The Library provides access for UIUC faculty, staff, and students to several major collections of digitized texts. These are available from the Online Research Resources page off the Library Gateway. Enter the title of the database in the search box and follow the links. Most of these resources require authentication with a UIUC net id.
Black Thought and Culture contains 1300 sources from the 18th century to the present, including esays, pamphlets, letters, articles from journals, interviews (audio and text), and digital images of selected issues of newspapers.
Black Studies Center offers several different types of sources. Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience consists of essays by scholars, organized by topic; timelines; video clips; graphic material (portraits, posters, images of printed documents and manuscripts, photographs, drawings, magazine illustrations); and links to recommended secondary literature. The International Index to Black Periodicals provides coverage of articles published mainly since the mid-20th century. Black Literature Index offers coverage of fiction and poetry by African American authors published between 1827 and 1940. Black Studies Center also links to the digitized version of The Chicago Defender, a newspaper founded in Chicago in 1905 (issues available from 1910).
North American Women’s Letters and Diaries contains writings by hundreds of female authors from the colonial period to the mid-20th century. The 515 texts included in the database are transcribed, rather than reproduced as digital facsimiles, and they are extensively indexed, as well as searchable by keyword. Biographical information is provided for each author, as well as synopses of many of the source documents, reprinted from Joyce Goodfriend’s 1987 bibliography, The Published Diaries and Letters of American Women. Other interesting collections include Gerritsen Collection of Women's History Online, and Women and Social Movements.
Duke University Digital Collections include the well-known Ad*Access, Images of Mainline Protestant Families in the U.S. (coverage of which is primarily post-1950), and more. Much of the content is images, which can be difficult to search. Take advantage of the subject browsing features.
American Decades: Primary Sources. Decade by decade compilation of source material that ranges from religion to popular culture and more.
Gallup Brain is an online collection of polls from the Gallup Survey, which began in 1935. This represents, obviously, a very small portion of the time period you are studying for this class, but the survey frequently covered religion, and you might find this resource useful.
OAIster (pronounced like "oyster") is a catalog of digital objects (images, texts, sound files) from over 1,000 museums, libraries, and cultural heritage institutions that have made their collections digitally available online.
The Library's holdings of primary source material for the study of American religious history are especially rich, and worth exploring. Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions about the kind of material that might be available.