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Lower Eastern Shore National History Day: Doing Research

The Lower Eastern Shore National History Day contest includes Dorchester, Somerset, and Wicomico Counties and is sponsored by the Salisbury University Libraries and the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts at Salisbury University.

Local repositories

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum -- this St. Michaels-based museum has an outstanding library of books, nanuscripts, oral histories, and other materials relating to maritime and naval history, especially relating to the Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore.  It is closed for much of 2021 for construction but accepts research requests.

Nabb Center for Delmarva History and Culture -- this research center, part of the Salisbury University Libraries,includes great archival collections for the Lower Eastern Shore, but it also has some national and international collections.  Some of its collections are available online, and guides to other collections are available online.

Salisbury University Libraries -- the Libraries subscribe to or own numerous history-related online collections of archives and manuscripts as well as having substantial history print collections.  

Todd Research Center at the Dorchester County Historical Society-- this library includes "a broad selection of reference materials including books (many out of print), atlases, compilations and transcriptions, photographs, ledgers, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks and more."

University of Maryland Eastern Shore Frederick Douglass Library -- the Library has special collections relating to the Eastern Shore, particularly African American history, as well as university archives.


Dorchester County Public Library --has Maryland Rooms at both of its branches, with the larger room being at the Cambridge branch and featuring "microfilm & microfiche, yearbooks, photographs, maps, family histories, and local government documents."

Preserving Somerset: A Digital Collection --this site from the Somerset County Public Library features Somerset newspapers as well as 18th-century judicial records.

Talbot County Free Library -- has outstanding local history and genealogy special collections in the Maryland Room at the Easton branch.

Wicomico Public Library -- gave much of its genealogy and local history collections to the Nabb Center, but it does have good secondary sources and some databases that could be useful.

Worcester County Library --all branches have local history and genealogy collections, but the main collection is located at the Worcester Room at the Snow Hill branch.  It has more than 100 unique collections, oral histories, photographs, and land survey records as well as genealogy resources.


Digital Maryland -- this site, based at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, features collections from libraries and institutions throughout Maryland and has 137 digital collections.

Enduring Connections -- sponsored by Salisbury University's Nabb Center (see below), this has a large number of records available online relating to Black life on the Delmarva peninsula..

Nabb Center Digital Collections on the Internet Archive -- the Nabb Center has many diaries, newspapers, and other materials available online via the Internet Archive.

Preserving Somerset: A Digital Collection --this site from the Somerset County Public Library features Somerset newspapers as well as 18th-century judicial records.


Selected National/International Digital Collections

The national office of National History Day maintains an extensive list of helpful research links.

Biodiversity Heritage Library -- this digital library provides access to over 57 million pages relating to the natural world from the 15th century to the 21st century.

Digital Library of the Caribbean -- this is a cooperative digital library with more than sixty partners sharing resources from and about the Caribbean.

Digital Public Library of America -- this huge collection includes more than 44 million digitized items from libraries and other repositories across the United States.  It includes manuscripts, texts, videos, images, and audio files.  It also includes Primary Source sets that focus on specific topics.

John Carter Brown Library Digital Collections -- outstanding digital collections relating to the Americas before 1825, including thousands of books, images, maps, and political cartoons.

Library of Congress Digital Collections -- this national library has outstanding digital collections relating to many aspects of American history.

LLILAS Benson Digital Collections -- this site from the University of Texas includes numerous digital collections from the Benson Latin American Collection and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, including numerous political and human rights collections.

World Digital Libary -- this site from the Library of Congress was funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and includes contributions from partners worldwide.  It presently has nearly 20,000 items (books, journals, manuscripts, maps, prints, photographs, multimedia) representing "some of the world's most important cultural objects" and including more than 100 languages.

Sources for Images

African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora -- this site has more than 1,200 images relating to the slave trade and slavery, originally from the University of Virginia, now from the University of Colorado,  PLEASE NOTE: This site is not working as of July 2022, but we are leaving the link in hopes that it will become operational again.

Bibliothèque nationale de France -- millions of images from the national library of France

Biodiversity Heritage Library -- makes more than 160,000 images of plants and animals available on its Flickr site

British Columbia Historical Photographs Online -- links to image databases and virtual galleries from throughout British Columbia

British Museum Collection Online -- includes more than 1 million images of artifacts from all over the world from the ancient period to the present

Digital Public Library of America -- provides more than 36 million images, texts, videos, and sound files from libraries and archives across the United States.

Digital South Asia Library Image Collection -- this site from the University of Chicago provides images from several different organizations, including more t han 125,000 images from teh American Institute of Indian Studies

Early Images of Latin America -- more than 1,800 images from Tulane University's Latin American Library

Flickr Commons -- this is an effort "to share hidden treasures from the world's public photography archives" although it includes many prints as well as photographs.  The images are from dozens of archives from around the U.S. and the world; the archives themselves often have many additional images on their own sites. There is a search box on the home page.

Global Database of Old Japanese Photographs -- this site from the Nagasaki University Library allows you to search for images of Japan from several instituions in Japan, France, and the Netherlands

Guide to historical photographs from Africa on the web -- this site has an extensive liist of links to digitized collections of Africa, including many not found on other link lists, although it has not been updated since 2014 and some links are dead; there are still many working links

Historical Photographs of Africa -- this page from the Stanford University Libraries links to various collections from repositories around the world of images from sub-Sarahan Africa

Historical Photographs of China -- this site from the University of Bristol makes more than 20,000 historical photographs available

Japanese Old Photographs in Bakumatsu-Meiji Period -- this site from the Nagasaki University Libray features more than 7,600 photographs

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs -- this wideranging site likely has something for everyone, regardless of topic, with dozens of digitized collections.  You can browse by subject.

Mesoamerican Painted Manuscripts at the Latin American Library --this site from Tulane University includes digitized versions of original Mexican pictorial manuscripts

Moving Image Archive -- this site from the Internet Archive makes available more than 6 million moving images, including movies, local and national news clips, and a slew of other moving images

National Library of Australia -- makes available images of "Australian people, places and events, from early European exploration of the South Pacific to contemporary events."

New York Public Library Digital Collections -- the NYPL is one of the nation's great research libraries and has made nearly a million prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming videos, and more available freely online.  These cover a wide range of topics from around the world, not just New York.

Smithsonian Institution Open Access -- nearly 3 million images from the Smithsonian's outstanding, varied collections, including many images of artifacts

Southeast Asian Images & Texts Project -- from the University of WIsconsin-Madison Libraries, this brings together various collections of images and other sources for Southeast Asian history from the Libraries' collections