Great History Websites


SAFE Tours

Guided by journalists, art historians, archaeologists and museum specialists, SAFE tours provide an “insider's look” at museum collections. These tours are conducted in intimate groups, with up to six people at a time. We also customize tours to suit participants' specific interests. Tours last about an hour-and-a-half.

SAFE Tours are $30 per person, plus group admission to the museums. All SAFE members enjoy 20% off for all tours, Donors receive one complimentary SAFE Tour per year.

The Lost Museum

In 1841 the showman Phineas Taylor Barnum opened his American Museum in NewYork City. Dominating lower Broadway at Park Row, in no time Barnum'sAmerican Museum became the"most visited place in America."

For more than twenty years, for six days a week, fifteen hours a day, city slickers and country folk alike flocked to the five-story building to marvel at and mock its myriad of changing attractions.A cornucopia of exhibitions offered visitors, in no particular order, information and entertainment, scientific knowledge and trumped-up fantasy, moral lessons and cruel voyeurism, the sacred and the profane.

Shortly after twelve noon on Thursday, July 13, 1865, in one of the most spectacular fires in New York's history, Barnum's American Museum was destroyed.

Dreaming of Freedom: The Intellectual Journey of Dr. John Hope Franklin

As Duke University celebrates the 90th birthday of Dr. John Hope Franklin, Perkins library is proud to host an online and physical exhibit celebrating Dr. Franklin’s intellectual and professional journey. The exhibit includes photographs, correspondence, and other materials included in the papers of John Hope Franklin, which will be open to the public beginning February 2005. The exhibit highlights Dr. Franklin’s passage from Rentiesville, Oklahoma, to Fisk University, and through the halls of academia and public service.

Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century

Librarian Matthew White is behind this website, which features an astonishing array of demographic and political data in the form of a series of detailed and colorful maps.

HNN's Jonathan Dresner reports that the site has"some interesting alternate histories, as well, including the 'what if all the separtists won?' map, the 'what if Australia had been colonized by Muslims like Indonesia?' map, and the '20c Middle Earth' map (including the Hobbits' Autonomous Socialist Republic of the Shire)."

Experience Acceleration Support Environment

Welcome to EASE History, an Experience Acceleration Support Environment that supports historical understanding and brainstorming.

EASE History Campaign Ads is an interactive learning environment where presidential campaign ads are entry points to learn about campaign issues and their historical context, as well as the persuasive techniques and strategies that are part of political campaigns.

More generally, the environment can be used to learn about history, from a beginner or a more advanced perspective, using video clips of historical events.

Myths Textbooks Pass Along

Rate Your Textbook (From the homepage of Ray Raphael)

Real people, not paper heroes, make history. That’s why people’s history is so important — but the process of myth-making, masquerading as history, has kept common people from assuming center stage.

How do you know your text is telling the truth?

I have examined a wide assortment of recent and widely used textbooks at the elementary, middle school, and secondary levels. Many were featured at the annual convention for the National Council for the Social Studies in November, 2002. The rest are currently approved for use in California, which has among the strictest selection criteria in the nation.

Click on the title of a textbook, and you will see a page-by-page breakdown of the “founding myths” it perpetuates. If your text is not featured here, and you would like to see it critiqued, please contact me. If you send me a copy, I will critique it, post the results on this webpage, and return your book.

Gulf of Tonkin

National Security Archive: The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, 40 Years Later ... Flawed Intelligence and the Decision for War in Vietnam

Forty years ago, President Johnson and top U.S. officials chose to believe that North Vietnam had just attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, even though the highly classified signals intercepts they cited to each other actually described a naval clash two days earlier (a battle prompted by covert U.S. attacks on North Vietnam), according to the declassified intercepts, Johnson White House tapes, and related documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Compiled by Archive senior fellow and Vietnam expert John Prados, today's 40th anniversary electronic briefing book includes Dr. Prados's detailed analysis of the intercepts - only declassified in 2003 - together with audio files and transcripts of the key Tonkin Gulf conversations between President Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. The latter are excerpted from Dr. Prados's book, The White House Tapes (New York: The New Press, 2003). The posting also contains photographs and charts from the Tonkin Gulf incident courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center, a detailed documentary chronology compiled by the State Department's Office of the Historian for the Foreign Relations of the United States series, a CIA Special National Intelligence Estimate on possible North Vietnamese responses to U.S. actions from May 1964 (just declassified in June 2004), and links to previous and upcoming Archive publications on Vietnam.

Sullivan/Clinton Campaign, 1779-2004

This year, NY State is commemorating the 225th Anniversary of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, one of the most significant and off-the-radar events in US history. Amidst the American Revolution, George Washington ordered 6200 men of the Army not merely to overrun, but to destroy" the lands of the Iroquois Six Nations. They did, and the Iroquois have never been the same. It was the largest operation ever before undertaken against the native peoples of North America, and the second largest such expedition in US history. The website changes weekly and closely ties hard-hitting period and contemporary texts and images, including photos, flash movies, and coming soon, an interactive map (in multiple scenes) of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign. It also has an artists page where world-class artists like Ousmane Sow and Peter Jemison have contributed their images. These are devoted to a world freed of the Sullivan-Clinton legacy.

