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Speeches and transcripts

Speeches and other oral communications on topics such as politics, history, science and business can be vital sources for research. Often you will be looking for transcripts of these speeches as opposed to recordings of the speech itself. The library also has sources for transcripts of radio and television programs, particularly news programs. When accessing text of speeches or programs, be sure to check if the text is a summary, except or the full transcript of the speech or program.

Addison, the Virginia Tech catalog 

Use the Subject search screen and search the headings listed below for books about speeches, compilations of speeches, and speeches on particular subjects.

  • Speeches, addresses, etc.
  • Campaign speeches
  • Eulogies
  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Oratory
  • Recitations
  • Rhetorical criticism
  • Sermons

Use the advanced search screen and include a limit by Subject for the subheadings listed below. Include your speeches's topic or author for narrower results.

  • oratory
  • personal narratives
  • sources

General collections of speeches can be found in call numbers PN6121 and PN6122.

Speech and transcript databases 

Databases that primarily index speeches and transcripts of programs are listed below. Search by author for speeches by that author (also search the author by keyword or subject for articles on that author). Limit by date range for transcripts of specific speeches or programs.

Transcripts Search from LexisNexis
Search transcripts of radio and television broadcasts. Sources include ABC News Now, ABC News Transcripts, ABC Transcripts (Australia), Al-Jazeera, American Public Media, Burrelle's Transcripts, CBS News Transcripts, Channel NewsAsia, CNBC/Dow Jones Business Video, CNBC News, CNN Financial Network Transcripts, CNN International, CNN Transcripts, CQ Congressional Testimony, CQ Other speech databasesTranscriptions, CTV Television, Dan Rather Reports, EuroNews - English Version, FD (Fair Disclosure) Wire, FDA ADVISORY COMMITTEE HEARINGS, FDCH News Service Capitol Report, Federal News Service, Fox News Network, Global Broadcast Database - English (Full Text), MSNBC, National Narrowcast Network Transcripts, National Public Radio (NPR), NBC News, Official Kremlin International News Broadcasts, Presidential Campaign Press Materials, The Charlie Rose Show, The Montel Williams Show, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and The Nightly Business Report.
Oral History Online from Alexander Street Press
Comprehensive online index of oral history collections in English, this database provides access to full text, audio, video, or bibliographic citations for thousands of interviews from all over the world. The narratives cover diverse subjects, including civil rights and race relations, labor history, African American history, women's history, immigration studies, political history, American Indian history, regional history, and more. Oral History Online is also an index to free oral history information on the Web. Working with archives, repositories and individuals, the database has indexed oral histories held by organizations around the world. Advanced search options offer numerous means to limit search results.
Presidential Speech Archive from the Scripps Library and Multimedia Archive
The Scripps Library, through cooperation with various presidential libraries, has been collecting some of the more important presidential speeches of the past 60 years. These speeches are available in their entirety in full audio. When possible, we have also provided transcripts of the speeches. Recently we have expanded our collection to include the full text of some of the more important presidential speeches from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Historic Documents from CQ Pres
Full text of primary sources covering the most significant U.S. events of the year, organized in annual volumes starting with 1972. These documents include presidential speeches, international agreements, Supreme Court decisions, U.S. governmental reports, scientific findings, and cultural discussions. The collection is searchable, or browsable by topic, volume, or alphabetical index.
Other speech databases

General interest databases 

Many general interest databases will contain transcripts of speeches and other forms of oral communication, often as published in newspapers or magazines. Some databases will allow limiting to speeches or transcripts as a document type; if not, include terms like speech* as a search term.

Academic Search Complete from EBSCOhost
Try searching the speech-giver or topic of the speech as a subject and limiting by Document Type to Speech. Also includes content from Vital Speeches of the Day from 1934-present, which reprints 8-12 speeches in each issue. Use the Search Within This Publication feature to search this publication.
LexisNexis Academic
Use to find speeches reprinted in newspapers and magazines. (Most publications are indexed from 1980s to present.) Use the Power Search screen and try limiting news searches by Section, using sections such as Byline, Name, or Person.
American Memory from the Library of Congress
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. 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.
ABI/Inform from ProQuest
Excellent source for speeches given by executives and business leaders. Limit by Document Type to Speech/Lecture.
See also newspaper & magazine databases
Check the dates of coverage for each database listed, especially when searching for contemporary accounts and transcripts of speeches.

Subject specific databases 

Speeches by experts in various fields can be reprinted or analyzed in academic journals and other academic sources. These sources will be indexed in subject specific databases found through the Subject guides . Search the speech's author and the topic of the speech. Bibliographies of analyses may give references to sources of the text of the speech.

Print indexes and sources of speeches 

Speeches can be found in a wide variety of sources, including many not indexed by online databases. Use print indexes to locate sources (search Addison by the source title to see if it is owned locally, otherwise Login to ILLiad to request the title.

Speech Index
Covers speeches published between 1900 and 1978. Indexing is by author, subject, and type of speech.
Documents of American history
Extensive compilation of documents, including speeches, spanning five centuries of American history. Covers a diverse range of speeches, from pre-Revolutionary War resolutions to President Nixon's statement following the 1970 invasion of Cambodia.
Great speeches of the 20th century
CD that includes sixty-one historically important speeches by prominent 20th century American figures in politics, government, sports, civil rights, the women's movement, the armed forces, and the space program. Includes seven speeches by world leaders such as King Edward VIII, Winston Churchill, and Adolph Hitler.
Index to American women speakers, 1828-1978
In addition to books, this source also indexes speeches in periodicals, government documents, and conference proceedings.
Representative American speeches
Each volume contains 10 to 20 representative speeches of the year. Check at the back of the latest volume for information on using the cumulative author indexes. This source is also indexed in Speech Index and its supplements (see separate entry).
Video encyclopedia of the 20th century
A collection of 38 laser discs (equipment to play LDs is available in Newman Library) motion pictures and videotape recordings documenting the social, political and cultural history of the 20th century. Includes many recordings of speeches. Includes a printed index with volume and time code needed to located a specific recording.
Voices of multicultural America
Notable speeches delivered by African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans, 1790-1995

 Freely available websites

Many websites provide the full text of speeches (search Google using the speaker's full name and the speech topic). Also check the website of the speaker's organizational affiliation (such as political parties or business sites). Sites listed here provide large archives of speeches.

American Rhetoric
Over 5,000 full text, streaming audio, or video versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, other recorded media events, and a declaration or two.
Gift of Speech: Women's Speeches From Around the World from Sweet Briar College
primarily collects speeches by living women. The second collection goal is to include speeches made since 1900, but older material has been added in response to popular request. It is doubtful that speeches made before 1800 will ever be a part of this site.
History Channel Speeches
Hear recordings of famous speeches from the twentieth century.
Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents
Not all articles are speeches, but most are speeches by the U.S. President.

Search Summon for speeches/transcripts

More search options