Hathi Trust is the major free repository consolidating Google Books, archive.org, Making of America, and other sites; it’s searchable and has additional features for member institutions.
Common-Place is an online journal sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society; it features excellent articles on American history and culture.
- Voices from the Gaps: Women Writers of Color. This site includes biographical information and bibliographies on contemporary writers, but some nineteenth-century subjects are covered as well.
- The Poetess Archive (from 2015).
- Civil War Women (blog) includes biographical sketches of women of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
- Crossroads: An American Literature Hypertext Site at the University of Virginia. Recently redesigned, this well-established site contains information about and texts by Henry Adams, Charles Brockden Brown, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Harriet Wilson, among others.
- American Studies Links. Richard Horwitz, Professor of American Studies at the University of Iowa, has compiled this cross-disciplinary list of recommended links in an easy-to-use tabbed format.
General Literature Sites
Victorian Web. George Landow, one of the foremost authorities on literary hypertext, created this rich site. See also the many links at the Victoria Research Web, a site associated with the VICTORIA discussion list.
Voice of the Shuttle. One of the first such sites on the Web, Alan Liu’s comprehensive site covers literary theory as well as various periods of literature. The appearance of the site has recently been updated, and a search feature has been added.
Modern American Poetry. This companion site to Anthology of Modern American Poetry, edited by Cary Nelson, includes biographies, links, and excerpts from literary criticism on the poets.
Museum of American Poetics. This site focuses primarily on modern poetry and includes links to poetry sites as well as RealVideo presentations by and about contemporary authors.
Literary History. This easy-to-navigate site maintains a collection of annotated links on 19th-century British and 20th century British and American writers.
Literary Criticism on the Web from the Internet Public Library. This site features links to selected online criticism of major authors in American and British literature. Note: Links to Northernlight.com will not work.
Guide to Special Collections (Columbia University). This site contains links to archives and special collections (many searchable online) across the country.
$ Literary Encyclopedia. This resource provides the first 600 words of an article for free; users must pay to see the rest. It includes biographical essays written by literature scholars; it also has a feature that permits visitors to create a timeline.
The Aurora Project is a digital visualization of data showing the mobility of African Americans during Reconstruction and later years
The NINES Project is a peer-reviewed site that uses special software (Collex) to enhance the usability of current literary digitization projects on the web. It also sponsors annual workshops on creating these projects (Application deadline: October 15.)
Note: Because of copyright restrictions, only works published prior to 1923 and those made available by the copyright holder are available for free online. Before you pay to read something published before 1923, such as the e-books available at Amazon.com, alibris.com and other sites, check these sites for links to the free versions of the texts. In most cases, the only pre-1923 books offered for sale are those also offered without charge by Project Gutenberg or other sites.
Google Books. This site has full versions in .pdf format of a lot of out-of-copyright books; it’s a great resource. To find the complete version and not the snippet version, use Advanced Search. Note: for-profit print-on-demand publishers have locked up some of these these out-of-copyright books so that Google can’t provide a full view. If you can’t find them at Google Books, try archive.org or Project Gutenberg.
Archive.org. This site has books as well as sound and film media, including some that are not available at Google Books.
On-Line Books Page at the University of Pennsylvania. This searchable index includes books not located at the site as well.
A Celebration of Women Writers. Mary Mark Ockerbloom’s comprehensive site includes links to texts, pictures, and bibliographies for American women writers as well as authors from many other countries.
Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg has been putting texts online in plain text or zipped form for several years. The site includes a searchable index. The Project Gutenberg site now also has an RSS feed (for Bloglines or other rss feed readers) so that you can see what texts have been added.
Project Bartleby Archive. This searchable archive of online texts at Columbia University includes reference books on American literature.
The University of California Press has made some of its scholarly books available online (free).
The Open Library project reproduces the page images of the edition and allows viewers to “turn the pages” just as they would with a regular book. Among the books included are some by Stephen Crane, Henry James, James Fenimore Cooper, and Gertrude Atherton.
Wright American Fiction, 1851-1875.This searchable site features works 1752 texts by 842 authors; its object is to include every novel published from 1851-1875 in the United States. Some familiar works are included, but many are rare or otherwise unobtainable online.
