Answered By: Erin McDaniel
Last Updated: Jun 08, 2016     Views: 12

We have lots of resources for history research, including articles and primary sources. I've linked below to libguides that have search tips and links to databases.

Primary sources are records from the past, written or recorded at the time. They can be letters, diaries, government documents, autobiographies, works of literature, photographs, oral histories, film, video, audio, newspaper articles and artifacts. It will usually not say if it is a primary source, you will have to decide for yourself if it is a primary source.

American History libguide
Some of the best sources for primary sources are archives, library and college web sites. We have a lot of great ones collected in our American History libguide. There is a tab for Primary history sources on the US in general, and then for each era designated by the tabs you will find more primary sources specific to that era:

Books & eBooks with Primary Sources
For that era you will find books, eBooks with primary sources. The books and eBooks with primary sources have a scroll icon next to them, and all the Google books listed are primary sources. 

Primary Sources on the Internet 
Eyewitness accounts, maps and of course the Primary Sources box are all primary sources.

Searching for Primary Sources on Specific Subjects: Library Catalog or Google
The best places to look are the library's catalog for books or using Google on the Internet. When you are searching for primary sources, adding the term primary source or primary document might work, but there are other terms you can add that may be more successful. You can use the terms below with offrom with the name of an individual or event. For instance papers of John Pierpont Morgan or John Pierpont Morgan archives.

  • journals
  • papers
  • correspondence
  • autobiography
  • documents
  • oral history
  • eyewitness accounts
  • first hand account
  • archives

For articles, you can use some of the same databases and libguides mentioned above. You can also go to our A-Z Databases libguide, linked below, and select the History tab. There you will find several good databases for researching history topics.

Academic Search Complete, American History Online, and ProQuest are all good databases to try.

You can also visit the American History libguide mentioned above. The tabs at the top have resources organized by format, including articles. The libguide homepage links to specific time periods and topics. Click on the appropriate libguide, then use the tabs to locate resources.

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