Skip to main content
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.
OneSearch (Library catalog and databases search tool)
In OneSearch, try searching with the phrase “primary sources” in the All Fields or Subject Begins With… search boxes. In addition, think about the type of source and search using those words, e.g. - correspondence, letters, diaries, narratives, and speeches. For example, if you are looking for primary sources related to abolitionist Frederick Douglass, try searching in OneSearch for: speeches and douglass
How to find more primary sources
Some databases, such as Academic Search Complete (and other Ebsco databases) and Opposing Viewpoints in Context, will allow you to select Primary Source as a document type when searching. In Ebsco, look for Publication Type on the main search pages and choose Primary Source Document from the drop-down list. In Opposing Viewpoints in Context, choose Primary Sources from the list on the Advanced Search page, or run a search and look for the Primary Sources results section.
WorldCat (the online catalogs of 10,000+ libraries worldwide) is another good place to look. From the main search page, choose Advanced Search from the Everything tab. On the next page, type your keyword(s) into the first search box, then go to the Format options and choose Archival Material before selecting Search.
Useful primary source databases
Black Thought and Culture
Contains the non-fiction published works of leading African Americans, and includes interviews, journal articles, speeches, essays, pamphlets, letters and other ephemeral material.
American Memory Collections
Multimedia collections of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and text from the Library of Congress' National Digital Library Program.
Early English Books Online
EEBO contains page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473 to 1700.
Economist Historical Archive
The full text of The Economist from 1843 to 2006. Essential reading for anyone engaged in politics, current affairs, business and trade worldwide.
Eighteenth Century Collections Online
A digital archive of 150,000 books published in the eighteenth century, covering a broad spectrum of topics like law, history, science, and art.
Making of the Modern World
Provides the full text of 61,000 works of literature in business, politics, and economics published from 1450 to 1850. Includes the full Goldsmiths
New York Times Historical File
Full text of articles and page images of The New York Times from 1851 to 2010.
Displays interactive maps of U.S. Census data going back to 1790.
Women and Social Movements in the U.S. 1600-2000
Brings together primary documents, books, images, scholarly essays, book reviews, audio recordings, Web site reviews, and teaching tools, all documenting the multiplicity of women
Gale Primary Sources Resources include monographs, manuscripts, trial transcripts, newspapers, maps, and photographs. Individual databases collections from a variety of sources.