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Primary Sources Guide

How to find primary source materials in the McGraw-Page Library in a variety of disciplines

Primary Sources Guide

Primary Sources in Specialized Databases


The library subscribes to many databases which contain collections of primary source material.  

For a complete list of the library's databases, see the Databases A-Z menu on the library's homepage.

African American Newspapers (Accessible Archives) 
Includes a dozen important African American newspapers; dates range from 1827-1919. For a more comprehensive collection with over 350 papers, see: African American Newspapers, Series 1 &2 (Readex)

African American Newspapers, Series 1 & 2 (Readex) 
Full text of over 350 African American newspapers published throughout the U.S. from 1827-1998, documenting the African American experience through coverage of African American history, culture, and daily life.

African Americans and Jim Crow: Repression and Protest, 1883-1922 
Primary source materials on African-Americans during the Jim Crow era in American history.

African Americans and Reconstruction: Hope and Struggle, 1865-1883 
Primary source materials on African-Americans during the Reconstruction era in American history.

British Library Newspapers 
Full-text searchable editions with page images of nearly 50 newspapers from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. In addition to articles, includes advertisements, classified ads, obituaries, editorials, etc.

Early American Imprints (1639-1819) 
Collection of over 75,000 books, pamphlets, broadsides, government documents, and other materials published in America between 1639 and 1819, covering all subject areas. This full text primary source database includes virtually all known published materials in early America.

Early Modern Letters Online (Bodleian Library)
A union catalogue of sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century correspondence, covering Europe.

European Views of the Americas: 1493 -- 1750 
Index to printed works about the Americas published in Europe.

Founders Early Access    
Unpublished documents written by figures such as James Madison, John Adams, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson available in a free online resource. 

Founders Online 
Over 183,000 searchable documents, fully annotated, by George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.

HarpWeek: The Civil War Era and Reconstruction 
Online edition of Harper's Weekly, a newspaper including editorials and illustrations. Covers 1857-1877.

HeinOnline Government, Politics, & Law 
U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1817-2014)
American State Papers (1789-1838)
Congressional Documents and Congressional Reports (2015-2019)

Indigenous Peoples: North America 
Primary source archive of materials documenting the cultural, political and social history of Native Peoples of North America from the seventeenth into the twentieth century.

Making of America Journals (Michigan) 
A digital library of primary sources in American social history primarily from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.

Making of the Modern World  Digital reproductions of rare primary source books and serial publications from 1450 – 1914 chronicling the development of the modern western world through world trade, exploration and colonization of the New World, the Industrial Revolution and the development of modern capitalism. Subject coverage includes history, political science, economics and business, women's studies, and legal and religious history. Individual publications are also in WorldCat Discovery

New York Times with Index (Historical; 1851- 4 years ago)
Historic archive of the New York Times newspaper from 1851-4 years ago. Includes the complete indexes from 1851-1993 in addition to full-text searching. For current articles, choose the New York Times database.

Sabin Americana, 1500-1926 
Primary source materials on the society, politics, religious beliefs, culture, contemporary opinions, and events of North, Central, and South America and the West Indies, covering the Americas from early European exploration through 1926. Includes books, pamphlets, maps, legislation, sermons, political writings, newspapers, literature, and more.

Times Digital Archive 
Searchable full text of the Times of London newspaper from 1785 through 6 years ago.

Internet Sourcebook : History Primary Sources
A collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts compiled by Fordham University for educational use.

Virginia Gazette
1736--1780, some known issues missing from the online version (digitized by Colonial Williamsburg Foundation).