Kansas History Online

Just in time for the sesquicentennial of Kansas Territory and the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition ... a dynamic new Web site focused on Kansas history. Called KansasHistoryOnline, and accessible at, the project was conceived and developed by many of the same people who created This Week In KU History, which went live in November 2002 and is located at As with This Week In KU History, KansasHistoryOnline combines scholarly methodology with magazine-style journalism to provide site visitors with highly readable content that reflects academic standards. KansasHistoryOnline is a project of the Hall Center for the Humanities and the Kansas State Historical Society.


George Washington University's National Security Archive, in partnership with Brown University's Watson Institute for International Affairs, generated worldwide headlines by gathering U.S., Russian and Cuban veterans of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis for two days of discussions in Havana on October 11-12, 2002, followed by a tour of the last surviving remnants of the missile emplacements on the island. Cuban President Fidel Castro hosted the 40th anniversary conference and participated fully in both days' deliberations. The conference featured extraordinary discussions and new revelations from archival documents from 10 countries -- including memoranda of conversation between Cuban and Soviet leaders, detailed information on Cuban-Soviet military ties, recently declassified U.S. intelligence analyses, and new information about nuclear dangers arising from the crisis that have been unknown until now.

ATOMIC SECRETS: This Letter Will Constitute Your Authority ... The Eisenhower 10

"You may recall that in late May, I wrote advising of the existence of classified letters from President Eisenhower to ten private citizens throughout the country giving them authority over various parts of the economy and total society in the event of a declaration of a national emergency..."— Excerpt from August 19, 1961 memorandum to National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy from Presidential Assistant Frederick G. Dutton

It is something of a tradition in Washington for staffers from a Presidential administration exiting office to leave a few surprises for the incoming administration of the opposing party. In 2001, for example, Democratic White House office workers removed the letter"W" from computer keyboards in an effort to annoy President-elect Bush's people.

Of course, the"W" prank sounds pretty innocuous when compared to the ten letters President Eisenhower issued to (mostly) private citizens in 1958 and 1959 granting them unprecedented power in the event of a"national emergency" (read: A-Bomb attack). What no doubt caught the eye of Mr. Dutton (as quoted above) is the fact that these extraordinary missives had no expiration dates on them. One can only imagine President Kennedy's reaction to this news in light of the fact that he was also dealing with other surprises left for him by those irrepressible Dulles brothers.


"Reacting to the Past," pioneered by Barnard College, consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned"roles" with"victory objectives" informed by classic texts in the history of ideas. Class sessions are run entirely by students; instructors advise and guide students and grade their oral and written work. Although a majority of the schools in the consortium conceive of Reacting as a first-year general education course, some fit it into the curriculum as an upper-level seminar. One reason why existing consortium members seek additional member institutions is to expand the pool of faculty specialists to collaborate in developing new games.

First offered at Barnard College in the fall of 1995, Reacting has undergone considerable development and expansion. This fall, over forty faculty from five colleges are offering"Reacting" classes, which normally consist of three"games" a semester. Existing games, most of which consist of several hundred pages of rules and advisories, include:"Democracy at the Threshold: Athens in 403 BC,""Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor, 1587 AD,""The Trial of Anne Hutchinson, 1637,""Rousseau, Burke and Revolution in France, 1791," and"Defining a Nation: Gandhi and India on the Eve of Independence, 1945."


The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency operates 60 state-owned historic sites and memorials, ranging from prehistoric Native American to the Vietnam War, that are visited by nearly three million people each year. We administer all state and federal historic preservation and incentive programs in Illinois, including the National Register of Historic Places. The Agency publishes several history-related magazines for everyone from scholars to school children. We coordinate the Illinois History Fair program and oversee research projects about the life of Abraham Lincoln. The Agency also administers the Illinois State Historical Library, the state’s chief historical and genealogical research facility that is home to the state’s world-renowned Abraham Lincoln collection. We hope you find this website helpful and informative, and invite you to visit our historic sites and take advantage of our programs. Illinois’ rich and diverse history awaits you!


Orville and Wilbur Wright's intimate relationship with the Outer Banks of eastern North Carolina is described in this exhibit through diaries by the Wrights and their friends, as well as through rare publications about the Kitty Hawk area and the Wrights experiences there. A cornerstone of the exhibit is the previously unpublished weather data from the former US weather bureau at Kitty Hawk and the historic lifesaving stations at Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills. Photographs in the exhibit include both cyanotype (blue and white) pictures taken by the New York Herald and newly discovered images taken by the Wrights that are enhanced by modern technology and accompanied by explanations of what they depict.

VENONA (National Security Agency)

In July 1995 the Intelligence Community ended a 50-year silence regarding one of cryptology's most splendid successes - the VENONA Project. VENONA was the codename used for the U.S. Signals Intelligence effort to collect and decrypt the text of Soviet KGB and GRU messages from the 1940's. These messages provided extraordinary insight into Soviet attempts to infiltrate the highest levels of the United States Goverment.

Today, we are proud to offer these exceptional documents on the NSA home page and we invite you to study and interpret them in the context of history. NSA has declassified over 3000 messages related to VENONA. We believe they will not only provide a window into Soviet espionage during the 1940's, but will also give you a glimpse of the important contributions signals intelligence and cryptographic expertise make to our nation's security.


Common-place is a common place for exploring and exchanging ideas about early American history and culture. A bit friendlier than a scholarly journal, a bit more scholarly than a popular magazine, Common-place speaks--and listens--to scholars, museum curators, teachers, hobbyists, and just about anyone interested in American history before 1900. Common-place is a common place for all sorts of people to read about all sorts of things relating to early American life--from architecture to literature, from politics to parlor manners. And it's a place to find insightful analysis of early American history as it is discussed not only in scholarly literature but also on the evening news; in museums, big and small; in documentary and dramatic films; and in popular culture.

