Digital Resources

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The RIAS offers digital access to primary documents on US history, listed here in chronological order of coverage. These can  be accessed on-site in the RIAS library in Middelburg.

Slavery and the Law: Petitions to Southern County Courts

This collection features petitions on race, slavery, and free blacks that were submitted to state legislatures and county courthouses between 1775 and 1867. These petitions were collected by Loren Schweninger over a four year period from hundreds of courthouses and historical societies in 10 states and the District of Columbia. The petitions document the realities of slavery at the most immediate local level and with amazing candor. Slavery and the Law also includes theimportant State Slavery Statutes collection, a comprehensive record of the laws governing American slavery from 1789-1865.

Link to collection (only accessible in the RIAS library)

The New York Times

This database of the New York Times (1851-2010) consists of digital reproductions of every page from every issue, with the ability to search for specific articles using keywords and dates. The simplicity of the system makes it user-friendly and an ideal tool for discovering how major events were presented at their time of occurrence. All selected materials can then be printed out, saved to a file, or sent by email.

Link to collection (only accessible in the RIAS library)

The Struggle for Women’s Rights, 1880-1990: Organizational Records of the National Woman’s Party/ Papers of the League of Women Voters/ Women’s Action Alliance

As the movement for women’s suffrage in America was accelerating, the National Woman’s Party (NWP) brought to the campaign a new militancy and daring. Originally a committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the NWP was founded in 1913 when Alice Paul and her colleagues broke away from NAWSA in dissent over strategy and tactics.

After the suffrage victory in 1920, the NWP turned its energy towards winning an equal rights amendment to the Constitution. Long before the ERA became a goal of the women’s movement mainstream, the party was clearly in the vanguard of evolving attitudes about women’s place in society

Link to collection (only accessible in the RIAS library)

World War I: Records of the American Expeditionary Forces, and Diplomacy in WWI Era

This collection offers extensive documentation on the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) during World War I as well as materials on U.S. intelligence operations and the post-war peace process. AEF documents consist of correspondence, cablegrams, operations reports, statistical strength reports and summaries of intelligence detailing troop movements and operations of Allied and enemy forces. The vast majority of the AEF documents date from April 26, 1917 - July 2, 1919.

Other notable collections include Select Reports of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace and Reparations Papers of the Allied Powers Reparations Commission, and Records of the Conference on Limitation of Armament, 1921-1922. Finally, this module includes an important collection on diplomacy and the intelligence work of the U.S. State Department during World War I and in the decade after: State Department Collection of Intelligence, 1915-1927: Records of the Office of the Counselor, Undersecretary of State, and the Chief Special Agent.

Link to collection (only accessible in the RIAS library)

NAACP Papers: The NAACP’s Major Campaigns

This selection from the NAACP papers focuses on the NAACP’s efforts regarding anti-lynching, peonage, and discrimination in employment and the criminal justice system. A rich set of records in this module is the NAACP file on one of the most celebrated criminal trials of the 20th century – the case of the Scottsboro boys. In this case, nine young black men were accused of raping two white women on a train in northern Alabama. Sixteen days after their arrest, eight of the nine teenagers were sentenced to death in the electric chair. All eight escaped execution when the Supreme Court, in the landmark case of Powell v. Alabama, ruled that the defendants had been inadequately represented by counsel.

Link to collection (only accessible in the RIAS library)

Students for a Democratic Society, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement

This collection offers new opportunities for research on the 1960s through the lens of two influential anti-war organizations. In its heyday, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) emphasized participatory democracy, community building, and creating a political movement of impoverished people. As U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War escalated, SDS became involved in the anti-war movement, before splintering and disbanding by 1970. Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) organized major national protests, including Operation Dewey Canyon III (1971), which catapulted VVAW to a position of leadership within the antiwar movement. Following Dewey Canyon, an ideological split led to a decline in membership; however, VVAW survived to the end of the Vietnam War by focusing on veterans' benefits and, after 1987, on the Agent Orange health issue. In addition to the SDS and VVAW collections, this module contains documents of 10 other anti-Vietnam War organizations.

Link to collection (only accessible in the RIAS library)

Declassified Documents Reference System

The Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS) provides online access to more than 500,000 pages of previously classified government documents. Covering major international events from the Cold War to the Vietnam War and beyond, this single source enables users to locate key information underpinning studies in international relations, American studies, United States foreign and domestic policy studies, journalism and more. The DDRS is constantly being updated as new material is released by government agencies, the National Archives, and Presidential Libraries.

Link to collection (only accessible in the RIAS library)