Most University libraries have begun digitizing much of their special collections materials for use by those outside of the University setting. While many may specialize in local or regional collections - many go beyond the local into the truly global. Try a site search <topic>site.usc.edu and see what you find. You might just be amazed!
Over 6 million objects digitized for public use from ancient art to modern manuscripts and even audio/visual material.
The cool part is that you can use their new API Library cloud application to do things like zooming in on images, panning, and compare multiple images side-by-side.
Every subject has a history - and a lot of those subject are covered here with incredible images. Take a look!