While compiling by preliminary primary source bibliography, I searched the web for digitized collections of 19th century newspapers that illuminate and contextualize Greenwich Village at mid-century and came across a fantastic online resource: The “Making of America” collection.
“Making of America” reflects the collaborative effort between Cornell University and the University of Michigan in developing a thematically-related digital library that documents American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction using an extensive body of primary sources. Cornell selected and scanned 109 monographs (267 volumes) and 22 journals (955 volumes) with imprints primarily between 1840 – 1900, making them available online while the University of Michigan digitized approximately 1,600 books and ten journals with imprints primarily between 1850 – 1877 making them available through the present system.
Both the Cornell and U. Michigan portals allow general keywords searches that crosscut the various primary documents contained within the collections, and enable full-text searches of the issues (for example, I browsed the site’s Putnam’s Monthly collection, finding its references to the daguerreotype, a photographic process advanced by notable Greenwich Villagers, Samuel Morse, John Draper, Mathew Brady, etc.). The site permits users to view the sources in image, text, and pdf formats, facilitating easy reading and cut-and-paste capabilities. I highly recommend this web resource for those researching 19th century Greenwich Village, at least as an idea-generator for a specific topic or time period.
http://dlxs2.library.cornell.edu:80/m/moa/ (for Cornell’s site)
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/moagrp/ (for U. Michigan’s site)