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Cultural Anthropology: United States

This guide provides resources for your cultural anthropological research

Table of Contents

The Library subscribes to numerous databases which index or provide full-text access to primary resources.  The ones listed are a sample of those particularly useful for anthropological research in the U.S. Note: Unless indicated, these databases are restricted to Duke users.

20th Century

19th Century

Finding Primary Sources in the Online Catalog

The Duke University Libraries contain a wealth of primary materials for research about the U.S. The collections housed in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library should not be overlooked.  The holdings on the American South are particularly strong.

In the Duke Libraries' collections, outside of the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, primary resources take the form of published letters, diaries, and papers.  To identify these resources in the "Books and Media" search, look for the subdivisions, correspondence, interviews, sources, diaries and personal narratives. Any of these terms can be used in the keyword search mode.

Beyond Duke: Notable Websites

These sites are freely accessible.

The Library of Congress's American Memory site is one of my very favorites. This site provides access to digitized documents on American history and culture from the collections of the Library of Congress.  It is truly a phenomenal site.  I use it frequently to find images.

Documenting the American South is a fantastic site from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Covering Southern history, literature and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the twentieth century, this site provides access to an outstanding collection of materials including first person and slave narratives.

The Making of America (Cornell) and the Making of America (Michigan) provides fulltext access to primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. This includes digitized books and long runs of journals. A collaboration between Cornell University and the University of Michigan, each site provides access to the other. 

The Valley of the Shadow, a collaboration between the Virginia Center for Digital History and the University of Virginia Library, explores in detail the life during the American Civil War era in two towns, one Southern and one Northern.

17th-18th Centuries and Earlier