American Memory is an aggregation of more than 9 million transcriptions, audio files, and still and moving images from the Library of Congress and other institutions, all documenting the American experience. The material is grouped into more than 100 collections browsable by topic (maps, religion), LC subject headings (i.e. Posters, Haymarket Affair), or by title (i.e. “African American Odyssey” or “The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920”). The metadata is excellent throughout and images range from good to excellent, with some even offered as high resolution TIFFs.
Calisphere is an online image resource made available by the University of California system. It offers more than 200,000 digital representations of primary materials documenting the history of the state of California, from its origins through the 1970s. Materials are browsable by subject or by thematic collections, and searchable by keyword. Images are available in high-resolution zoomable form, but are only downloadable as average quality JPEGs.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture is an excellent decorative-arts-centric, early-American-leaning online resource. They make available a number of classic texts (such as Owen Jones’ Grammar of Ornament and Edith Wharton’s The Decoration of Houses) as ultra high quality jpegs and also offer a small, focused digital image database representing two of their special collections. Even further, they include a list of online resources that, though there is some duplication, extends the range of our list. Thanks to Karyn in the Library for finding this!
Google hosts millions of prints and photographs from Life Magazine’s photography archive. Works date as far back as the 1750s and many were never published. Images can be browsed by decade and by some suggested subjects, but otherwise keyword searching is the only available search tool. Even with limited search options this remains an immensely valuable image resource, particularly for scholars of American social history and/or material culture. It should also be noted that images are of extremely high quality.
Museums in the USA is a comprehensive listing, with links when available, of virtually every museum, art or otherwise, in the United States. Users can browse museums by name, state, or “type”, or search within those fields or by keyword.
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