This guide has been archived
Please note: this course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. For a list of current course guides, please see http://lib.berkeley.edu/alacarte/course-guides.
Locating Primary Sources
There are many access points to the vast collections of primary sources available to you.
Certain words and phrases will find primary sources in library catalogs. You can use these in OskiCat or Melvyl:
-early works to 1800
For specific search strategies, see the Library's guide to Finding Historical Primary Sources.
Your searches will be more successful if, in your preliminary research, you identify specific:
- 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)
Online Archive of California (OAC)
A searchable and browseable resource that brings together historical materials from a variety of California institutions, including museums, historical societies, and archives. Contains over 120,000 images; 50,000 pages of documents, letters, and oral histories; and 8,000 guides to collections. Images are organized into thematic and institutional collections, such as historical topics, nature, places, and technology.
Searchable descriptions of nearly a million historical documents, personal papers, and family histories kept in libraries, museums, and archives worldwide. Includes information on how to examine and order copies.
Archive Finder (including ArchivesUSA and NIDS UK/Ireland)
Directory which describes tens of thousands of collections of primary source material housed in thousands of repositories across the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Center for Research Libraries Online Catalog
CRL acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, archives, and other traditional and digital resources from a global network of sources. UC Berkeley Library students, faculty, and other researchers have liberal access to these rich source materials through interlibrary loan, electronic delivery, and a growing collection of digitized material.
Selected Primary Source Collections
California Digital Newspaper Collection
Offers over 200,000 pages of California newspapers spanning the years 1849-1911: the Alta California, 1849-1891; the San Francisco Call, 1893-1910; the Amador Ledger, 1900-1911; the Imperial Valley Press, 1901-1911; the Sacramento Record-Union, 1859-1890; and the Los Angeles Herald, 1905-1907. Additional years are forthcoming, as are other early California newspapers: the Californian; the California Star; the California Star and Californian; the Sacramento Transcript; the Placer Times; and the Pacific Rural Press.
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).
One stop shopping for U.S. congressional publications. Provides index and abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, including full text of published Congressional Hearings from 1824-present (unpublished until 1979), full text Committee Prints from 1830-present, full text Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports from 1916-present, full text United States Congressional Serial Set (and its various former titles) from 1789-present, and legislative histories from 1970-present.
Digital National Security Archive (DNSA)
Indexes over 35,000 declassified documents spanning fifty years of US national security policy. Also includes a chronology, glossary of names, events, special terms, and a bibliography for each collection developed around a specific event, controversy, or policy decision.
DDRS (Declassified Documents Reference System)
Over 75,000 documents and almost 500,000 pages of materials declassified via the Freedom of Information Act and regular declassification requests, making broad-based and highly targeted investigation of government documents possible. Nearly every major foreign and domestic event of these years is covered.
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports
Information from thousands of foreign media sources, including political speeches, television and radio broadcasts, newspapers, periodicals, and more, offering an extensive collection of military, political, scientific and technical reports from countries around the world, translated into English. The original mission of the FBIS was to monitor, record, transcribe and translate intercepted radio broadcasts from foreign governments, official news services, and clandestine broadcasts from occupied territories. Coverage is global with the exception of the FBIS Annexes (a supplementary publication created by the U.S. intelligence community to benefit analysts and policy makers from April 1974 through September 1996) and Western European regional broadcasts.
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Electronic Index
Indexes the FBIS Daily Reports issued by the US Government covering political, economic, scientific, and cultural issues and events throughout the world. Translations of broadcasts, news agency transmissions, newspapers, periodicals, and government statements from various nations are the sources of this information. Reports since 1996 can be found in WorldNews Connection.
Chinese in California, 1850-1925
Illustrates nineteenth and early twentieth century Chinese immigration to California through about 8,000 images and pages of primary source materials.
Archive of Americana
A family of primary source collections providing references to books, pamphlets, broadsides (Early American Imprints, Series I and Series II), newspapers (Early American Newspapers) and government publications (American State Papers and U.S. Congressional Serial Set).
Contemporary Women's Issues
Indexes a wide range of journals, hard-to-find newsletters, reports, pamphlets, fact sheets, and guides covering a broad array of gender-related issues such as violence, economic development, health, the military, education, human rights, and law. Covers sources published by organizations around the world.