Creating Comics: Historical Reference Sites


Any Day in History
Historic Events & Birthdates that occurred on a selected day of the year.

History Timelines
A huge guide to timelines on the web

Archives and Manuscript Collections
This is a selective guide to finding archives and manuscript collections. It includes catalogs and finding aids at Columbia University in the US, as well as US national catalogues and databases. It also includes a list of national archives and libraries, college and university collections, and historical society archives.

The Fathom Archive
Although visitors are no longer be able to purchase courses through Fathom, Columbia University is providing the Fathom archive so that interested users may continue to access to the complete range of free content developed for Fathom by its member institutions. The material includes features on Arts & Humanities, Business & Economics, History & Society, Science & Nature and Technology

The Best of History Site
Curious about Ice Age art? Want to see pictures of the Bayeux Tapestry? Interested in early US imperialism? Wondering what life was like during the European Renaissance? You can find all this and much more in the 700-plus sites carefully reviewed in this portal for students, teachers, and history buffs of all ages. Teachers can even plan lessons with help from the site.
While concentrating mostly on European and US history, the site also does a thorough job of covering everything from prehistory to art history, as well as presenting an outstanding section on maps. Browsing this site is like peeking through a wide window to the past. (This review by Ken Rutowski)
This UK-based resource features more than 25,000 hostory-relatyed sources including libraries, museums, galleries and specialist organisations.

Old UK Photos

Started in June 2006, this non commercial site site features old photographs of the United Kingdom from the 1890’s right through to the 1960’s. The webmaster, Phil Evans, hopes it may well grow into one of the UK’s largest photographic sites.

Underwater Archaeology
Beneath the waters of the Mediterranean lie vast amounts of relics from the region’s maritime history. Undisturbed for centuries, these items are painstakingly uncovered, identified, catalogued, photographed, and analyzed by teams of intrepid marine archaeologists from France and other countries. This site highlights some daring expeditions and pays homage to past discoverers who brought the complicated craft of modern diving to the fore. Like their dry-land counterparts — these marine archaeologists are concerned with more than human artifacts. While visiting the undersea world, they also note the unique topography of a site and survey the terrain surrounding the excavations.

Famous Monkeys from History


The Stone Pages
Stonehenge, stone circles, dolmens, ancient standing stones, cairns, barrows, hill forts and archaeology of megalithic Europe.


Lycian Turkey
Southwest Turkey is the home of the ancient Lycians, one of the most enigmatic people of antiquity.  Although little historical record has been left behind them, what has been discovered reveals a fascinating people culturally distinct from the rest of the ancient world.  Around 20 major sites remain today with the Lycians’ unusual funerary architecture dominating the breath-taking unspoiled land of Lycia.


The Illustrated Roman History

• Ninth Legion sites
Info on the Ninth legion which, it turns out, apparently never disappeared mysteriously at all. That’s a another historical myth trashed.
Legio IX Hispana is available for professional displays and film work. They are currently capable of providing up to 2 dozen or more fully equipped Roman Soldiers. In addition they are available for consultation and as a source for historically accurate military equipment. This page includes detail of ancient history.


Arab Culture and Civilization
(Found by KenRadio): Inspired by widespread misconceptions after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack, this site serves as a basic primer on Arab culture. Though aimed at college students, the many readings, audio and video clips, images, and bibliographies will give anyone a deeper understanding of this region and its culture. Take a detailed look at the Middle East’s history through a timeline from before the birth of Muhammad to the end of 2000. The ethnicity and identity section asks the tricky question, “Who are the Arabs?” Islam is a huge part of Arab identity, and the ten things everyone needs to know about Islam offer an excellent introduction to the religion. Literature, performing arts, architecture, and cuisine are also featured. You’ll even find stand-up comedians in the section on Arab Americans. As the diverse Arab world constantly evolves, this web project seeks to grow and properly present a dynamic people.


• British History Online

The History of the British Pound

The British pound, also now known as the pound sterling, is generally considered to be the world’s oldest currency that is still actively used and circulated. It originated during the 760s when King Offa of the Mercian kingdom (present-day Staffordshire) introduced the silver penny into the coinage of the time. Inspired by the Carolingian system, 240 of the new pennies equaled a pound in silver. Additional subdivisions of coins included farthings and shillings. Shortly after introducing this system in Mercia, the surrounding Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of the Heptarchy followed suit and also adopted it. Eventually the pound became the standard monetary unit in the region.
This web site was created by students at the Lexington Middle School in Nebraska whose teacher, Michelle Green, told me had come across this page of history links on its old home on downthetubes and used the list as a jump point for their own research into British currency. I’m delighted to have been able to help their research in a very small way.


The Society for Creative Anachronism
An international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating pre-17th-century European history. All persons interested in such study are invited to use these pages to obtain information about the SCA.

