Archives are unique collections of primary and secondary sources. Most institutions—universities, companies, libraries, governments—gather their official documents into an archive for preservation. They may include: policy papers and memos, product design and documentation, ledgers and reports, maps, photographs, prints, or artwork.
Personal papers and collections of prominent historical figures like art collectors, industry leaders, authors, and scientists, also end up in archives.
Until recently, archives were inaccessible to most historians, unless they spent considerable time and effort in traveling to where the archives were physically located and obtained permission to access, examine, and use the materials.
Today, archives are going digital. All of the archives listed on this page have digitized some, or all, of their collections, so that you can search and view items online.
Start by searching ArchiveGrid to find archives near you, or browse the links below to find digital archives.