Common-place also aims to be a place for elegant prose and worthy ideas. Not perhaps, as elegant and worthy as the snippets of prose early Americans liked to jot down in their own commonplace books but more elegant, we hope, than much purely scholarly writing, particularly the kind that comes chock full of jargon. And, unlike much popular writing about history, which tends to focus on great men and great events, Common-place embraces the commonplace, or ordinary, in American life. Our features, reviews, and columns track the lives of ordinary men and women, embracing new scholarship, teaching, and exhibits that explore all aspects of America's past and its many peoples.


University of Oregon Professor Ellen Herman has created the first web site on the history of child adoption in the United States. The Adoption History Project is a digital public history resource, profiling people, organizations, topics, and studies that shaped the theory and practice of modern American adoption. Hundreds of images and primary documents illustrate such topics as the orphan trains, infertility, sealed records, eugenics, baby farming, telling, and transracial, international, and special needs adoptions. Designed primarily for people with personal and professional ties to adoption, the site will also be of interest to high school and college teachers who cover child welfare, family life, public policy, and related issues in their history and social studies classes.

The Adoption History Project is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Center for History and New Media. Ellen Herman is the author of The Romance of American Psychology: Political Culture in the Age of Experts (University of California Press, 1995) and is currently completing a book, Kinship by Design, about the history of child adoption in the twentieth-century United States.


North American Women's Letters and Diaries (NWLD) includes the immediate experiences of 1,017 women, as revealed in approximately 120,000 pages of diaries and letters. Particular care has been taken to index this material so that it can be searched more thoroughly than ever before.

When complete, the collection will include more than 150,000 pages of primary materials spanning more than 300 years. Each source has been carefully chosen using leading bibliographies, supplemented by customer requests and previously unpublished material. The collection also includes biographies and an extensive annotated bibliography of the sources in the database.


The Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) was established 32 years ago. The original conception of MERIP was to provide information and analysis on the Middle East that would be picked up by the existing media. Issue number one of MERIP Reports, published in May 1971, was a six-page mimeographed publication with three brief articles. Throughout 1971 and 1972, the Report appeared irregularly, and it was only in 1973 that the group made a commitment to publish it on a regular basis. Since then, MERIP has never looked back and, in the words of French journalist Eric Rouleau, "No person, specializing or not in Middle Eastern affairs, can afford ignoring Middle East Report." Professor Rashid Khalidi, a leading American scholar, says "Middle East Report is the best periodical (in English) on the Middle East -- bar none."

MERIP is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Washington, DC. A completely independent organization, it has no links to any religious, educational or political organizations in the US or elsewhere. Income needed to produce the magazine is earned from subscriptions to Middle East Report, small grants from European and American foundations and gifts from readers and subscribers. By virtue of its tax status as a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization in the US, MERIP is exempt from the payment of income taxes to the US federal government. Individuals who donate money to MERIP can deduct these gifts from their federal taxes to the extent allowed under the law.

Since 1996, MERIP has maintained one of the most informative websites on Middle East politics, culture and society. Tikkun magazine said of the website: “The tone is eminently professional…The site's simple (and small) layout is a pleasure to navigate.”


H-Museum's current focus looks from a cultural and historical perspective at present developments concerning the military conflict in Iraq. Included are also special editions of the News Digest, which contains articles from the time of the first Gulf War to the present dealing with the historical monuments, archaeological sites, and museums in Iraq. The editorial staff thanks Dr. Margrit Sollbach-Papeler, a historian with special interest in and detailed knowledge of the ancient civilizations and historical places of the Near East.

Iraq is a country with a rich history. A great number of monuments of the history of civilization, archaeological sites, and museums are situated on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and in other areas. Already in 1990/1991, during the first Gulf War, these historical monuments and other places of historical importance were put at direct risk by military action as well as by the abuse as Iraqi military positions. The war in Iraq in 2003 again exposes these historical monuments and other places of historical interest to great danger. War always carries with it not only suffering and misery for the population but also always hurts the cultural and historical evidence.


Centropa is the signature project of the Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation, a US-based non-profit corporation with headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

The project is composed of an international team of historians, filmmakers, web designers, journalists, educators, photographers and Jewish community activists. Their goal is to create a window into Jewish history, and current events, in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. By marrying together the newest technologies and serious research methods, they seek to take Jewish history off the shelf, and bring it into your homes, classrooms, synagogues, libraries, book clubs and organizations.

Centropa's largest project is Witness to a Jewish Century, a searchable online library of Jewish family pictures, and the memories that go with them. Right now, more than forty Centropa interviewers are visiting elderly Jews living in Central and Eastern Europe, and asking them to share with us their precious family photographs, and their stories about the people in those photographs. Think of Witness as your own tool for creating custom made files on everyday Jewish life before, during, as well as after, the Holocaust.


What does it mean to be a Muslim today? Does Islam deserve its reputation as a patriarchal, authoritarian, and anti-Western religion? What is the role of Islam in movements for political and social change?

PBS's FRONTLINE explores these and other questions in"Muslims," a special two-hour film examining the different faces of Islam's worldwide resurgence and the fundamental tenets of the faith. Reporting from Iran, Nigeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Turkey, and the United States, and drawing on the perspectives of leading scholars of Islam, this program tells the stories of ordinary Muslims struggling to define how Islam will shape their lives and societies.

