Circus World's collection of circus artifacts is the largest in the world and includes over 210 original wagons and vehicles once used by American, English and Irish circuses. Circus World houses an exceptional collection of circus ads and posters, with over 8,650 multi-colored circus posters that range in size from half-sheets to a large 80-sheet Buffalo Bill Wild West poster measuring 9' high and 70' long. The collection also includes thousands of journals, manuscripts, business records, original fine art oil paintings, hand bills, heralds, programs, costumes, personal artifacts of circus performers and a collection of rare photographs, motion picture film and glass-plate negatives.
Founded in 1939, the Circus Historical Society, Inc. (CHS) is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit educational organization. The Society's mission is to preserve, promote and share though education, the history and cultural significance of the circus and allied arts, past and present. Membership includes people from all walks of life including historians, scholars, circus personnel, memorabilia collectors, Americana specialists and just folks who share both a love of the circus and a desire to preserve and disseminate its great and interesting heritage.
And of course GOOGLING! -- try looking for substantial historical societies and special collections -- more than simply hobby enthusiastics - even if they don't make their materials available online you might be able to contact someone and get help.
University Archives and History Collection - some other interesting sub-collections (find the full list here)
SU Oral History Recordings (collection of interviews with prominent women associated with SU as part of an oral history project title Celebrating 70 Years of Women at Seattle University, 1933-2003)
SU Japanese Remembrance Garden Records - (Seattle University Committee for the Japanese Remembrance Garden - contains planning documents, minutes, and reports of the committee (2004-2006). It also includes artifacts, news clippings, photographs and memorabilia relevant to family histories and internment at Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho during World War Two, as well as selected sermons and photographs of Father Leopold H. Tibesar, a Maryknoll priest.)
Chapel of St. Ignatius Collection - The Chapel of St. Ignatius on the campus of Seattle University is an award winning architectural sacred space designed by world renowned architect Steven Holl. The materials in this collection document the history of the Chapel of St. Ignatius from the initial project proposal in 1991 through the design, construction and dedication in 1997. The collection includes architectural drawings, artifacts, committee minutes, graphic materials, moving images, award certificates and textual materials.
Historical index with citations from 375 popular magazines published in the U.S. & Canada from 1890-1920, covering subjects such as current events, business, politics, education, history, sports & science.
Fully searchable online archive of 19th and 20th century political and social history, including Almanacks and other special numbers, as well as, prefaces, epilogues, indexes and other specially produced material from the bound volumes.
Features over 7,500 articles from Oxford's reference works, approximately 100 primary sources with commentaries, over 1,000 images, over 100 maps, over 200 charts and tables, and timelines to guide researchers through the history of African Americans.
Complete facsimile images of over 230 manuscripts written or compiled by women living in the British Isles during the 16th and 17th centuries. Contents include account books, advice, culinary writing, meditation, travel writing, and verse. Perdita manuscripts can be indexed by name, place, genre, and first lines of both poetry and prose.
Complete bibliographic reference to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present.
1964 to present. This extensive database covers over 2,000 journals published worldwide. In addition to covering all key English-language historical journals, America History and Life coverage includes selected historical journals from major countries, state and local history journals, and a targeted selection of hundreds of journals in the social sciences and humanities. Over 90% of the articles included are published in English-language journals. In addition to articles, each year American History and Life includes approximately 6,000 citations of book and media reviews from a selection of over one hundred key journals in US and Canadian history and related fields.
This databases contains digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700.
EEBO contains digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700. From the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare, this incomparable collection now contains about 100,000 of over 125,000 titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640) and Wing's Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700) and their revised editions.
Empire Online covering the period 1492-1962 brings together approximately 70,000 images of original manuscript and printed documents on colonial history, politics, culture and society from libraries and archives around the world.
Primary source manuscripts and secondary essays in Empire Studies including essays by scholars in the field of Empire Studies, exploration logs and journals, correspondence, government documents, maps and photographs Sections cover Cultural Contacts, 1492-1969; Empire Writing and the Literature of Empire; The Visible Empire; Religion and Empire; and Race, Class and Colonialism, 1783-1969.
Access to leading newspapers from the Western Region of the United States including the states of CA, AZ, WA, OR, AK, HI, MT, ID, WY, NV, UT, CO and NM. Includes full text coverage of major Washington newspapers from Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Vancouver, and additional regional sources.
Seattle Public Library and the "Seattle Room"
Seattle Public Librarystaff can help you with your projects! They have the Seattle Room that include their Special Collections and staff available to help you.
The Seattle Collection (at the Central Library) The Seattle Collection contains items about Seattle's history and includes published materials, Seattle city documents, newspaper clippings, maps and atlases, high school yearbooks, oral histories and more than 30,000 photographs, including photos of historic Seattle, Native Americans, streets, businesses and portraits. The collection also features paintings, drawings, metalwork, sculpture, prints and photographs, and includes works by notable local artists such as Paul Horiuchi, George Tsutakawa and Frank Okada.
Aviation History Collection (at the Central Library) The Aviation History Collection focuses on the early days of aviation, especially relating to the design, manufacturing and marketing of airplanes from 1930 to 1950. The collection includes publications from the Boeing, Curtiss and Douglas companies and early materials in German and French. The collection does not include current technical materials. The Aviation History Collection is located in The Maffei Family Aviation Room on Level 7 and is available upon request.
African-American Collection (at the Douglass-Truth Branch) The Douglass-Truth Library houses one of the largest collections of African-American literature and history on the West Coast. A building expansion in 2006 greatly expanded shelf space for the collection. Researchers and students will find many helpful resources. The collection has a strong emphasis on Northwest materials and Seattle-area history with pamphlets, fliers and posters on local leaders and issues. Contemporary titles are regularly added.
Some of the Special Collections are available online:
SPL Special Collection Online The Seattle Public Library's digital collections include digitized materials selected from the Library's special collections. Use the search box at the top of the page to search across all collections, or click the links on the left to view individual collections.
"Special Collections is the Libraries' major resource for rare and archival materials covering a broad range of topics, formats, and periods." Scan down this page to browse their "Research Starting Points".
"MOHAI collects and preserves the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region and beyond. MOHAI believes that the preservation and exploration of Seattle’s past is essential to making effective decisions for its future. From humble beginnings in 1911, MOHAI has grown into the largest private heritage organization in the State of Washington with a collection of over 4 million objects, documents, and photographs from the Puget Sound region’s past."
The Smithsonian Institution network of museums, archives, research units is vast. The Smithsonian Collection Search Center searches "over 8.52 million catalog records of museum objects, and library & archives materials. More than 963,000 of these records contain online images, video and sound files, electronic journals and other online resources." Smithsonian Institution's main website
"The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” The BHL consortium works with the international taxonomic community, rights holders, and other interested parties to ensure that this biodiversity heritage is made available to a global audience through open access principles."
Resources through the National Archives and Library of Congress
Example: "The Deadly Virus" The Influenza Epidemic of 1918: One fifth of the world's population was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history - documents and photos