Primary sources can be found in a variety of library tools:
- Catalogs: OskiCat and Melvyl
- Online book and text collections
- Primary Source databases provided by the Library
includes databases for finding newspaper articles, such as Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) or magazine articles, such as Reader's Guide
- Vetted sites on the web:
Learn more about your topic in advance:
- names of relevant individuals and organizations
- dates of events
- what terminology was used at the time by participants and observers? (ex: negro or colored instead of african american)
Searching OskiCat for Primary Sources
Search OskiCat for primary sources using keywords and adding terms that denote primary sources, such as:
puerto rican* interviews
african american soldiers personal narratives
irish american* newspapers
Sample Searches in OskiCat for Primary Sources
add primary source subheadings:
women homestead* diaries
limit by date of publication:
limit by format:
(pull down "entire collection" menu to:) music scores
(or): sound recordings
really fancy search hardly anyone knows about:
genre/form: dime novels
Primary Source Databases
See a more complete list of library databases of primary sources in American History
American Social History Online
Provides access to 175 digitized library collections related to U.S. social history.
Everyday Life and Women in America
Providing access to primary source material from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History, Duke University and The New York Public Library. It comprises thousands of fully searchable images (alongside transcriptions) of monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes.
This site allows users to search and view newspaper pages from 1880-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. To date, over 200,000 pages of California newspapers have been digitized.
Early Encounters in North America: Peoples, Cultures, and the Environment
Includes prints, drawings, paintings, maps, bibliographies, letters, photographs, and original facsimile pages documenting the relationships among peoples and with the environment in North America. Focuses on personal accounts and providing unique perspectives from all the protagonists, including traders, slaves, missionaries, explorers, soldiers, Native Americans as well as a wide range of Europeans.
Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
Includes Chicago Defender (1910-1975). Chicago Tribune (1849-1988). Los Angeles Times (1881-1988). San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922). New York Times (1851-1994) with Index (1851-1993). Wall Street Journal (1889-1994). Washington Post (1877-1995).
Readers' Guide Retrospective
Covers more than 500 leading American magazines and journals from 1890 to 1982.
Full-image reproductions of Harper's Weekly from its beginning in 1857 to 1912. Provides access to information about 19th and early 20th century advertising, illustrations, culture, history, literature, and notable figures.
Nation Digital Archive
Full text access to The Nation, a weekly news magazine covering U.S. politics and society since 1865.
Working Women, 1800 -1930
Provides access to digitized historical, manuscript, and image collections. Explores women's roles in the US economy between the Civil War and the Great Depression. Documents working conditions, conditions in the home, costs of living, recreation, health and hygeine, conduct of life, policies and regulations governing the workplace, and social issues. When completed, the collections will contain more than 2200 books and pamphlets, 1000 photographs and 10,000 pages from manuscript collections.