Declamation Day Resources

Click here to see the list of materials on reserve in the library.

This online database contains thousands of full-text essays, plays, poems, stories, and speeches with extensive biographic detail and critical analysis. Covers all eras from ancient to contemporary. When searching, make sure to check the box next to “to documents with full text.”

Or, you can try one of these web sites:


This award-winning website of the Academy of American Poets contains thousands of poems as well as hundreds of poet biographies, essays, interviews, and poetry recordings.  The database of poems is searchable by keyword, title, poet’s name, movement (e.g. “Jazz poetry” or “Victorian”), theme, and form (e.g. “Ode” or “Elegy”).  One can browse poems by first line and by occasion (e.g. “Love” or “Grief”) and can search for poets from specific geographic areas.

Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization “committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture” and the publisher of Poetry magazine.  Their online poetry archive includes thousands of poems that can be searched by poet, title, first line, theme, occasion, subject, and glossary term (e.g. “Aubade” or “Haiku”).

American Verse Project
This is a collaborative project between the University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative (HTI) and the University of Michigan Press and includes an electronic archive of volumes of American poetry prior to 1920. It can be searched by word, poem title, or author.

A free database with access to over 310,000 poems from over 24,000 poets. Searchable by poet name, poem title, or poem text.

Poetry 180
This site is provided by the Library of Congress and features one poem for each of the 180 days of a typical American high school year.

This database includes American and English works between 1250 and 1920 and offers numerous anthologies including “The Oxford Book of English Verse,” the “Yale Book of American Verse” and “Modern American and British Poetry.”

Poetry Out Loud
This web site sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation contains a database of poems that can be browsed by poet, title, first line, and form.  The database also offers keyword searching.

Representative Poetry Online
This online collection of poetry from 1912 to the present has been edited by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto. It is indexed by poet, poem title and first line.

Poetry Season - Poems A-Z (BBC)
A collection of poems selected by the BBC.

Canadian Poetry Archive
Features selected poems from over 100 early English- and French-language Canadian poets. These poems were digitized from public domain anthologies found in the National Library of Canada and represent some of Canada’s most notable poetry from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Internet Poetry Archive
Includes poems by Seamus Heaney, Yusef Komunyakaa, Philip Levine, Czeslaw Milosz, Robert Pinsky, Margaret Walker and Richard Wilbur.

Australian Poetry Library
Provides access to Australian poetry, including over 42,000 poems by 170 authors.

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A collection of more than 5,000 speeches compiled by Dr. Michael E. Eidenmuller, Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Texas at Tyler.

History and Politics Out Loud
HPOL (History and Politics Out Loud) is a searchable multimedia database delivering authoritative and significant audio relevant to American history and politics. This project is supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Teaching With Technology Program in collaboration with Michigan State University and the National Gallery of the Spoken Word.

Inaugural Addresses of the President of the United States
A collection of all of the inaugural address of the Presidents of the United States from George Washington to Barack Obama.

Notable Speeches by U.S. Women
A collection of notable speeches and addresses by American women, 1849–present

Notable Speeches by African Americans
Includes notable speeches by African Americans, from Benjamin Banneker to Barack Obama

Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches
This site, sponsored by AMERICAN RADIOWORKS® (the national documentary unit of American Public Media) contains text and audio of great African American speeches.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project
Contains a selection of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous speeches and sermons.

World Famous Orations
Digitized version of the 1906 anthology, The World’s Famous Orations, edited by William Jennings Bryan.  Contains 281 speeches by 213 rhetoricians.

Gifts of Speech Project
Gifts of Speech is a non-profit project, sponsored by Sweet Briar College, that provides access to speeches by contemporary women from around the world.

Commencement Addresses
A selection of commencement addresses from 1936 to 2011.

Presidential Speech Archive (Scripps Library, University of Virginia)
A collection of some of the most important presidential speeches in American history.

The History Place - Great Speeches Collection
A collection of memorable speeches from around the world.

Famous Speeches in History (History.com)
Includes audio and video of famous presidential, war, civil rights, sports, and space exploration speeches.

Famous speeches from history (Toastmasters)
Provides transcripts of several famous speeches.

TED (Speeches listed by theme)
TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted. Talks include ‘Is there a God?,” “How the mind works,” and “Animals that amaze.”

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The Monologue Archive
A collection of public domain monologues that can be browsed by playwright or by category: comic, dramatic, and classical. 

Shakespeare’s Monologues
This database contains women’s and men’s monologues from all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies.  It also contains the text of several sonnets.

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