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Open Educational Resources: History

This site is designed to introduce OER initiatives, explain creative commons licensing and OER, and to help you get started searching for Open Educational Resources for teaching and learning.

MSUB Library Resources for History

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


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. 


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.


History in the Making: A History of the People of the United States of America to 1877  -University of North Georgia

Prior to its publication, History in the Making underwent a rigorous double blind peer review, a process that involved over thirty scholars who reviewed the materially carefully, objectively, and candidly in order to ensure not only its scholarly integrity but also its high standard of quality.

This book provides a strong emphasis on critical thinking about US History by providing several key features in each chapter. Learning Objectives at the beginning of each chapter help students to understand what they will learn in each chapter.  Before You Move On sections at the end of each main section are designed to encourage students to reflect on important concepts and test their knowledge as they read. In addition, each chapter includes Critical Thinking Exercises that ask the student to deeply explore chapter content, Key Terms, and a Chronology of events.  -University of North Georgia


This work is licensed by The University System of Georgia under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported 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. 


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 colinization.  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

More . . .

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


American Government

Beginning with the nature of government, this text covers all of the main topics of government including federalism, congress, bureaucracy, and civil rights.  


Carol Berkin Ph.D., History, CUNY Graduate Center

Ira Berlin, History, University of Maryland

Joseph Ellis Ph.D., History, Mt. Holyoke College

More . . .

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


Ancient Civilizations

This online text comprehsneively 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

More . . .

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

Open Textbook Collections

Find more History textbooks in these collections



Open Textbook Library

The Open Textbook Library is a collection of open textbooks that features reviews written by professors.  A project of the University of Minnesota, The Open Textbook Library provides a review rubric for faculty to use when evaluating textbooks and displays them for the benefit of potential adopters. 

College Open Textbooks

The College Open Textbooks Collaborative, a collection of twenty-nine educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges, is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. This includes providing training for instructors adopting open resources, peer reviews of open textbooks, and mentoring online professional networks that support for authors opening their resources, and other services.  -College Open Textbooks


MERLOT is a collection of online resources curated by a community of faculty, staff, and students of higher education.  This subset of the MERLOT collection features openly licensed textbooks for use by students and faculty.  MERLOT allows its users to rate materials and comment on specific resources.

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.  This collection is recommended for OER searches for History by Laurie Schrivner, History Librarian because it includes content from the Library of Congress, American History Project, History Matters, and the WGBH Open Vault.  Read more about the OER Commons. 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. This collection is recommended for OER searches for History by Laurie Schrivner, History Librarian because 

Read more about

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.


Digital Publlic 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.


Franklin Papers  -American Philosophical Society and Yale University

This, the Digital Edition of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin serves text of published papers and unverified transcriptions of unpublished material.  The texts are fully searchable and are indexed by volume, correspondent name, and date.  The Franklin Papers contain biographical sketches of all Franklin's correspondents.  -The Franklin Papers

These writings are more than two hundred years old and should be considered to be in the public domain. Nevertheless, the Terms of Franklin Papers should be considered before reproducing any of these materials for commercial purposes or on a scale beyond "fair use".


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.


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. See the Harvard Extension School's terms of use


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.


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.