Dear Diary: Thoughts of the Famous & Not so Famous

History is a conglomeration of life experienced by the person next door. Discover the everyday lives of Civil War Soldiers,  British and North American Women in the 18th and 19th centuries, American Indians, or American immigrants fleeing famine and persecution, with six new original source databases from Alexander Street Press. Expand and inform your research with references to diaries, letters, oral histories, and eye-witness accounts of history in the making.

British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries spans more than 400 years of personal writings, bringing together the voices of women from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. This database lets researchers view history in the context of women’s thoughts – their struggles, achievements, passions, pursuits, and desires.

Both the famous and the unknown populate the collection. The lives and thoughts of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot, Mary Shelley, Queen Victoria, Frances Kemble, Queen Elizabeth, Mary Wollstonecraft, Christina Rossetti, Florence Nightingale, and Maude Gonne can be compared with the experiences and ideas of ordinary women from all walks of life.

Eartly Encounters in North AmericaPainstakingly assembled from hundreds of sources, Early Encounters in North America: Peoples, Cultures, and the Environment documents the relationships among peoples in North America from 1534 to 1850. The collection focuses on personal accounts and provides unique perspectives from all of the protagonists, including traders, slaves, missionaries, explorers, soldiers, native peoples, and officials, both men and women. The project brings coherence to a wide range of published and unpublished accounts, including narratives, diaries, journals, and letters.

Manuscript Women’s Letters and Diaries. This collection from the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society brings together the personal writings of women of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, displayed as high-quality images of the original manuscripts. Thousands of letters and diary entries from less well known women vividly document even the smallest details of their lives and shed light on the roles women played within their families, their communities, and the social and political movements of their times. In many cases, we also include the replies, from both men and women, placing the letters in their full context. Detailed biographical notes illuminate the lives of the authors, including multigenerational details, as exemplified in the letters and diaries of three generations of women within the same family.

North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries, and Oral Histories includes 2,162 authors and approximately 100,000 pages of information, providing a unique and personal view of what it meant to immigrate to America and Canada between 1800 and 1950. Composed of contemporaneous letters and diaries, oral histories, interviews, and other personal narratives, the series provides a rich source for scholars in a wide range of disciplines. In selected cases, users will be able to hear the actual audio voices of the immigrants. This collection provides perspectives both on North America and on the immigrants’ countries of origin. Users will find vivid descriptions of life under the Czar and the various revolutionary governments in Russia; tales of famine and poverty in Ireland; accounts of anti-Jewish pogroms in Eastern Europe; stories of persecution and fascism; and detailed descriptions of life in rural communities and towns as well as in major cities such as London, Berlin, and Moscow.

North American Indian Thought and Culture integrates autobiographies, biographies, Indian publications, oral histories, personal writings, photographs, drawings, and audio files for the first time. The result is a comprehensive representation of historical events as told by the individuals who lived through them. The database is an essential resource for all those interested in serious scholarly research into the history of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Canadian First Peoples.

Virtually all North American groups are represented-nearly 500 in all. Some nations are covered in great depth, including the Eskimos and Inuit of the Arctic; the sub-Arctic Cree; the Pacific Coastal Salish; the Ojibwa, Cheyenne, and Sioux of the Plains; the Luiseno, Pomo, and Miwok of California; the Apache, Navajo, and Hopi of the Southwest; the Creek and Cherokee of the Southeast; the Peqout, Iroquois, and Seneca of the Northeast; the Metis and Nez Perce of the Great Plateau; and others.

In American Civil War: Letters and Diaries find detailed, firsthand descriptions of historical characters and events, glimpses of daily life in the army, anecdotes about key events and personages, accounts of sufferings at home, a rich battles database, and more. These and thousands of other experiences are represented in this massive, 100,000-page collection. The materials are indexed with dozens of search fields, and there are 4,000 pages of previously unpublished manuscript images.