Resources Relating to Library Company Collections

General Resources

For all topics, check the extensive database GoogleBooks.

For a growing number of the Library Company’s manuscript collections, online finding aids are located through PACSCL.

For the manuscripts of John A. McAllister, twenty-nine online finding aids are available.

Access to JSTOR is available for onsite staff and researchers.

African American History
  • Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia
    The digital edition of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia will feature more than 12,000 searchable books, pamphlets, and broadsides, including many lesser-known imprints. Subjects covered include the discovery and exploitation of Africa by the West; the rise of slavery in the New World along with the growth and success of abolitionist movements; the development of racial thought and racism; descriptions of African American life—slave and free—throughout the Americas; and slavery and race in fiction and drama. Also featured are printed works of African American individuals and organizations. Click here to view
    (Password required; available to readers on site.)
  • The Education of African Americans in Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia
    by John C. Van Horne
    Click Here for PDF
  •  American Engravings to 1820, Catalog of American Engravings
    American Antiquarian Society project containing descriptive records for American engravings issued as separate publications or as illustrations in books and periodicals from the early eighteenth century through the year 1820. Included are portraits, views, political cartoons, and illustrations covering many subjects and genres. Excluded are maps and ephemera, such as bookplates, billheads, trade cards, and currency. Click here for catalog

