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Civil War & Reconstruction

The purpose of this research guide is to help you discover primary sources related to the Civil War in the Library's collections. The links in this guide will lead you to diaries, letters, memoirs, travel narratives, newspaper articles, government treatises and documents published in Falvey's print, microform and digital collections. The catalog search links below will generate lists of books that include primary sources.
Visit the Library's Primary Sources Research Guide for more detailed information.

Primary Sources in Books

Newspapers & Magazines

  • Historical New York Times
    Complete digital archive of the New York Times back to 1851.
  • America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1922
    A digital collection of early American newspapers from 1690 to 1922. It includes the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1860-1920.  Searches can be limited by town, state, and time period.
  • American Periodicals Series Online
    Search a selection of periodicals that first began publishing between 1740 and 1900, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines, and many other historically-significant periodicals.
  • The Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective
    Contains full-text of the Charleston Mercury, the New York Herald, and the Richmond Enquirer published between 1860 and 1865. Contains news articles, eye-witness and official reports of battles, editorials, advertisements, biographies and images of battlefield maps and illustrations.
  • Pennsylvania Civil War Era Newspaper Collection
    A collection of newspapers from the civil war era dated from February 23,1831 to February 14,1877. Includes full text of articles, photographs and advertisements.
  • African American Newspapers: The 19th Century
    Includes the complete text of major 19th century African-American newspapers. Also included are early biographies, essays and editorials and vital statistics in 8 works such as Freedman's Journal (1827-1830), The North Star (1847-1851) and Frederick Douglass Paper (1851-1859).
  • Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper
  • Harper's Weekly
  • Harper's Weekly
    1861-1865 (print volumes)
  • OpinionArchives
    Includes the complete archives of Harper's Magazine (1850-) and The Nation (1865-)
    Links to the full text work only from on-campus locations.

Research Jump-start

American National Biography Online (Oxford)
This is the standard biographical dictionary for American history. Entries often include images of the subjects. The bibliography of each entry lists memoirs, published letters, archival holdings of personal papers collections and other useful sources.
Take advantage of the "Research Ideas" option at the top of the search screen. One of the themes on the Research Ideas page is Civil War. Here you will find lists with links to biographical entries of important political figures, military leaders, financiers, industrialists and "recorders of and witnesses to the war." The last list includes a link to the entry on Louisa May Alcott.
Alternatively you can also do a simple keyword search for any person of interest or limit your search by "occupations and realms of renown." One of the options available is Civil War. Choose any of the suggested subject areas from the drop down menu.

Dictionary of American History
Available online. The standard dictionary on American history.

Encyclopedia of the American Civil War
5 volumes, available in print only. Shelved on the second floor of the Library.
The last volume includes numerous source documents such as proclamations by Lincoln and letters from soldiers.

Atlas of the Civil War
Available online.

Civil War: Primary Documents on Events from 1860 to 1865
Available online.

Historical Dictionary of the Civil War
Available online.

Other Sources

Make an appointment to meet with Jutta

I am happy to meet with you at any time, in person, by phone, or virtually via our chat service.

You can also email me directly.

 In my office in Falvey Library
 By phone
 Online via chat
jseibert Jutta Seibert
Director of Academic Integration
Falvey Library, Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova , PA , 19085
Room 228


Last Modified: Friday, January 18th, 2013