This site also provides links to a selection of background material covering Islam, Islam and democracy, the Quran, Islamic law, and Islam and the West, as well as a guide meant to provide teacher's with background information and classroom activities to assist teachers in extending the viewing experience of the film.


The Printed Ephemera collection at the Library of Congress is a rich repository of Americana. In total, the collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the 17th century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history. The first release of the digitized Printed Ephemera Collection presented more than 7,000 items, while this release presents more than 10,000 items. While the broadside format represents the bulk of the collection, there are a significant number of leaflets and some pamphlets. Rich in variety, the collection includes proclamations, advertisements, blank forms, programs, election tickets, catalogs, clippings, timetables, and menus. They capture the everyday activities of ordinary people who participated in the events of nation-building and experienced the growth of the nation from the American Revolution through the Industrial Revolution up to present day. A future final release will include thousands of oversize items in the collection.


A collection of historical legends, myths, and stories pertaining to such subjects as war, religion, food, holidays, and pregnancy, among many others.


"Renew the civil rights movement by bridging the world of action and ideas."

These are the words on the opening page of the web site from Harvard University. Their Civil Rights Project web site has been recently re-vamped. Here are some words they have to say about the new site.

CRP feels the web site will help strengthen their network of researchers, lawyers, advocates, educators and journalists who share their commitment to social justice. The new site improves their ability to disseminate research, alerts, event information, civil rights news and updates quickly. The comprehensive and multi-layered site will further the outreach to media on a regular basis, with a particular emphasis on building rapid responses to developing civil rights legislation and news events.


Alex Boese's The Museum of Hoaxes takes readers on a tour of hundreds of documented hoaxes, many published here for the first time. You'll read about the curiosities and cons of the most notorious hornswogglers and flimflam men of the nineteenth century; you'll be astounded at the impostors, pretenders, carnies, and tricksters of the twentieth.

Learn how Edgar Allan Poe got away with an astonishing literary deception. Or how P. T. Barnum turned hoaxing the public into big business. It's all here, from the origin of April Fools' Day to the Taco Liberty Bell, from Bigfoot to the War of the Worlds to recent Internet hoaxes. There's also a Gullibility Test that challenges readers to answer the question:"Would these hoaxes have fooled YOU?"

Alex Boese is a graduate student at the University of California at San Diego, where he is completing his doctoral dissertation. He is the creator and curator of the website, which began in 1997 as research notes for his dissertation. His website has received acclaim from Yahoo!, as well as USA Today and other newspapers around the world. His book, The Museum of Hoaxes, has just been published by Dutton.


This website displays geographical information and maps that are products of the LEWIS AND CLARK HISTORIC LANDSCAPE PROJECT that has been conducted at the Geographic Resources Center (GRC), Department of Geography, University of Missouri in partnership with the Missouri State Archives, Office of the Missouri Secretary of State. With the primary goals to geo-reference, digitize, and map all of the retrievable information from the Lewis and Clark journals and the 18th and 19th-century land survey notes along the Big River Corridors of the state of Missouri, this effort should serve as a significant educational contribution to the national commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial (2003-2006).


The September 11 Digital Archive uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania and the public responses to them. The Digital Archive will contribute to the on-going effort by historians and archivists to record and preserve the record of 9/11 by: collecting first-hand accounts of the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath (especially voices currently under-represented on the web), collecting and archiving emails and digital images growing out of these events, organizing and annotating the most important web-based resources on the subject, and developing materials to contextualize and teach about the events. The Digital Archive will also use these events as a way of assessing how history is being recorded and preserved in the twenty-first century and as an opportunity to develop free software tools to help historians to do a better job of collecting, preserving, and writing history in the new century.


The National Register of Historic Places is pleased to promote awareness of and appreciation for the historical accomplishments of American women during Women's History Month. As part of the celebration, this site showcases historic properties listed in the National Register, National Register publications, and National Park units commemorating the events and people, the designs and achievements that help illustrate the contribution of women to the Nation's history. Join the National Register in paying tribute to the many women who have made an impact in our past.


This website features the Church Committee's various reports on its investigation of the FBI, as well as a COINTELPRO Document Index which contains images of over 350 pages of FBI documents, linked together with brief exerpts to identify what each document is about. The site also features The COINTELPRO Papers, as well as numerous other resources, including books and articles, written about the FBI's domestic" counterintelligence programs" of 1956-1971.


This site was designed for use in"History on Trial," an online first-year writing course initially offered Spring 2000 as part of the Clipper Project at Lehigh University. It also serves as the basis for an online seminar in Lehigh's Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program.

Designed to provide a base for teaching and research on the controversy itself, this website provides a fresh way of approaching the old question of the need for the atom bomb. The site also outlines the controversy over how this historical event should be remembered and represented, including the debate over the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's exhibit--of which the Enola Gay was at the center--created to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII in 1995. Finally, the site enables users to experience the evolution of the Enola Gay controversy -- in some sense to relive it -- by reading through a chronological list of documents divided into five"rounds."