American History
  • Early American Newspapers, Pennsylvania
    (Password required; available to readers on site.)
    The Early American Newspapers database provides wide-ranging coverage of historical newspapers from Pennsylvania. Full text searching with digital images for newspapers spanning from the 18th through 20th centuries. Early American Newspapers
  • Evans Digital Edition, 1639-1800
    (Password required; available to readers on site.)
    Early American Imprints. Full text searching and digital images of printed works published in America before 1800 described in the American Bibliography by Charles Evans and Roger Bristol’s Supplement to Evans’ American Bibliography. Includes works documenting every aspect of life in 17th- and 18th-century America including history, literature, philosophy, religion, agriculture, foreign affairs, diplomacy, music, the Revolutionary War, temperance, and witchcraft among others.
    Evans Digital Edition
  • Digital Shaw-Shoemaker
    (Password required; available to readers on site.)
    The Digital Shaw-Shoemaker database provides a comprehensive set of American books, pamphlets, and broadsides published in the early part of the 19th century. It is based on the noted American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819, compiled by Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker.
    Digital Shaw-Shoemaker
  • The Pennsylvania Archives
    The Pennsylvania State Archives published 10 series of historical records in 138 volumes.  They cover the initial colonial settlement through the nineteenth century, including military, tax, marriage, church, government, and land records. Full text searching with digital images.
    The Pennsylvania Archives
American Music
  • American song sheets, slip ballads, and poetical broadsides
    A digitized version of Edwin Wolf’s catalog, American song sheets, slip ballads, and poetical broadsides, 1850-1870 : a catalogue of the collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia.Philadelphia: Library Company, 1963, which lists the Library’s collection of song sheets (i.e. lyrics without music) including a large number related to the Civil War.
    American Song Sheets
American Periodicals
  • Accessible Archives
    (Password required; available to readers on site.)
    Selected 18th & 19th Century American Periodicals and Newspapers. Full text searching and digital images of The Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1800; Godey`s Lady`s Book, 1830-1880; a selection of mid-19th century African American newspapers; Civil War era newspapers, 1860-1865; and county histories for counties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania published before 1900. Also includes two newspaper indexes containing excerpts from Pennsylvania newspapers published in Chester County, 1809-1870 and in Delaware County, 1819-1870. Accessible Archives
  • RSAP
    RSAP, the Research Society for American Periodicals is an interdisciplinary organization of scholars interested in American magazines and newspapers. It publishes the journal American Periodicals, sponsors panels at the annual meeting of the American Literature Association, and has a free moderated discussion list, which you may join at their website. RSAP’s resource page lists numerous sites relating to American periodicals, including many full text reproductions. Research Society for American Periodicals
The Americas
  • Early Canadiana Online
    Early Canadiana Online (ECO) is a digital library providing access to over 1,330,000 pages of Canada’s printed heritage. It features works published from the time of the first European settlers up to the early 20th Century. Includes colonial, federal, and provincial government publications and materials concerning Hudson’s Bay Company and Jesuit Relations. Early Canadiana Online
  • Early Americas Digital Archive (EADA)
    Early Americas Digital Archive (EADA), a collection of electronic texts written in or about the Americas from 1492 to approximately 1820. EADA is driven by an XML database that allows robust searching, either by keyword (such as author, title, period, geographical region, genre, etc.) or full text. The Archive also features a collection of links to early American texts on the Internet. EADA is freely available to the public for research and teaching purposes. It has been created by the staff of MITH under the directorship of Prof. Ralph Bauer as a long-term inter-disciplinary project committed to exploring the intersections between traditional humanities research and digital technologies. EADA invites scholars from all disciplines, including graduate students, to submit their editions of early American texts for publication on its site. Early Americas Digital Archive
Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER)
    These government surveys document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States and its territories. Site includes digitized images of measured drawings, black-and-white photographs, color transparencies, photo captions, data pages including written histories, and supplemental materials compiled by the surveyors. Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering Record
  • Philadelphia Architects and Buildings
    Historical data, digital images, and links to resources documenting buildings and structures within the city of Philadelphia or designed by Philadelphia architects. Philadelphia Architects and Buildings
  • Places in Time: Historical Documentation of Place in Greater Philadelphia
    Digital images and other resources useful for pursuing historical information about place in the five-county Philadelphia area: Bucks, Chester, Delaware. Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Password required; available to readers on site. Places in Time
Civil War History
  • Alexander Street Press: Images of the American Civil War: Photographs, Posters, and Ephemera
    (Available to readers on site)
    This database provides a visual history of the Civil War with dramatic images of camp and battle experiences of Union and Confederate soldiers of all ranks, time spent in hospitals and in prisons, the home front and civilian life, and politics. Many of the images in the collection were captured by famous and lesser-known photographers. Additionally, graphical content such as envelopes, song sheets, recruiting posters, imprints, and cartoons give users the ability to research how Americans illustrated their times. All images are organized around key broad subject areas, and each image contains a short contextual note and is indexed by fields, such as photographer, year, and setting. The database currently holds over 12,200 images but will contain 50,000 images when the project is completed. Alexander Street Press: Images of the American Civil War: Photographs, Posters, and Ephemera
  • Pennsylvania Civil War Era Newspapers
    The Pennsylvania Civil War Era Newspapers database contains all the words and images from selected newspapers published during the pivotal years before, during, and after the U.S. Civil War. Newspapers helped mobilize public opinion for, or against, the war, relayed battlefield developments to their readers, and documented political life on the homefront.  Beyond military or political concerns there is much on cultural topics including travel, arts and leisure, sports and contests, and local social events. The Pennsylvania Civil War Era Newspapers
