American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1820-1922: From the New-York Historical Society
An Archive of Americana Collection
An enormous amount of unique and eclectic material related to ideas, events, institutions, and people of the time.
David Lincove, Professor, History, Political Science, Public Affairs & Philosophy Librarian, Ohio State University

Quick Facts

  • Pamphlets capture the diverse attitudes and opinions of often-neglected segments of society
  • More than 25,000 rare items capture a century of controversies, from slavery to suffrage
  • An exceptionally valuable and little-used record of American history, culture and contemporary life


Created to cajole, convince, inform and edify the American people on nearly every issue of the day, pamphlets have had a powerful impact on American life. As America’s population grew rapidly and printing costs declined, the use of pamphlets exploded in the 19th century. Revealing passionate views and perspectives not seen in other print genres, these rare items addressing slavery, suffrage and dozens of other divisive issues include speeches, orations, debates, sermons, treatises, tracts, narratives, poems, songs, memoirs, announcements, legal notices and more.

Race, ethnicity and gender
Now this unique online resource—produced from the New-York Historical Society’s extraordinary collection of pamphlets—provides more than 25,000 short works printed in every region of the United States. Key to the study of race, ethnicity and gender in the 19th and early 20th centuries, these pamphlets span 100 years of American life, from the Jacksonian Era through the dawn of the Jazz Age. Researchers will find outstanding coverage of contentious topics related to politics and government, religion and religious movements, art and entertainment, business and economics, health and medicine, education, immigrants and ethnic groups, American Indians, slavery and the Civil War, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, women, and science and technology.

New research and teaching opportunities
Pamphlets represent a genre of printed materials written by authors from an unusually large socio-economic range. Few Americans in the 19th century could afford to publish bound books; however, many more had the means to print pamphlets. As with broadsides and other ephemeral items, pamphlets are a hard-to-find class of primary source materials, rarely collected and catalogued. More so than the heavily researched more traditional print genres, they offer scholars and students in American history, culture and contemporary life fresh opportunities for insight into a wide spectrum of American society.

An Archive of Americana collection
This invaluable collection of newly digitized pamphlets from one of the world’s leading historical societies will open up a new world of research materials for scholars and students in such disciplines as history, communications, political science, literature, sociology, gender and ethnic studies. American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1820-1922 will be fully integrated into America’s Historical Imprints for seamless searching with Afro-Americana Imprints, American Broadsides and Ephemera, and Early American Imprints.

About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

Image: Louis Lang, Return of the 69th (Irish) Regiment, N.Y.S.M. from the Seat of War, 1862-1863. Oil on canvas. Collection of the New-York Historical Society

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