This Web site was designed and developed to support the teaching of American History in K-12 schools and colleges and is supported by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the College of Education at the University of Houston. The Gilder Lehrman Institute hosts summer institutes for teachers, awards research fellowships and book prizes to scholars, and sponsors a center for the study of slavery, resistance, and abolition at Yale. The materials on this Web site include a U.S. history textbook; over 400 annotated documents from the Gilder Lehrman Collection on deposit at the Pierpont Morgan Library, supplemented by primary sources on slavery, Mexican-American and Native-American history, and U.S. political, social, and legal history; succinct essays on the history of film, ethnicity, private life, and technology; multimedia exhibitions; and reference resources that include a searchable database of 1,500 annotated links, classroom handouts and lesson plans, chronologies, glossaries, an audio archive including speeches and book talks by historians, and a visual archive with hundreds of historical maps and images. The site's Ask the HyperHistorian feature allows users to pose questions to professional historians.


Created by the Chicago Historical Society in collaboration with Northwestern University, this website was designed to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire (1871). Curated by Carl Smith, a professor at Northwestern University, it offers an array of primary sources selected from materials in the Chicago Historical Society and arranged into two sections. “The Great Chicago Fire” examines the fire through five chronological chapters, while a second section, “The Web of Memory,” focuses more specifically on the ways in which the fire has been remembered. This section is organized into six chapters, each devoted to a particular theme, including eyewitness accounts, popular illustrations, journal articles, “imaginative forms such as fiction and poetry and painting,” and the legend of Mrs. O’Leary. Both sections furnish galleries of images and artifacts, primary texts, “special media” such as songs, a newsreel, and an “Interactive Panorama of Chicago, 1858,” and chapter-specific, authoritative background essays that explore the social and cultural contexts of this catastrophe. Also includes a bibliography of 20 sources. A well-designed and easily-navigable site that provides a wide range of diverse sources useful for studying Chicago in late 19th century and the ways that the story of the catastrophe subsequently has been culturally represented. .


Sponsored by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College/Columbia University, NDN is a database of more than 20,000 items relating to the New Deal. A “Document Library” contains more than 700 newspaper and journal articles, speeches, letters, reports, advertisements, and other textual materials, treating a broad array of subjects relevant to the period’s social, cultural, political, and economic history, while placing special emphasis on New Deal relief agencies and issues relating to labor, education, agriculture, the Supreme Court, and African Americans. The “Photo Gallery” of more than 4,000 images is organized into five units—“Culture,” “Construction,” “Social Programs,” “Federal Agencies,” and miscellaneous, including photos from 11 exhibitions and five series of photoessays, and images of disaster relief and public figures. The site additionally offers featured exhibits, many with lesson plan suggestions. Includes approximately 100 annotated links to related sites. Of great value for teachers, students, and researchers interested in the social history of the New Deal era. .


This database was begun in 1995 by James Heintze, Librarian at American University, Washington, D.C. Its purpose is to bring together in one source selected examples of Fourth of July celebrations that have occurred throughout our nation's history from 1776 to 2002. The goal is to capture a slice of the American cultural tradition--its pageantry, spectacle, music, and symbol--in the hopes that an examination of these events will add to our understanding of the American character and heritage.

The range of observances is broad and include unique, unusual, and little-known events. The selections represent both major cities and small rural towns throughout the United States, as well as some foreign countries, and are arranged by year and alphabetically by location. Entries include outlandish and unusual pyrotechnic displays, parades and processions, speeches, battle enactments, musical events, information on rabble-rousing, gun-toting crowds and protesters, balls, artillery salutes, mishaps and accidents, and expressions by ethnic groups. Currently the database includes descriptions of over 200 different celebrations, and its content is continually under development. Examples of what readers may expect to find include one of the last parades of War of 1812 veterans and the staged battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac in New York (1862), a grand explosion on top of Pike's Peak (1901), the reunion of Confederate soldiers in Chattanooga (1890), the mock atomic bomb explosion before a crowd of 25,000 in Baltimore (1951), and the Oklahoma City Fourth that included the raising of the American flag back to full-staff after the bombing of the Federal Building earlier that year (1995). Citations are taken from primary sources and, in many cases, full quotations are provided.


Best of History Web Sites contains links to over 700 history-related web sites that have been reviewed for quality, accuracy and usefulness. Sites with engaging content and stimulating and useful multimedia technologies are most likely to be included in these pages. However, useful general resources and research-oriented sites have been included as well. The list of sites is , by nature, partial and by no means exhaustive.

The site has been designed primarily to benefit history educators and their students, but history enthusiasts will find the site useful as well.

(Plus, this site links to several of HNN's articles so naturally, it's noteworthy!!)

EYEWITNESS - History Through the Eyes of Those Who Lived It

Dedicated to presenting history through the eyes of those who lived it, this website offers first-hand accounts of historical events, as well as original radio broadcasts and vintage photos. Self-described as"a ringside seat to history - from the Ancient World to the present," Eyewitness is presented by Ibis Communications, Inc. a digital publisher of educational programming.

Eyewitness has been selected as a"Best of History Website."


This page was created in response to an August 2000 finding by the California legislature that"[I]nsurance policies from the slavery era have been discovered in the archives of several insurance companies, documenting insurance coverage for slaveholders for damage to or death of their slaves, issued by a predecessor insurance firm. These documents provide the first evidence of ill-gotten profits from slavery, which profits in part capitalized insurers whose successors remain in existence today." SB2199 Sec. 1(a).

The page provides links to the California Department of Insurance's report to the California Legislature describing the information received from insurers in response to the insurance records disclosure statute signed into law by California's Governor Davis in September 2000, including the database of slave and slaveholder names and identifying information.


