Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online - Package | Alexander Street
Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online - Package

Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online - Package

Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online combines all of the content from Alexander Street’s seven award-winning collections of letters, diaries, and oral histories together with a growing archive of additional content in what is the single most comprehensive archive of social memory ever created. Combined, the materials in this vast collection offer something entirely new and critically important for history research—personal, contemporaneous, first-person accounts—history as experienced by the individuals who lived through and created it. The voices of ordinary people, unheard until now, live alongside those of famous figures. These are primary documents in the truest sense.

Letters and Diaries Online

Imagine seeing into the minds of tens of thousands of individuals and knowing the details of their lives within seconds. These personal and private writings allow today’s reader to feel and understand what it was like to be a person of another time, race, ethnicity, or gender, making Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online the ideal starting point for historians, sociologists, genealogists, linguists, and psychologists who want to explore and analyze human experiences.

Brought together under a unified search interface is all the premium content from the following Alexander Street individual collections:

The project also links to, indexes, and makes cross searchable more than 700,000 full-text pages of oral histories from open-access Web resources around the world, hand-selected by Alexander Street editors for their value to researchers.

Rare and otherewise inaccessible content

  • The Ellis Island Oral History Project’s 35,000 pages of interviews, including audio links, published for the first time and available exclusively through Alexander Street;
  • More than 2,000 Black Panther oral histories, available nowhere else;
  • Letters and diaries from London’s Imperial War Museum, written by women who served in both world wars, online exclusively from Alexander Street;
  • An Alexander Street-commissioned translation from Yiddish of the diary of a teenage boy who arrived in Philadelphia from Lithuania in the early nineteenth century, describing his personal coming of age and five years of his observations of American culture during the Roaring Twenties;
  • Access to the oral histories that are free on the Web but impossible to search efficiently without the Letters and Diaries Online unified search index.

Alexander Street’s Semantic Indexing makes everything searchable together, including the free Web resources, for a consolidated search result. Searches like these are easy from a single screen:

  • Find letters written by men fighting during the American Civil War, written in camp and sent home to their families.
  • How do teachers in the South describe the influence of the U.S. Civil Rights movement on their students?
  • How do letters written by women in the eighteenth century describe childbirth?
  • How do letters about love written by women to other women differ from letters about love written by women to men?
  • Find oral histories by black doctors and nurses on the subject of polio.
  • Find interviews of World War II veterans born in Ohio discussing bombing missions.
  • Show personal narratives of jazz musicians of the twentieth century.

Heard together for the first time

The voices of people from diverse groups, famous and ordinary, can at last be heard together. People across time and place tell us about their lives, loves, careers, challenges, accomplishments, spiritual paths, identity struggles, political activities, and countless other life events. Women from around the world discuss life events ranging from childbirth to death of a child. Political figures describe how they became activists. Soldiers write from battlefields, prisons, and hospital deathbeds. Immigrants describe ship passages and first impressions of America. Virtually every subject is addressed, and the words are frank, detailed, and personal.

Publication details

Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online is available on the Web through annual subscription, with prices scaled to materials budget. Libraries that have purchased perpetual rights to one or more of the Alexander Street collections of letters and diaries will pay reduced subscription rates.