Documenting the American South: Beginnings to 1920. This site at the University of North Carolina has many texts, including Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman.
Perseus Project. Although this site’s principal focus is ancient and Renaissance literature, the Perseus Project at Tufts University has a significant collection of California and Midwestern online texts.
The American Verse Project at the University of Michigan. Includes works by lesser-known authors such as John Hay and Lydia Sigourney.
The Internet Public Library Online Texts Collection. Links, information, and timelines about literature for librarians and students of literature.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture includes online versions of texts by African American women writers.
Nineteenth-Century Periodicals and Primary Sources
Cornell University’s Making of America site is an extensive, searchable collection of major periodicals of the nineteenth century. The full collection lists 114 books and 24 periodicals, including Harper’s, The Atlantic, Scribner’s, and many other important journals. Files are now available in several formats: page images, .pdf (Adobe Acrobat), and uncorrected plain text.
Making of America: American Social History Documents at the University of Michigan. This site also contains links to nineteenth-century periodicals such as Appleton’s, The Southern Literary Messenger, and The Overland Monthly. Note: Files at this site are graphics files rather than text or HTML.
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. This new site from the Library of Congress provides a searchable database of page images from selected American newspapers from 1900-1910 and information about other newspapers not online.
The New York Public Library, which has the Schomburg Collection of nineteenth-century African American women writers, has just made a number of other digital collections of images available online; it is especially rich in text and images about New York, maps, the performing arts, and African American history.
The FictionMags index provides tables of contents for popular periodicals of the twentieth century such as The Saturday Evening Post; it is cross-indexed by author and periodical. Although it focuses on genre fiction (science fiction and mysteries, primarily), it provides useful information on other types as well.
The Women Working, 1870-1930 archive (Open Collections Program) at Harvard University includes “[d]igitized historical, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard University’s library and museum collections that explore women’s roles in the US economy between the Civil War and the Great Depression.” The site provides free, searchable access to the collection’s “2,396 books and pamphlets, 1,075 photographs, and 5,000 pages from manuscript collections.”
Godey’s Lady’s Book. Selected issues of an important nineteenth-century periodical; includes illustrations. Note: $ Accessible Archives has the full run of this periodical, but it costs $60 a year for individual subscribers.
Internet Library of Early Journals.This site at Oxford includes a search feature and online versions of important British periodicals including Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Gentleman’s Magazine, Notes and Queries, and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.
The Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland contains online versions of primary sources such as proclamations, letters from slaves, court testimony, and other documents from the National Archives as well as essays on the period 1861-1867.
$ HarpWeek. Although most of this collection of Harper’s Weekly magazines is not available to anyone but institutional subscribers, it does contain a few free sites, including the following: Immigrant and Ethnic America, The American West, Black America: 1857-1874, The World of Thomas Nast, and American Political Prints.
The Research Society for American Periodicals (RSAP) maintains an excellent collection of links for study in the field.
Copyright finder. The WATCH File for Artists, Writers and Their Copyright Holder is an excellent resource for finding out who holds the copyright on works by U.S. and U.K. authors.
The Library of America is a nonprofit organization devoted to publishing authoritative editions of American authors. Its site includes information not only about its products but also about the authors whose works it publishes.
The American Memory Home Page at the Library of Congress. This popular site is rich in various kinds of content; it includes exhibitions, photographs, movies,and soundfiles.
National Endowment for the Humanities. This site provides links to and information about what the NEH considers to be the best literature sites on the web for K-12 educators and students, including American literature sites.
The Scout Report.A well-respected weekly online publication from the University of Wisconsin, the Scout Report selects and reviews sites of interest to researchers.
History Matters. Primarily designed for teachers of U. S. history, this site at George Mason University also reviews links to many sites dealing with American cultural history and has a search feature.
Reference and Map Sites
- Silva Rhetoricae.. This site provides a guide to classical rhetorical terms, including definitions and examples.
- Currency Values. This site will convert the value of money in earlier centuries into the approximate value today. http://www.ex.ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/current/howmuch.html
- Authors’ Pseudonyms. This site lists 11,500 real names and pseudonyms.
- Literary map of New York City. This interactive map from the New York Times includes quotations and pictures of writers.