Databases and Archives

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia Gazette

This is a website with full copies of the Virginia Gazette from 1736 to 1780.

Founders Online

A National Archives site providing documents from early America, including diaries and letters.

The Geography of Slavery

a UVA created database of runaway slave and servant advertisements. This database is easy to use and great when researching clothing. Note: the database will search slave ads only unless you click the box telling it to search for servant ads as well!

Internet Archive

This is a hidden jewel indeed. Contains original orderly books and other texts. Free for use.

Library of Congress, American Memory

Contains historical documents of varying kinds.

Library of Congress, George Washington Papers

Contains approximately 152,000 images of original documents including letterbooks, diaries, general correspondence, and military papers. Many are also provided in a transcript form for ease of reading. Collection can be searched or browsed. Includes the October 2, 1779 General Order describing the Army uniform.

Virginia Memory

Digital collections of Virginia history. This is not an 18th century only collection, however there are some maps and governor’s letters which could be helpful.

The Avalon Project

Contains documents in law and history, including the 1776 Articles of War.

Another version of the Writings of George Washington

Edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (1889).

Journals of the Continental Congress

Provided by the Library of Congress, this is a collection of the proceedings of the Continental Congress from September 5, 1774 to March 2, 1789. Included is the 1779 Ordinance for regulating the Cloathing Department for the Armies of the United States. (March 23, 1779). This Ordinance directs Washington to prescribe the uniforms, which he does in his 2 October 1779 General Orders. Note the “Table Image” link.

Galerie des modes et costumes français 1778-1787 : dessinés d’après nature / réimpression accompagnée d’une préface par M. Paul Cornu

French fashion plates from 1778-1787.

The Encyclopedia of Diderot and d’Alembert Collaborative Translation Project

Plates from Diderot’s Encyclopedia.

Hening’s Statutes at Large: Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia from the first session of the Legislature, in the year 1619.

Compiled by William Waller Hening, Transcribed for internet by Freddie L. Spradlin

Probing the Past

Probing the Past is a joint effort from the Roy Rosenzweig Center  for History and New Media, George Mason University, Gunston Hall Plantation, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. This website contains Virginia and Maryland probate inventories from 1740 to 1810. This website allows you to search the inventories using various search features and contains tutorials on how to interpret the information found.

For the names and spellings of many 18th century items see Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. This dictionary can be browsed or searched, although I’ve found that browsing produces better results.

Colonial North American Project at Harvard University

This project contain an archive of original documents from colonial North America. There is also a section of essays written by one of the researchers on the project. Of note, click on the document picture within an individual record to view the whole document. This website is being continuously updated so check back regularly.