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The American West

The history, culture and politics of the American West

Primary Sources on Arizona, California and the Southwest


American County Histories: Southwestern States:  The Southwest States collection of databases, expands the American County Histories series with the addition of five states: Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Published primarily between 1870 and 1923, county histories are a cornerstone of local historical and genealogical research. Of Arizona’s counties four (Mohave, Pima, Yavapai and Yuma) were created in 1864 following the organization of the Arizona Territory in 1862. All but La Paz County were created by the time Arizona was granted statehood in 1912.

Arizona Archives Online  Arizona Archives Online was created as a joint project between Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona. The initial goal is to make finding aids for archival collections at each university accessible and searchable through a single web site. Finding aids from other archival repositories in Arizona will be added in the future, so that eventually researchers can view and search finding aids for nearly all of the archival collections located in Arizona.

Arizona Index  An index begun in 1951 to journal articles and periodical literature about Arizona produced by the University of Arizona Library.

Arizona Memory Project  The Arizona Memory Project is an online effort to provide access to the wealth of primary sources in Arizona libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions. This initiative provides the opportunity to view some of the best examples of government documents, photographs, maps, and objects that chronicle Arizona's past and present.

Arizona Sanborn Maps: Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970 providing digital access to Sanborn Insurance maps of towns and cities in Arizona.

ASU History Subject Guide  Basic tools for finding ASU history materials

Calisphere  More than 150,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations across California.

Colorado Plateau: Canyons, cultures and environmental change "This website provides an introduction to the environmental history of the Colorado Plateau. It summarizes a vast body of research from multiple disciplines"

Early California Population Project The Early California Population Project (ECPP) provides public access to all the information contained in California's historic mission registers, records that are of unique and vital importance to the study of California, the American Southwest, and colonial America. Within the baptism, marriage, and burial records of each of the California missions is information on the Indians, soldiers, and settlers of Alta California from 1769 - 1850.

Hayden Arizona Pioneer Biographies  (1800s) Selected Pioneer Biographies written or compiled by Senator Carl Hayden. Includes data for names listed for the current geographic area of Arizona in the 1860, 1864 & 1870 U.S. Censuses for the Arizona/New Mexico & Arizona territories.

Hayden Papers Database  This database enables fielded text searching of an electronic finding aid to the Senator Carl T. Hayden Papers, which are physically located in the Arizona Collection, Hayden Library, Arizona State University. Senator Hayden's papers comprise 815 boxes of archival materials produced between 1851 and 1979.

Online Archive of California. An excellent site that provides access to several important California collections covering among other topics the Free Speech Movement, Japanese-American Relocation, and California oral histories.

The Palace of the Governors Photo Archives: The Palace of the Governors Photo Archives contains an estimated 1,000,000 items including historic photographic prints, cased photographs, glass plate negatives, film negatives, stereographs, photo postcards, panoramas, color transparencies, and lantern slides. This important collection includes material of regional and national significance, dating from approximately 1850 to the present, covering subject matter that focuses on: the history and people of New Mexico and the expansion of the West

ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Arizona Republican, 1890 - 1922 Los Angeles Times 1881 - 1985

Regional Oral History Office - UC-Berkeley  As a division of The Bancroft Library, the Regional Oral History Office preserves the history of the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and the Western United States. By conducting carefully researched, tape-recorded, and transcribed interviews, ROHO creates archival oral histories intended for the widest possible use.

Video Histories of Arizona Jewish Residents: “The collection of Video Histories of Arizona Jewish Residents consists of short video interviews of notable Jewish residents in the Greater Phoenix area. Important subjects such as Anti-semitism, family life, business, religion, and the vitality of the Phoenix Jewish community are discussed in the interviews. Subjects share memories which span from Arizona's admittance to the Union up until the collection's creation in 2008-2009. This collection was produced by the Arizona Jewish Historical Society with funding from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix. Additional funds were provided by the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. Contributed by Arizona Jewish Historical Society.”


Primary Sources on the WWW

Primary Source Sites on the Internet

The American West

Archives & Primary Sources - General

Alaska's Digital Archives:  Alaska's Digital Archives presents a wealth of historical photographs, albums, oral histories, moving images, maps, documents, physical objects, and other materials from libraries, museums and archives throughout the state.

American West  Based on sources from the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana at the Newberry Library, Chicago, a unique resource widely regarded as one of the finest collections of Western Americana in existence, this collection includes a mixture of original manuscripts, maps, ephemeral material and rare printed sources.

American Westward Migration  From the Marriott Library Collections, University of Utah.  Diaries, maps and trails of Mormon pioneers and their westward migration in the 1850s. Diaries include Joseph C. Kingsbury, George A. Thomas, John B. Fairbanks, Joseph A. Young, and Lucia Lamb Everett.

Archives of The West: The resources page from the website "New Perspectives on The West". This site is an outgrowth of the Ken Burns' PBS special, The West.

Colorado Plateau: Canyons, cultures and environmental change "This website provides an introduction to the environmental history of the Colorado Plateau. It summarizes a vast body of research from multiple disciplines"

Mountain Men and the Fur Trade: "These documents are accounts of the Rocky Mountain fur trade during the first half of the 19th century. Most of these are either primary or secondary historical sources, and have been transcribed from printed or manuscript form."

Mountain West Digital Library  The Mountain West Digital Library is a central search portal for digital collections about the Mountain West region providing free access to 300,000 resources in over 350 collections from universities, colleges, public libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies in Utah, Nevada, and other parts of the U.S. West.

Portal to Texas History    The Portal is a gateway to Texas history materials.   From prehistory to the present day, you can explore unique collections from Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, genealogical societies, and private family collections.

Trails of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letters, 1846 - 1869 Builds upon the overland trail diaries and letters found in the rich collections of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Lee Library, Brigham Young University; Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah; and Special Collections, Merrill Library, Utah State University. The years 1846-1869 are significant, representing the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads at Promontory Point, Utah, and the ending of the overland pioneer era.

Trails to Utah and the Pacific: Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869 Trails to Utah and the Pacific: Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869 incorporates 49 diaries, in 59 volumes, of pioneers  trekking westward across America to Utah, Montana, and the Pacific between 1847 and the meeting of  the rails in 1869.   The source materials are  drawn from the collections of Brigham Young University, members of  the Utah Academic Libraries Consortium, and other archival institutions in  Utah, Nevada, and Idaho.

WestWeb: "WestWeb is a topically-organized website about the study of the American West..."




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