This site was started in response to the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. As ordinary citizens, we searched for a constructive way to deal with the grief and anger surrounding the attacks. The site is intended as a place to collect information that could help us to better understand the conflicts in the Middle East. Recent events have made it clear that we all have a vital interest in peace in the region.

We focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict because it is arguably the single most important source of tension in the region. Many in the region point to what they perceive as American bias in the conflict as their reason for applauding the attacks of September 11. A deeper knowledge of the conflict could help us to understand and respond to those criticisms.


Welcome to the pasts that never were. Alternative History is an examination of the history that didn't happen, an attempt to look with fresh eyes at our past through the filter of unfulfilled possibilities. The premise of this website is that nothing is predestined, even if some outcomes are a great deal more likely than others. But all us little human critters have the ability to make choices... and those choices matter.

This website includes a listing of excellent links to additional alternative history sites, gives a selection of articles regarding different paths that history could have taken, and provides a discussion forum for visitors to the Alternative History home page.


This website shows the historical press coverage in the United States from the 16th to the 20th century. The creator of this newspaper collection, Rick Brown, invites you to return to these historical events by viewing how they were presented to the American public in the past. The website offers an index of historical articles for easy viewing, interactive quizzes, presidential facts, an audio and video department featuring voices from the past, and additional historical links.


HyperHistory is an expanding scientific project presenting 3,000 years of world history with an interactive combination of synchronoptic lifelines, timelines, and maps. The HyperHistory website depicts a full panorama of history in such a way that it will appeal to a cultivated public at large. A true picture of the world would be incomplete if it equates history with the history of wars and politics and neglects all other aspects of life. The addition of scientific, cultural and religious facts and events are therefore a key to a fundamental knowledge of society.

Visit this website to view the information presented about historical people, events, maps, religion, politics, culture, and scientific discoveries.


The offical publication of the Oral History Association since 1973, the Oral History Review explores the recording, transcribing, and preserving of conversationswith people who have participated in important poilitical, cultural, and economic social developments in modern times. Articles, book and film reviews, and bibliographies deal with the documentation of human experience and findings of research in oral history. This journal considers a broad spectrum of different social groups, cultures, and countries through the use of interviews, songs, photos, diagrams, and storytelling.

The Oral History Association, established in 1966, seeks to bring together all persons interested in oral history as a way of collecting human memories. With an international membership, the OHA serves a broad and diverse audience. Local historians, librarians and archivists, students, journalists, teachers, and academic scholars from many fields have found that the OHA provides both professional guidance and collegial environment for sharing information.

In addition to fostering communication among its members, the OHA encourages standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, dissemination and uses of oral testimony. To guide and advise those concerned with oral documentation, the OHA has established a set of goals, guidelines, and evaluation standards for oral history interviews.

Historical Significance

The origination for Cinco de Mayo, The Fifth Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. It is primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla, but is also celebrated in other parts of the country and in U.S. cities with a significant Mexican population. It is not, as many people think, Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually September 16.

Visit this website to discover the true historical origins behind the celebration of Cinco de Mayo.


American Political Development (APD) is the interdisciplinary study of the deep historical roots of politics in the United States. This new approach to the study of politics digs beneath the familiar surface of presidential succession, elections, and political parties. Scholars in the fields of history, political science, and political sociology have offered important new interpretations of the nation's political past, especially through the study of broad theoretical questions arising from the expansion of national administrative power and the rise of the welfare state.

Although respectful of traditional approaches to the study of political history, scholars of American Political Development tend to place more emphasis on:

how major reform eras were influenced, and in turn transformed by, constitutional principles and institutional arrangements;

how changes in constitutional principles and institutional arrangements have affected civil culture;

the relationship between national institutions and political associations such as interest groups and political parties; and

how political change and the recasting of national institutions have affected the formulation and administration of public policy.

The American Political Development website is a joint undertaking of the Miller Center for Public Affairs' American Political Development Program and the scholars of the American Political History Initiative. The purpose of this site is to facilitate the study of American Political Development by bringing together a wide variety of resources for APD scholars in one easily accessible source.

The two major sections of this site are the American Political Development 'Town Square' and 'Electronic Classroom.' The 'Electronic Classroom' will provide links to resources on the web for those teaching APD at the college level. Resources will include primary source links, syllabi, exam and assignment questions from other scholars engaged in teaching APD related courses, all categorized by topic. The goal of the 'Electronic Classroom' is to make readily available a wide variety of teaching resources and facilitate the use of multimedia sources for those teaching American political history.

The APD 'Town Square' will gather information and links relevant to APD scholars including newly published articles and papers from a variety of journals and presses; conference and professional notices; links to relevant journals and journal articles. The APD 'Town Square' will also host electronic discussion Forums on timely topics relevant to the APD field.

Historical Collections for the National Digital Library

American Memory is a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections.

Viewers can visit the"American Time Capsule," which comprises 28,000 primary source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history. This release of the digitized Printed Ephemera Collection presents more than 7,000 items from the fifty American states, the District of Columbia, and London, England. Among them is a variety of posters, notices, advertisements, proclamations, leaflets, propaganda, manifestos, and business cards. They capture the experience of the American Revolution, slavery, the western land rush, the American Civil War, woman suffrage, and the Industrial Revolution from the viewpoint of those who lived through those events. A full release of this online collection is planned for 2002 and will include several thousand more images, representing more American states, with full textual transcription of all items.

Additionally, the American Memory site offers links to a"Today in History" page, an"International Horizons" page, which offers digital collections from around the world, and an"America's Library" link for kids and families, featuring content from American Memory and other Library of Congress sites.


