Helpful Resources

We know that conducting research can be really difficult. It often requires finding and compiling sources from multiple libraries, archives, and websites. To help you on your way, we’ve created this list of resources. Please do not hesitate to also seek assistance from our staff at any time!
Black-and-white photograph of a young man using a hammer to nail a photo to a display board.
A KU student creating a photo display, 1940-1941. Call Number: RG 71/0.

University of Kansas Libraries Resources

KU Library Borrower Card

These can be purchased by qualified individuals who are not affiliated with the University of Kansas. Cardholders can borrow and renew books and other materials from KU Libraries. Off-campus access to the Libraries' licensed electronic resources (databases and e-journals) is not included with the purchase of a KU Library Borrower Card.

College Readiness Skills and Resources

This guide will help you search for, evaluate, and properly cite your sources. Make sure you check out the Primary vs. Secondary Sources, Research Skills, and Citations pages before beginning your research.

Primary Sources, U.S.

A helpful guide to primary sources for U.S. history with instructions on how to search the KU Libraries Catalog. Make sure to take a look at the sections focused on Historical US Newspapers and Free Online US Sources.

Maps, Atlases, and Gazetteers

This guide provides resources about maps and atlases. Stop by the Thomas R. Smith Map library at KU’s Anschutz Library to have full access to the sources mentioned in this guide. You can also access Spencer Research Library’s large map and atlas collection.

Government Information Resources

This site lists government resources and provides a great guide to KU Libraries U.S. government information collections. See also the list of selected websites.

KU Digital Collections

Included here are digitized collection materials from Spencer Research Library.

Spencer Research Library online exhibitions

University of Kansas Resources

Robert J. Dole Archive and Special Collections

This library houses materials dealing with twentieth-century American social and political history. Be sure to also check out the Dole's amazing History Day webpage.

Clendening History of Medicine Library, KU Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas

Collections include rare historical medical books and manuscripts, books, and periodicals on the history of medicine, medical humanities, and biomedical ethics. Clendening Digital Collections include an exhibit of letters written by Florence Nightingale.

University of Kansas Medical Center Archives, Kansas City, Kansas

Materials preserve and document the history of the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Kansas and Missouri Resources

(Within 90 miles of Lawrence)

Territorial Kansas Online

A joint project between the Kansas Historical Society and Spencer Research Library to digitize primary sources from the territorial period of Kansas (1854-1861).

Watkins Museum of History, Lawrence

Find information about the history of Lawrence and Douglas County, including museum exhibits and archival collections.

Baker University Special Collections, Baldwin City, Kansas

Holdings include the Quayle Bible Collection and the Baker University and Kansas Area United Methodist Archives.

Kansas Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas

Find primary sources documenting the history of the Sunflower State.

Kansas City Kansas Public Library, Kansas Collection

The core of the collection relates to the history of Kansas City, Wyandotte County, and the state of Kansas.

Kansas City (Missouri) Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections

Holdings primarily focus on the history of the Kansas City region. The library also has extensive resources about topics like border warfare and the Civil War, Native Americans of the area, explorers and westward expansion, outlaws and lawmen, overland trails, genealogy, and African American history and culture.

University of Missouri-Kansas City Libraries

LaBudde Special Collections contains a rare book collection that focuses primarily on Western Americana, with an emphasis on Kansas and Missouri. Archival collections are strong in music, especially Kansas City jazz, with emerging strengths in women’s and gender studies and popular culture. LaBudde Special Collections also serves as the home of the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, a collecting initiative to document the histories of the LGBT communities in the Kansas City region. The Marr Sound Archives focuses on the American experience as reflected in recorded sound and features a wide variety of music genres.

Linda Hall Library, Kansas City, Missouri

The library's collections emphasize current advances in science, engineering, and technology as well as the historical or philosophical aspects of those topics. Also check out the Linda Hall Library's digital collections, which include nearly a quarter million digitized images of significant rare and fragile books, maps, photographs, and manuscripts.

Black Archives of Mid America, Kansas City, Missouri

The archive collects, preserves, and makes available materials documenting the social, economic, political, and cultural histories of persons of African American descent in the central United States, with particular emphasis in the Kansas City, Missouri, region.

National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri

One of the thirteen regional branches of the National Archives, this facility houses the permanent records of the U.S. federal government.

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, Independence, Missouri

The library holds the papers of Harry S. Truman. These materials document Truman's time as president as well as his life and careers as farmer, soldier, businessman, local politician, U.S. Senator, Vice President, and former President. The library also has collections of individuals who were associated with Truman at some point during his career in an official or personal capacity. Check out the wealth of materials the library has made available online.

Kansas State University Special Collections, Manhattan, Kansas

Research collections are particularly strong in the consumer movement, agriculture, grain science and milling, cooking, military history, Kansas life and culture, and university history.

History Day Resources

National History Day

See especially information about creating a project plus the annual theme.

Kansas History Day

National History Day in Missouri

National History Day and Archives Wiki

This resource was created by National History Day and the Society of American Archivists. See the section for students and teachers.

Selected General Resources

Library of Congress Digital Collections

The Library of Congress is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States.

National Archives and Records Administration, DocsTeach Popular Topics

DocsTeach is an online tool for teaching with documents. Each topic includes links to digitized primary sources.

National Archives and Records Administration, Founders Online

Search over 183,000 fully-annotated documents, which include the digitized correspondence and other writings of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.

National Archives and Records Administration, Online Exhibits

The National Archives preserves and provides access to records of the U.S. federal government that are judged to have enduring historic value.


Find out information about archives all over the country and world. A useful resource, although incomplete.


This website contains includes over four million records describing archival materials at over 1,000 institutions from the United States and around the world.

History Day Contact