  • The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War
    The Valley of the Shadow is a digital archive of primary sources that document the lives of people in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, during the era of the American Civil War. Here you may explore thousands of original documents that allow you to see what life was like during the Civil War for the men and women of Augusta and Franklin. The Valley of the Shadow
Colonial Virginia
  • Colonial Williamsburg Digital Library
    Formerly known as Past Portal, the digital library is a project created by the Colonial Williamsburg’s John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library. Visitors to the site can search and view digitized versions of rare books and manuscripts from the foundation’s collections, a selection of reports on the buildings and people of 18th century Williamsburg, and the complete run of the Virginia Gazette. Colonial Williamsburg Digital Library
  • The Annuity Museum
    Founded in 2004, the Annuity Museum has assembled the finest collections of antique documents and artifacts about annuities in the world. The mission of the museum is threefold: to preserve and display the rich cultural and economic impact of annuities on society; to foster scholarly research and encourage the study of annuities as a source of history about the cultures in which they evolved; and to assist museums and schools with exhibitions and publications about annuities. The museum allows visitors to learn about the history of annuities from their earliest origins in ancient Rome through the middle of the 20th century. The Annuity Museum
  • Global Commodities: Trade, Exploration and Cultural Exchange
    (Available to readers on site)
    Global Commodities explores the history of a number of key commodities that changed the world. The commodities featured in this resource have been transported, exchanged, and consumed around the world for hundreds of years. They helped transform societies, global trading operations, habits of consumption and social practices. This resource includes a wide range of manuscript, printed and visual primary-source materials, as well as other key features to support research and teaching. The site includes a fully searchable interactive chronology, maps, and digital images of photographs, artworks, advertising materials, and ephemera. Users also have the ability to explore commodity prices across time and space using the unique data visualization. Global Commodities: Trade, Exploration and Cultural Exchange
Benjamin Franklin
  • Benjamin Franklin Papers
    Collection of Benjamin Franklin’s (1706-1790) papers and correspondence. Approximately 30,000 extant papers. Provides access in three modes: by volume and page number in the Yale edition (46 volumes, plus autobiography), by the name of the person with whom Franklin was corresponding, and by keywords and phrases. Franklin Papers
  • Popular Medicine in America
    (Available to readers on site)
    This database shows the development of popular medicine in America during the nineteenth century, through material that was aimed at the general public rather than medical professionals. The collection contains an array of printed sources, including rare books, pamphlets, trade cards, posters, and advertising ephemera. Covered are key themes such as: botanic medicine, the health of women and children, homeopathy, phrenology, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, sexual health, herbal medicine, and the rise of advertising by commercial manufacturers of medical aids. These primary sources were drawn from the collections at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Popular Medicine in America
Nineteenth-Century Books & Journals
  • Making of America (MoA)
    Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The collection currently (as of 11/1/03) contains approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints. Making of America
  • Wright American Fiction, 1851-1875
    Nineteenth-Century American Fiction. Full text searching and digital images of works listed in Lyle Wright’s bibliography American Fiction, 1851-1875. Includes nearly 3,000 works of adult fiction, including “novels, novelettes, romances, short stories, tall tales, tract-like tales, allegories, and fictitious biographies and travels, in prose.” Wright American Fiction, 1851-1875
Ohio Imprints
  • Morgan Bibliography of Ohio Imprints, 1796-1850
    The Morgan Bibliography of Ohio Imprints contains bibliographic entries for over 10,000 books, pamphlets, and broadsides printed in Ohio from 1796 to 1850. Morgan Bibliography of Ohio Imprints, 1796-1850
Philadelphia History
  • Watson’s Annals
    Provides full text of John F. Watson’s A Collection of Memoirs, Anecdotes, and Incidents of the City and its Inhabitants and of the Earliest Settlements of the Inland Part of Pennsylvania from the Days of the Founders: Intended to Preserve the Recollections of Olden Time, and to Exhibit Society in its Changes of Manners and Customs, and the City and Country in their Local Changes and Improvements (Philadelphia, 1857). Watson’s Annals
Political Cartoons
  • The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record
    A collection of hundreds of images related to slavery, from Africa to the Colonies to Emancipation. Images are culled from primary and secondary sources, contain bibliographic citations, and are searchable by category or keyword. The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record
  • Samuel J. May Antislavery Collection
    Cornell Library’s May Anti-Slavery Collection, including over 10,000 pamphlets and ephemera, is available as a searchable database. Samuel J. May Antislavery Collection
  • Slavery and Abolition in the US: Select Publications of the 1800s
    More than 15,000 digitized pages and keyword-searchable transcriptions of printed texts in the Millersville University Library and the Dickinson College Library. The imprints reflect arguments on both sides of the slavery debate, and include first person narratives, legal proceedings and decisions, anti-slavery tracts, religious sermons, and early secondary works. Slavery and Abolition in the US: Select Publications of the 1800s
Visual Literacy
  • Library of Congress – Teaching with Primary Sources: 2016 Photo Resource Guide
    The University of the Arts with the cooperation and support of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources initiative collaborated with the Library Company of Philadelphia to produce a guide encouraging teachers to utilize photographs as primary documents in their classrooms. Using photographs from the collections of the Library of Congress and the Library Company, Look Back. See Further provides strategies to enhance visual literacy and to promote better critical thinking and analysis skills. Library of Congress – Teaching with Primary Sources: 2016 Photo Resource Guide