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Open Educational Resources: History

Library Resources for History

We provide access to content such as online books, journals and image collections that can be used to lower or remove student textbook costs for students.  To learn more, see the following:

American Yawp

Supplemental Materials

OER Commons

The OER Commons is a single search source that pulls from multiple OER collections, including MERLOT and Connexions.  It is a great first step in an OER search, but often more results can be found by searching the specific collection. is a non-profit organization sponsored by the Saylor Foundation, they are focused on bringing "freely available education to all."  Founded in 1999 by Michael Saylor, they have created online courses curated from open content found on the Web.  The courses are marketed toward students who just want to learn, and are working on some methods for offering credentials. For faculty, Saylor is a great site to start your search for OER by subject. 

The Public Domain Review

The Public Domain Review is an online journal an not-for-profit project dedicated to promoting and celebrating the public domain in all its richness and variety. All works eventually fall out of copyright - from classics works of art to absentminded doodles - and in doing so they enter the public domain . . . Our aim is to help readers explore this rich terrain - like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance to an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond.  -The Public Domain Review

All material featured in The Public Domain Review is in the Public Domain or openly licensed.

Public Domain

Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. The DPLA aims to expand this crucial realm of openly available materials, and make those riches more easily discovered and more widely usable and used.  -DPLA


  • Catherine Casserly, CEO, Creative Commons
  • Paul Courant, Dean of Libraries, University of Michigan
  • Carl H. Pforzheimer, Professor and Librarian, Harvard University
  • Laura DeBonis, Former Director of Library Partnerships for Google Book Search

The copyright status of items in the DPLA varies. Many items are in the public domain. For individual rights information, please check the Rights field in the metadata or follow the link to the digital object on the content provider’s website for more information.

Public Domain Symbol

American Memory  -Library of Congress

American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America, serving the public as a resource for education and lifelong learning.  -American Memory

Patrons desiring to use materials from this website bear the responsibility of making individualized determinations as to whether privacy and publicity rights are implicated by the nature of the materials and how they use such materials.  Legal Information

Presidential Speech Archive  -Miller Center, University of Virginia

The Scripps Library, through cooperation with various presidential libraries, has been collecting some of the most important presidential speeches in American history. These speeches all have transcripts, and some are available in their entirety in audio or video form.


On this page you will find several open History textbooks along with supplemental material and a few lecture videos.

The purpose of these discipline specific pages is to showcase content that might be of interest to faculty who are considering adopting open educational resources for use in their classes. This list of content is by no means exhaustive.  The nature of open educational resources is very collaborative and it is in that spirit that we encourage any comments about the content featured on this page or recommendations of content that are not already listed here.


Creative Commons


The American Yawp

The American Yawp offers a free and online, collaboratively built, open American history textbook designed for college-level history courses. Unchecked by profit motives or business models, and free from for-profit educational organizations,The American Yawp is by scholars, for scholars. All contributors—experienced college-level instructors—volunteer their expertise to help democratize the American past for twenty-first century classrooms.

The American Yawp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.


Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg serves digital versions of a variety of books including fiction, non-fiction, classic, law, and technical. The Gutenberg Project serves only books whose copyright has expired or has been released for unlimited non-commercial use.

Public Domain

US History/English colonies  -Wikibooks

Wikibooks is for textbooks, annotated texts, instructional guides, and manuals. These materials can be used in a traditional classroom, an accredited or respected institution, a home-school environment, or for self-learning.

Wikibooks are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.


American History

This online textbook is one of a series of three.  It begins by describing Native American Society as it was directly before colonization.  This text comprehensively discusses, all topics of American history up to the turn of the twenty first century.


  • Carol Berkin Ph.D., History, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Ira Berlin, History, University of Maryland
  • Joseph Ellis Ph.D., History, Mt. Holyoke College

This text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Ancient Civilizations

This online text comprehensively addresses all major ancient civilization including Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, and China.


  • Carol Berkin Ph.D., History, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Ira Berlin, History, University of Maryland
  • Joseph Ellis Ph.D., History, Mt. Holyoke College

This text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Open Textbook Collections

Find more History textbooks in these collections

Lecture Videos

World War II History  -Harvard Extension School

The course World War and Society in the Twentieth Century: World War II is a thematic exploration of the war and its time through feature films, primary sources, and scholarly interpretations. It seeks to provide a means for analyzing and evaluating what one reads or sees about World War II in terms of historical accuracy and for gaining a broader understanding of different perspectives.  -Harvard Extension School


Charles Maier, Ph. D., Harvard University, History

Content at the Harvard Extension School is available for non-commercial use, but remains under copyright. 

History - Open Yale

The Department of History is home to one of the most popular majors on the Yale campus and encompasses the histories of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America. Courses range in focus from the earliest recorded historical periods up through the modern day. Students are required to study history from a variety of geographical, chronological, and methodological perspectives, utilizing source materials wherever possible. The department also houses the History of Medicine and Science major.


  • Keith E. Wrightson, Ph. D., Yale, History
  • Frank Snowden, Ph. D., Yale, History
  • John Merriman, Ph. D., Yale, History
  • Joanne Freeman, Ph. D., Yale, History

Lectures and course material within Open Yale Courses are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Roman Architecture  - Open Yale

The Department of the History of Art at Yale offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in art, architecture, and visual culture in their social and historical contexts. These courses are not characterized by a single methodological approach, but by a commitment to the firsthand investigation of works of art and to theoretically sophisticated multidisciplinary analysis. The undergraduate curriculum includes courses on Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and modern European and American art, in addition to courses on pre-Columbian, African, and Asian art. Students are encouraged to make use of original materials at the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art.


Diana E. E. Kleiner, Ph. D., Yale, Art History

Lectures and course material within Open Yale Courses are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Creative Commons BY-NC-SA


All original content on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All linked-to content adheres to its respective license.

Creative Commons License