HPOL is a searchable multimedia database documenting and delivering authoritative audio relevant to American history and politics. This project is supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Teaching With Technology Program in collaboration with Michigan State University and the National Gallery of the Spoken Word. Other website support from Northwestern University Library, School of Speech, Office of the Provost, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Political Science.

HPOL is a collection of invaluable audio materials, some available for the first time on this website, capturing significant political and historical events and personalities of the twentieth century. The materials range from formal addresses delivered in public settings to private telephone conversations conducted from the innermost recesses of the White House. Our aim is to provide an accessible source of audio information to enliven instruction and scholarship in history and politics and to enable easy access for all persons to the rich audio archives of American history and politics.

Additionally, HPOL is committed to providing the audio clips that their audience wants to hear. If you cannot locate a relevant audio clip on our site, let us know what you are looking for and why you think it would be valuable to share with others. If we can find your audio file, we will post it.


The National Women's History Project (NWHP) is an educational nonprofit organization. Our mission is to recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by providing information and educational materials and programs.

In 1980, the NWHP was founded in Santa Rosa, California by Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Maria Cuevas, Paula Hammett and Bette Morgan to broadcast women’s historical achievements. The NWHP started by leading a coalition that successfully lobbied Congress to designate March as National Women’s History Month, now celebrated across the land. Today, the NWHP is known nationally as the only clearinghouse providing information and training in multicultural women’s history for educators, community organizations, and parents-for anyone wanting to expand their understanding of women contributions to U. S. history. The enduring goal of the NWHP is to “make history” accurate by continuing to recognize and celebrate women’s authentic contributions through its current and future projects.

In 1987, at the request of women's organizations, museums, libraries, youth leaders, and educators throughout the country, the National Women's History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the national celebrations to the entire month of March.

Visit the National Women's History Project website for additional background information regarding the National Women's History Month of March.


Public History Review is an annual journal published in Sydney, Australia. It arose out of discussions between members of the Professional Historians Association NSW and other historians about the need for a public face for public history. What is public history? Briefly it is the product of trained historians whose work takes them into a range of different areas where historical skills are a vital component of the work - including museums, commissioned histories, government, schools, community projects, heritage consultancies, research, film, radio and television.

The journal aims firstly to provide a public forum for historians working in these diverse areas who wish to reflect on their practice or comment on historical representations by others. We also welcome contributions by archaeologists, architects, journalists and others who extend our knowledge of how history operates and is used in the community. Finally we want to inform and challenge, to articulate the tensions between theory and practice.

The Public History Review is published by the Professional Historians Association NSW Inc. The Professional Historians Association NSW Inc (PHA NSW) is the organisation representing qualified historians who are professionally employed or commissioned to undertake historical work. Its members are historians who wish to further the development of professional standards in the practice of professional history.


Our aim in creating this collection of Web materials is to preserve the Web expressions of individual people, groups, the press and institutions from around the world, in the aftermath of the attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001. We hope the archive provides resources for many kinds of reflection on the meanings of these events.

Since the hours just after the attacks, we have been collecting Web materials that reflect responses to them, from as many sources as possible. People from around the world have contributed URLs to be included in this collection, and we are grateful for each submission.

The September 11 Web Archive is a collaboration between the Library of Congress, the Internet Archive and The Library of Congress ( commissioned this archive and organized its collection and development. The Internet Archive ( archives the web sites included in this collection, and hosts the collected materials. ( developed the web site, identifies web materials to be preserved in the collection, and generates data about the web sites in the archive.


Founded in 1955, the Foreign Policy Research Institute is an independent, nonprofit organization devoted to advanced research and public education on international affairs. FPRI brings the insights of scholarship to bear on the development of policies that advance U.S. national interests abroad.

FPRI publications include Orbis, a quarterly journal of world affairs edited by David Eisenhower; the FPRI Wire; E-Notes, a two-page bulletin disseminated a few times each month exclusively by fax and e-mail; and other bulletins.

The institute is headed by Harvey Sicherman, a former aide to three U.S. secretaries of state. We count among our trustees a former Secretary of State, a former Secretary of the Navy, and a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, not to mention two university presidents emeritus, a foundation president, and several active or retired corporate CEOS. And we count among our extended network of scholars -- especially, our Inter-University Study Groups -- representatives of diverse disciplines, including political science, history, economics, law, management, religion, sociology, and psychology.

FPRI's Marvin Wachman Fund for International Education and FPRI's Center for the Study of America and the West are pleased to announce a weekend-long history institute on"Teaching Geography and Geopolitics," featuring a series of lectures by leading scholars in several fields. This program is specially designed for secondary school teachers, curriculum supervisors, and junior college faculty.

April 20-21, 2002
Teaching Geography and Geopolitics:
A History Institute for Teachers


For more information on the Foreign Policy Research Institute and on this upcoming conference, please visit .


The Centennial Olympic Games were held in Atlanta, Georgia from July 19-August 4, 1996. In their honor, we've created this exhibit on the ancient Olympics, using information from the Perseus Project, a digital library on ancient Greece. The Perseus Project is centered in the Classics Department at Tufts University.

In this exhibit, you can compare ancient and modern Olympic sports, tour the site of Olympia as it looks today, learn about the context of the Games and the Olympic spirit, or read about the Olympic athletes who were famous in ancient times. Additionally, you can find information on frequently asked questions about the Ancient Olympic games, as well as links to related sites and further readings.


