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HISTORY 201: The Historian's Craft: World of Alexander Hamilton (Fall 2020) : Archives

Online Archival Collections

The links below are a mix of UW-Madison Libraries subscription databases and freely available websites. Those requiring you to login with your UW Net-ID are marked with as asterisk (*).


Library of Congress: Digital Collections
These extensive holdings include collections from many of the Founding Fathers. Note that transcriptions are not available on this site and most documents are handwritten.
Alexander Hamilton papers
Thomas Jefferson papers
George Washington papers

Founders Online
This site provides access to the papers of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin. Easily get to single items by browsing or searching, or click on "About Founders Online" to see the full collection grouped by creator. All documents are typed (not handwritten).

American Founding Era Collection*
Log into this database with your NetID for a more extensive collection of materials from the papers of people in the Founders Online collection above plus additional individuals including Dolly Madison and John Jay.

Colonial America*
This resource documents the early history of the colonies, and includes founding charters, material on the effects of 1688’s Glorious Revolution in North America, records of piracy and seaborne rivalry with the French and Spanish, and copious military material from the French and Indian War of 1756-63. The second module focuses on the 1760s and 1770s and the social and political protest that led to the Declaration of Independence, including legal materials covering the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party. It is also particularly rich in material relating to military affairs and Native Americans. The third module covers the 1770s and 1780s. Materials on the pre-revolutionary and revolutionary periods include relations and negotiations with allied Native American tribes; Military correspondence between British generals in America and the Secretary of State; and Intercepted Patriot correspondence.


On This Page

This page provides links to online archival collections.

But what, exactly are archives? Unlike materials held in libraries, which have all been published (meaning, they were created with the intention of making many copies available to many people), archives are unpublished material. They are evidence of everyday life and business created for a purpose other than having them used by outside people. Archives can be any format of material, such as letters, diaries, meeting minutes, photographs, or tweets. Archival collections are kept together in groups based on their creator.