy, and Government published by the Lillian Goldman Law Library of Yale Law School in 2008. The American Revolution document collection includes primary sources from Congress, the House of Representatives, town meetings, and Parliament from the late 18th century.



Institution: Fordham University, New York, NY

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project provided by Fordham University and edited by Paul Halsall is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use. Primary sources are available here primarily for use in high school and university/college courses. The American Independence collection includes topics such as mid-18th century politics, early New York, French and Indian Wars, Benjamin Franklin, the American Revolution, establishment of the American State, native Americans, and slavery.