The Ottomans
(Sourced via KenRadio): When building an empire across continents and oceans was the “in” thing, the Ottoman empire was one of the most powerful and longest running dynasties. From 1300 to the early 20th century, the Ottomans built their empire through war and autocratic rule. This site explores the development of the empire in fascinating detail. Trace the history of the empire by century and focus on the dynasty crumbling in the early 1900s due to rifts from within and attacks from with out. Follow the story of the Ottoman armies and their battles to expand their reach. You can read up on the more than 30 sultans who ruled the empire and the harems that played a prominent role in governing. Even if history isn’t your bag, this brisk tour through an empire from the not-so-distant past makes for a compelling read. aims to become the leading information portal regarding the history, military, culture and arts of the Ottoman Empire that has once dominated a large territory from Egypt to Russia, from India to Austria. will be sponsorship oriented non-commercial web site which will be followed by, a platform that will trade Ottoman art, and, the future home of the interactive game “Constantinople 1453”. is initiated and founded by LuckyEye Interactive and Netideas Capital Limited and is written and edited thanks to the gigantic efforts of Mr. Korkut Ozgen, born in Istanbul and a graduate of History Faculty at Bogazici University, Istanbul. His primary interest is on the non-Muslim communities of the Ottoman Society in general, Jews of the Ottoman Empire in particular.


Samuel Pepys
Information on the great diarist.


The Victorian Web
A thorough overview of the Victorian period

Black Ships & Samurai
Sourced from KenRadio: This fascinating site from two MIT professors examines the first encounter of America and Japan on Japanese soil. Until the arrival of Commodore Perry in 1853, Japan was largely a closed society. Here you can examine documents and artwork side-by-side to see how the Japanese regarded their American visitors and vice versa. The detail-filled and thoroughly researched exhibit will take you back to a time when steam ships were state of the art and feudalism ruled the land. Don’t miss scrolling through visual narratives for an engaging look at the meeting. Even if you’re not a history buff, this look back at a seminal moment in American and Japanese history will have you clicking full steam ahead.

• 19th Century Newspapers
British Library:
18/6/04 via DotJournalism: A digital archive of nearly two million 19th century newspaper pages is being developed by the British Library and the Joint Intelligence Systems Committee (JISC), believed to be the largest project of its kind ever undertaken. It is designed primarily to be an educational resource.
The British Library’s current archive, based in Hendon, North London contains more than 52,000 newspapers, most of which are print and only accessible to visitors to the library’s reading rooms.
Project organisers expect it will take around two years to digitise the newspaper pages from microfilm records. The archive is expected to be launched in September 2006, with a pilot scheme planned for early next year.
A number if similar initiatives are underway around the world, including the national digital Newspaper Programme in the US.


This incredibly rich site offers a historical look at the emergence of organised crime since 1890, focusing primarily on gangs of the early 20th-century. The database overflows with information on organised-crime families and notable gang-related historic events. The gallery, however, contains the majority of the content, including a fascinating collection of photos and mugshots of famous gangsters. Delve further into the site and you’ll find flow charts of Mafia families, including an incredibly detailed look at the Gambino Family.
Other site highlights include the newspaper clipping archive and a collection of official documents, including the fascinating Senate Testimony of Joseph D. Pistone (aka, Donnie Brasco). Pistone was the FBI Special Agent who infiltrated the La Cosa Nostra for six years, resulting in 200 indictments and over 100 convictions of organized-crime members.

Pathe News
Online archive of 20th century film.


The Second World War Site
These pages are intended to be a general World War Two resource, providing background information and useful and interesting facts.

Great Airplanes of World War 2


Stefan Landsberger’s Chinese Propaganda Poster Pages
This site is dedicated to the Chinese propaganda poster as it has been produced from 1949 till the present day. Features over 1300 posters to date.


• The Tacky Times
(Found by KneRadio): Whether screenshotyou’re mad about pantomime, stamp collecting, or full-coverage beachwear, this online magazine “unconcerned with current issues and affairs” has your number. In celebration of all things kitschy and outdated, the “unresponsible editors” of Tacky Times have unearthed a joyful array of articles from yesteryear that are sure to raise the eyebrows of even the most worldly modern-day culture aficionado. For kicks, pay homage to your favorite ’50s pinup or hop along for a ride in the magical floating sidecar — but if you’re considering letting your teenage daughter flutter off to Paris unattended, you may want to think twice after hearing about Lily’s scandalous turn-of-the-century shenanigans. Is that a glimpse of ankle we see?


The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library has launched an online gallery containing over 275,000 images from its collection, offering free downloads of images such as 16th century maps, Depression-era photography and rare illustrated books by writers like William Blake. The library said it will update the archive monthly and plans to eventually offer 500,000 items.


The History of Pantomime
Pantomime, traditionally, is a Christmas entertainment intended particularly for children. It is an art form that the rest of the world thinks is peculiarly British, claiming, in a puzzled fashion, not to understand it at all. In fact, it is derived in part from the Italian commedia del’arte , from which several of the stock characters of pantomime have evolved. Harlequinades, as these performances were known in England, were played as after pieces to a long evening’s entertainment of farces and tragedies. Read More…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.