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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.
Types of Primary Sources
- Travel Accounts
- Messages and Papers
- Government Documents
- Magazine/Newspaper Articles
- Other Non-Text Materials
Primary Sources in Databases
ALWAYS use the date range feature when searching for primary source newspaper articles. An article is only a primary source if it was published at the time in which an event took place.
Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
Search and read full text articles from 28 historical newspapers:
• The Atlanta Constitution (1868-1984)
• Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003)
• The Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988)
• The Baltimore Sun (1837-1987)
• The Boston Globe (1872-1984)
• Chicago Defender (1909-1975)
• Chicago Tribune (1849-1992)
• The Christian Science Monitor (1908-2003)
• Cleveland Call and Post (1934-1991)
• Detroit Free Press (1831-1922)
• The Guardian and The Observer (1791-2003)
• Hartford Courant (1764-1990)
• Indianapolis Star (1903-1922)
• The Irish Times and The Weekly Irish Times (1859-2015)
• Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005)
• Los Angeles Times (1881-1989)
• New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993)
• New York Times (1851-2014)
• New York Tribune (1841-1922)
• Norfolk Journal and Guide (1916-2003)
• Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001)
• Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002)
• San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922)
• The Scotsman (1817-1950)
• The St. Louis Post Dispatch (1874-1922)
• The Times of India (1838-2007)
• The Wall Street Journal (1889-1999)
• The Washington Post (1877-1999)
Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers (Gale)
This database provides full text access to hundreds of 19th century U.S. newspapers.
Gale Primary Sources
Search across 19th Century US Newspapers, Liberty Magazine Historical Archives (1924-50), Smithsonian Collections, The Illustrated London News Historical Archive (1842-2003) and The Times Digital Archive (1785-2009).
Liberty Magazine (1924-1950) (Gale)
The digital archive for Liberty Magazine, a popular press magazine that covered American popular culture and important topics of the day.
Nation Archive (EBSCO)
Established July 6, 1865, The Nation offers a 135-year archive of reporting opinion and criticism. It is an immensely important clearinghouse of primary source material covering the history of politics, culture, books and the arts – in America and around the world.
Women's Magazine Archive (ProQuest)
An archival database with the full backfiles of leading women’s interest consumer magazines, including Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and more. Coverage ranges from the late-19th century through to 2005.
Vogue Archive (ProQuest)
The complete searchable archive of American Vogue, from the first issue in 1892 to the current month, reproduced in high-resolution color page images.
This is a primary source-centric database that covers American history from the 19th century through the early 20th century. Search for newspapers, eyewitness accounts, and more for events such as the Civil War, women's suffrage, and the abolitionist movement. It also contains a collection of African American newspapers from 1827-1909.
Annals of American History (Britannica)
This database provides access to primary sources from all aspects of American history, and includes speeches, memoirs, poems, historical accounts, and more.
Daily Life Through History
This comprehensive collection of primary and reference sources provides direct insight into the social history of societies ranging from the Australian Aborigines all the way to 21st-century China.
Cold War: Global Perspectives on East-West Tensions, 1945-1991
Translated sources and analysis from around the world providing comprehensive coverage of the conflict that drove global politics from the end of World War II to the early 1990s.
A digital library of over two million images from some of the world's leading museums, archives, scholars, and artists.
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. It is 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."
The American Presidency Project
The American Presidency Project contains 76,391 documents related to the study of the Presidency.
Automobile in American Life and Society
This website from the University of Michigan at Dearborn brings together commentary from scholars on the automobile's impact in the areas of environment, design, labor, gender, and race.
Landmark Supreme Court Cases
This site includes a full range of resources and activities to support the learning of landmark Supreme Court cases, helping students explore the key issues of each case. The "Resources" section features basic building blocks such as background summaries and excerpts of opinions that can be used in multiple ways.
Contains citation and abstract information for many of the leading opinion journals. For full text access, check with a librarian or use the Journal finding tool.
Popular Culture: Resources for Critical Analysis
This website provides resources for the critical analysis of popular culture in the US, including the impact of that culture beyond national borders. Resources include sites on various forms of popular culture, including music, film, television, advertising, sports, fashion, toys, magazines and comic books, and the medium in which this message moves, cyberculture.
Presidents of the United States: Resource Guides
The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a large selection of primary source materials associated with the presidents of the United States, including manuscripts, letters, broadsides, government documents, prints, photographs, sheet music, sound recordings, and films.
Spacelog : Space Exploration Stories from the Original Transcripts
Read the stories of early space exploration from the original transcripts.