This is a guide to beginning your primary source research in global environmental history. By no means should you stop your research - or even necessarily start it - with the resources on this page. It's meant simply as a collection of places to look that will be more or less useful depending on your chosen topic.

Semester and Year: 
Spring 2017
Course number: 
HST 487/587
Hart, Robert

Online Guides to Research in Environmental History

Environmental History on the Web

An annotated guide to environmental history resources online, maintained by an environmental historian.

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Nature Transformed: The Environment in American History

Resources on American environmental history maintained by the National Humanities Center.

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Learning to do Historical Research: A Primer for Environmental Historians and Others

A step-by-step guide to researching history, with specific examples in environmental history. Maintained by William Cronon, the author of Nature's Metropolis.

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New York Times (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)

Digital archive for the New York Times dating back to 1851. An excellent database for history, including full-text and full-image articles. For most dates, the collection includes digital reproductions of every page from every issue--cover to cover--in downloadable PDF files. For access to recent issues, go to the New York Times online or search US Newsstream.

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Times (London) Digital Archive

The Times Digital Archive, 1785–2006 makes 221 years of this highly regarded resource available for students and researchers of 19th-, 20th-, and early 21st-century history, literature, culture, business, art, art history, architecture, and more. Every complete page of every issue is full-text searchable — every headline, article, editorial, announcement, image and advertisement.

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International Newsstream

International Newsstream provides the most recent news content outside of the US and Canada, with archives which stretch back decades featuring newspapers, newswires, and news sites in active full-text format. ProQuest International Newsstream provides information from more than 660 of the world's top newspapers, including The Times (London), The Bangkok Post, El Norte, Financial Times, The Guardian, Jerusalem Post, South China Morning Post, The Daily Telegraph, Asian Wall Street Journal, and the BBC Monitoring series of publications.

Part of ProQuest Central.

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Special Collections Finding Aids

To do research in Special Collections, contact them using the phone numbers or email addresses on this page: Special Collections is generally open Monday-Thursday 9-5 and Friday 9-12, though that may vary.

Stuart Alexander and Sandy Cole Marks Collection

This collection is from the personal papers of Stuart A. Marks, an anthropologist who has focused much of his career on African wildlife management and conservation.

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North Carolina Coastal Federation Papers

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is a non-profit organization that focuses exclusively on protecting and restoring the state's coast through education, advocacy and habitat preservation and restoration. These records reflect the activities of the organization from its formation in 1982 through 2004. The collection is arranged in six series and includes a wide range of materials.

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Global Environmental History Collections Online

Biodiversity Heritage Library

Open-access digital library for materials related to biodiversity literature.

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Botanical and Cultural Images of Eastern Asia, 1907-1927

This collection of eastern Asian photographs represents the work of intrepid plant explorers who traveled to exotic lands in the early years of the twentieth century and returned to the Arboretum with not only seeds, live plants, and dried herbarium specimens, but also with remarkable images of plants, people, and landscapes.

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Core Historical Literature of Agriculture

Electronic collection of agricultural texts published between the early 19th century and the middle to late 20th century. Full-text materials cover agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, animal science, crops and their protection, food science,forestry, human nutrition, rural sociology, and soil science.

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Expeditions and Discoveries

One of a series of online collections from Harvard University, Expeditions and Discoveries delivers maps, photographs, and published materials, as well as field notes, letters, and a unique range of manuscript materials on selected expeditions between 1626 and 1953.

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American Environmental History Collections Online

Evolution of the American Conservation Movement, 1850-1920

Part of the Library of Congress's American Memory Project, this project documents the historical formation and cultural foundations of the movement to conserve and protect America's natural heritage, through books, pamphlets, government documents, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and motion picture footage drawn from the collections of the Library of Congress.

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American Environmental Photographs, 1891-1936

Collection of 4,500 photographs documenting natural environments, ecologies, and plant communities in the United States 1891-1936. Provided by the University of Chicago.

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Western Waters Digital Library

The Western Waters Digital Library (WWDL) provides free public access to a wide range of significant resources on water in the Western United States. 

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Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

This site features the full text of the Lewis and Clark journals. Also included are a gallery of images, important supplemental texts, and audio files of selected passages plus Native American perspectives. 

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Gerald W. Williams Collection

This collection consists of the collected historic photographs, personal papers, and research library of Gerald "Jerry" Williams, former national historian for the U.S. Forest Service. 

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Forest History Society Databases

Databases that provide useful, detailed information about primary or secondary materials that aid research in the broad fields of forest, conservation, and environmental history. Some materials are online. The Forest History Society is located in Durham.

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Government Information

ProQuest Congressional

Comprehensive online collection of primary source congressional publications and legislative research materials covering all topics, including government, current events, politics, economics, business, science and technology, international relations, social issues, finance, insurance, and medicine. Finding aid for congressional hearings, committee prints, committee reports and documents from 1970-present, and the daily Congressional Record from 1985-present. Compiled legislative histories from 1969-present.

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The Environmental Protection Agency protects the environment through its licensing, enforcement and monitoring of activities.

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Incident News

This site has news, photos, and other information about selected oil spills (and other incidents) where NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) provided scientific support for the incident response. It contains information on thousands of historical incidents spanning 30 years of OR&R spill response.

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Documerica Project

For the Documerica Project (1971-1977), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired freelance photographers to capture images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday life in the 1970s. 

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American Presidency Project

The American Presidency Project (APP) at UC Santa Barbara is a good source of presidential documents on the internet. Their archives contain 123,170 documents and are growing rapidly.

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Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Database

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Database provides information about EISs prepared by federal agencies, as well as EPA's comments concerning the EISs. This database contains:

  • Records of all EISs received by EPA since 1987
  • EPA comment letters on EISs since 2001
  • Electronic (PDF) versions of EISs received by EPA since October 2012
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SuDocs Classification Scheme

Organization scheme for government publications in print.

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History Librarian

Portrait of Stephanie Crowe
Coordinator of Liaison Librarian Services
Phone Number: 
RL 2056

Twitter: @shcrowe

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