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The Overland Trails and Western Migration

This guide concentrates on the history of western migration in North America with particular emphasis on the Overland Trails

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.

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.

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

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

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library.  A rapidly growing collection of documents, photographs, sound recordings, motion pictures and maps. Some of the collections now available are: Pioneering Women; African American Perspectives; California Gold; Civil War Photographs; America in the Great Depression; and many others in the Library of Congress.

American Notes: Travels in America, 1750-1920( American Memory Collection): American Notes: Travels in America, 1750-1920 comprises 253 published narratives by Americans and foreign visitors recounting their travels in the colonies and the United States and their observations and opinions about American peoples, places, and society from about 1750 to 1920. Also included is the thirty-two-volume set of manuscript sources entitled Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, published between 1904 and 1907

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.

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930: Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930, is a web-based collection of historical materials from Harvard's libraries, archives, and museums that documents voluntary immigration to the United States from the signing of the Constitution to the onset of the Great Depression.   Concentrating heavily on the 19th century, this website includes over 400,000 pages from more than 2,200 books, pamphlets, and serials, over 9,600 pages from manuscript and archival collections, and more than 7,800 photographs.

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.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) The National Archives web site includes descriptions of NARA facilities; copies of publications such as finding aids; and some Federal records regulations. The agency is working to improve access to the contents of the archives and this site should become increasingly valuable.

Perry-Casteneda Library Map Collection: Historical Maps of the United States. The categories used by the University of Texas map library are early inhabitants, exploration and settlement, U.S. territorial growth, later historical periods, military history, historical maps of Texas and U.S. cities, and national historic sites. There is a link to other map sites.

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..."

Yahoo - U. S. History - 19th Century - American West The first place to start for a search of Internet sites for U. S. History. Particularly useful for tracking down sites with primary sources. Its hierarchical arrangement is as close to a library as one gets on the web.

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