It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
This resource allows you to search for specific journal titles in the OWHL's collection and see which databases have the full text articles.
Primary Source Types
Messages and Papers
Other Non-Text Materials
Primary & Secondary Sources
Primary Source vs. Secondary Source
A primary source is a document that shows direct, immediate or
firsthand knowledge of a subject or event. It is a document written at
the time or on the scene where an event occurred.
Secondary sources are those writings without direct knowledge of a topic or event. These include biographies, monographs, and general periodical articles.
Secondary sources are written by people who did not witness or
experience an event but have a great deal of knowledge about the topic.
Writers often use primary sources in their writing of secondary
Always do reading in secondary sources before looking for primary sources. Often times, information in secondary sources will lead you to a primary source. For example, an article in a reference book might reference a speech or letter written by the person you are researching.
Finding Primary Sources
You can find primary sources for this topic in three places:
Books. Many of our E-Books have primary sources in them. Look for words in the book's title like "a documentary history" or "sources." Also look for clues within the text like block quotes and distinct sections with a different author.
Databases. Many of the databases you looked at in the Reference Sources tab have primary sources within them. Those with primary sources are relisted below. Try playing with search filters to make sure you are looking at primary sources in the search results.
Websites. Below are a few websites with primary sources. Make sure to note the difference between any introductory text and the primary source itself.
If you're not sure if you're looking at a primary source, just ask a librarian for help!
This database contains over 1,100 periodicals that first began publishing between 1740 and 1940, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children’s and women’s magazines, and many other historically-significant periodicals.
This digital archive of primary sources provides access to a wide variety of documents, from personal narratives, pamphlets, addresses, political speeches, monographs, and sermons to plays, songs, poetic and fictional works published between the 17th and late 19th centuries.