Accessibility statement

Research resources in American history

Following a major award of over £160,000 in 2008, granted for the exclusive purpose of building digital collections in the field of American history, the University of York has emerged as one of the finest locations for studying the history of the Americas outside North America.

As well as complete collections of all the major scholarly journals on American history, the Caribbean and Latin America (available through J-Stor and Project Muse) and essential reference works such as the American National Biography, we are able to boast an extensive and eclectic range of electronic, microfilm and paper primary collections which stretch across five hundred years of continental and transnational history.

Our holdings can be classified into three core areas of strength:

History of the Americas Before 1900

Members of the University community have full access to some of the largest and most comprehensive databases in early American history. In addition to our subscriptions to Early English Books Online and Eighteenth Century Collections Online, which make available most books printed in Britain before 1800, we subscribe to the vast online Archive of Americana which includes: the two series of Early American Imprints (the vast majority of books published in North America before 1820); thousands of newspapers from across the colonies and the United States, collected in five series of America’s Historical Newspapers; and various collections of state papers, broadsides, Congressional materials and maps. Our newspaper and magazine holdings also include the American Periodical Series online, and a number of stand-alone databases including the full-text of the Pennsylvania Gazette from 1728-1800.

Political and social history and the history of US foreign policy

We have extensive archives of major US newspapers and political journals, available electronically, on microfilm and in hard copy and dating from the colonial era to the present day. These include:

  • The New York Times (1851-2006)
  • Chicago Tribune (1849-1986)
  • New York Tribune (1841-1922)
  • Washington Post (1877-1993)
  • The Atlanta Constitution (1868-1939)
  • Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003)
  • The Chicago Defender (1905-1975)
  • The Crisis
  • Harlem Quarterly (1949-1950)
  • The Messenger (1917-1928)
  • The Nation
  • The New Republic
  • National Review
  • Partisan Review (1947-2003)
  • New York Review of Books (1969-present)
  • New York Times (1970-present)
  • New York Tribune (1841-1896)
  • New Yorker (2000-present)
  • Colored American Magazine
  • Half-Century Magazine

Our subscription to American Periodicals Series Online provides material from over seven million digitized images of American magazines, journals and newspapers dating from 1741 to the US entry into World War II, and includes over 1,500 titles ranging from America 's first scientific journal, Medical Repository, to popular magazines like Vanity Fair and Ladies' Home Journal.

The university has recently acquired the Historical Statistics of the United States Millennial Edition. This includes over 37,000 data series in a completely revised, updated, and expanded version of the previous three editions. Recognised as a standard source for quantitative indicators of American history, it gives access to data covering population, work and welfare, economic structure and performance, economic sectors, and governance and international relations.

Additionally, through the Archive of Americana, we can draw upon more than 30 million primary documents on the history of the Americas from 1639 to 1980, including the essential collections from the colonial era and early republic, namely:

  • Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans 1639-1800
  • Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker 1801-1819
  • America's Historical Newspapers (Early American Newspapers, Series 1-5)
  • American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1

Through this digital archive, we also enjoy access to US government records, complementing the publicly available Foreign Relations of the United States series. This includes the US Congressional Serial Set, which focuses on congressional history from 1817 to 1980, and the American State Papers collection (which focuses primarily on the period of the early Republic up to the end of the Jacksonian era).

We are amongst only a handful of non-American universities who are able to offer access to the Digital National Security Archive:arguably the most extensive set of declassified records available on US foreign policy formation since 1945. These holdings include over 63,000 primary documents relating to American foreign and military policy. 30 document collections cover countries such as Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Nicaragua, the Philippines, South Africa, the Soviet Union and Vietnam, and themes including terrorism, espionage, intelligence, weapons of mass destruction, the military use of space, nuclear arms, non-proliferation, national security, and the telephone conversations of Henry Kissinger.

Histories of race, gender, ethnicity and empire

Our library resources on racial and imperial politics in the Americas includes primary materials dating from the origins of slavery to the end of the civil rights era and beyond. Microform holdings on abolition and emancipation from the Huntington Library include papers of Thomas Clarkson, William Lloyd Garrison, Zachary Macaulay, Harriet Martineau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and William Wilberforce. We hold microfilms of important reports and papers of the Anti-Slavery Society 1880-1979 and a considerable collection of material on microfilm and in electronic databases relating to Native Americans in the early United States. African American newspapers address the history of black life after slavery (in particular, The Crisis and The Chicago Defender) and other newspapers focus on Southern society in the twentieth century (The Atlanta Constitution and Atlanta Daily World). We also have Chadwyck-Healey’s database on African American Poetry, containing nearly 3,000 poems by African American poets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A recent acquisition is the microform of the Anglican Church Missionary Society's papers about their Mission to the Americas papers which relate to West Indies 1819-1861

These materials on racial politics align with further collections on the history of European imperialism and colonialism. Alongside extensive holdings on the history of British politics and imperialism, we have over 60,000 images of original manuscripts and printed material from library around the world dating back to Columbus’ voyage to the New World from Empire Online. This collection’s five sections cover:

  • Cultural Contacts, 1492-1969
  • Literature and Empire
  • The Visible Empire
  • Religion and Empire
  • Race, Class, Imperialism and Colonialism, c.1607-2007