Making History Relevant for Life

Nietzsche has argued that history ought to be useful to life. Too often academic history simply judges the past, separates the past from the present, and makes the historical ineffective for use in contemporary struggles. The philosophy of the Historian Underground seeks to break this trend. The task of history is not in judging the past but to judge the present. The study and investigation of history can be an important tool in providing a ground for critique. It can be a tool for liberation of thought and a freeing of possibilities.

This site has attempted to bring together a diverse collection of materials towards that end. At this site, you will find articles, a growing list of history quotes, a large collection of related links, and a history forum. Additionally, the new associate sites of the Historian Underground are available as well.


Resources for Historians

Any list of Internet resources for historians ought to be considered a work in progress. The reason is quite simple. The number of web sites devoted to historical subjects, documents and related material increases daily. There are several sites available now that list hundreds of web pages. Unfortunately, that means the end user must wade through an enormous amount of material (and dead links) to locate what may be of dubious importance.

I have decided to create a much shorter list, and instead of inundating the user with hundreds of links, I have selected web sites which contain excellent content. This website contains links to primary documents, United States History, World History and Western Civilization, among others.


The Historians Committee for Open Debate

The Historians Committee for Open Debate is an organization of leading historians around the world engaged in activities to promote historical knowledge and understanding in contemporary public discourse. The Committee is co-chaired by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin, and affiliated with the Nuclear Age History & Humanity Center at Tufts University.

The Committee began as an ad hoc group of historians and scholars (The Historians Committee for Open Debate on Hiroshima) organized in January 1995 to address concerns over the character of public discourse surrounding the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum's exhibit on the Enola Gay and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a standing organization, the Committee seeks to promote historical knowledge and foster collaboration between historians on an ad hoc basis on a broad range of contemporary issues and debates.

Use of the website, is free and open to all interested historians and scholars. Committees are formed on an ad hoc basis on issues of concern to interested individuals.


This tribute, written by Professor Melvin Sylvester at Long Island University, provides a timeline of the black civil rights movement in America and shows Martin Luther King's contributions to this cause for all Americans. Dr. King's involvement in the civil rights movement allowed for positive, non-violent methods of change to come about for African-Americans despite growing pressure to use violent means to accomplish these goals of equality.

In addition to the timeline that Professor Sylvester provides for viewers, he includes a listing of Dr. King's own writings, and also books about Dr. King and the civil rights movement for further research and knowledge about this tumultuous time in American history.


At this site, historians offer their views on the relationship between current events and larger historical themes, between the past and the present, placing some of the most controversial political and social topics of the day in historical perspective. The topics discussed include capital punishment, gun control, presidential campaign promises, and the history of American sweatshops.


HNN recently became a part of the Center for History and New Media, which sponsors this week's Website of the Week. This is an example of shameless self-promotion.


After the shocking events of September 11th, difficult questions now arise regarding America's current military response. What should the American response be to the killing of more than 3,000 of their innocent citizens? Is the killing of innocent Afghanistan civilians by air strikes the correct response for the Americans who perished during the terrorist attacks?

This site brings together the voices of 17 of the living Nobel Peace Prize winners. Although the opinions of these Laureates differ, their thoughts as a whole are beneficial to consider while forming opinions regarding the American actions in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.


The traveler in Eurasia often encounters scenes such as these:

In a rocky field on the north shore of Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan, a petroglyph (rock drawing) of ibex or mountain goats; in a lone tree in the Alamedin Valley, south of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, an animal carcass; in the mountains of the Eastern Pamir, south of Kashgar, Xinjian an array of poles with yak tails and strips of cloth and supported by ibex horns; in the dazzling, gilded interior of the Gur-i Amir, the Islamic Timurid Mausoleum in Samarkand, a horse tail suspended from a pole.

What are we to make of this evidence, which we might assume illustrates facets of traditional Central Asian culture? This website provides some answers and additional illustrations. Our subject here is traditional religion in Central Asia; we begin with what has been termed"dispersed shamanism." This set of pre-Islamic traditional religious beliefs and practices has lasted into modern times, at the same time that many of its practitioners have adopted one or another of the"religions of the book": in the case of the Mongols--Buddhism; and in the case of many of the related Turkic peoples of Central Asia-- Islam. As will become evident, there is a syncretism between pre-Islamic religious tradition and Islamic norms, a fact which explains some of the distinctive features of Central Asian Islamic practice.


Whether it is the dramatic history behind the building of the first transcontinental railroad, or an intriguing examination of the American romance with Robert Kennedy,"Talking History" has something for everyone.

"Talking History" is a thirty-minute weekly radio program that separates fact from fiction and myth from reality through interviews with nationally recognized historians and writers. The show is available to more than 400 stations nationwide on the Public Radio Satellite System.


Part of"the famous trials site," put together by Doug Linder, professor at the University of Missouri School of Law (Kansas City), the"Nature of Evil" site features fascinating images of evil accompanied by thoughtful captions. Sample caption:"The third-century Egyptian philosopher, Plotinus, found evil in absence. The insight of Plotinus has special resonance after the events of September 11, 2001. Writing in The New Republic, Paul Berman had this to say: 'In the skyline now, there is an empty space where the twin towers used to be. I gaze out my study window, where I am used to seeing the towers, and I can hardly believe what I see. I see nothing. Smoke and sky. It is the symbol of absolute evil.'"

comments powered by Disqus