Finding Primary Document Resources
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Definition Highlights of Primary Research and
Primary Documents and Resources
theories and solutions
terms and coins new words, etc.
collected firsthand: from an eyewitness; an interview or questionnaire;
or case studies
published in peer reviewed journals, other printed forms, or respected online
evidence of historical events. In some instances published materials can also
be viewed as primary materials if they were written during the time of an event,
a person's direct observation
are generally unpublished materials that have survived from the past such as:
Diaries: Autobiographies; Letters; Speeches; Postcards, Posters; Photographs; Maps;
Artifacts; Articles of
Audio and Video
Recordings; Oral Histories; or Government Records
secondary materials, such as textbooks, synthesize and interpret primary
Secondary sources are also accounts of the past written some time
after events have happened.
Primary Document Resource Databases Available Through Chesnutt Library
History and Life
Historical coverage of the
United States and Canada from prehistory to the present.
American Civil War: Letters and Diaries
This release contains 2,009 authors and
approximately 100,000 pages of diaries, letters and memoirs. Each source has
been carefully chosen using leading bibliographies.
American National Biography
The premier biographical resource for
notable people in American history. Click on the "Subscribers Click Here"
link in the menu at the top of the page.
American Slavery: A Composite Autobiography
collection of the life histories of former slaves in the United States compiled
through nearly 4,000 interviews with ex-slaves.
Biography and Genealogy Master Index
Index to biographical sketches found in current and retrospective biographical
Early Encounters in North America: Peoples,
Cultures and the Environment
This release of Early Encounters in North
America contains 1,482 authors and over 100,000 pages of letters, diaries,
memoirs and accounts of early encounters.
Harper’s Weekly (1857-1877) provides week-to-week
chronological record of world-wide events in the last half of the nineteenth
In The First Person
The First Person] allows for keyword searching of more than 260,000 pages of
full-text by more than 9,000 individuals from all walks of life. It also
contains pointers to at least 2,500 audio and video files and 16,000
Lexis-Nexis History Universe
Rich database of primary historical
The Making of the Modern Economy- A very
complete, full-text database of economic writing and primary
sources covering the years 1450 to 1850.
New York Times Historical
New York Times Historical (1851-1999) offers full page and article images with
searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital
reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue.
North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries, and
North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries,
and Oral Histories provides a unique and personal view of what it meant to
immigrate to America and Canada. Contains more than 100,000 pages of personal
narratives, including letters, diaries, pamphlets, autobiographies, and oral
North American Indian Thought and Culture
This fourth release of the North American
Indian Thought and Culture contains over 62,000 pages of text and images.
Included are biographies, auto-biographies, personal narratives, speeches,
diaries, letters, and oral histories.
North American Women’s Letters and Diaries: Colonial to
Over 150,000 pages of published letters and
diaries plus 4,000 pages of previously unpublished materials
depicting the personal experiences of hundreds of women. Remote access coming
soon. Contains materials
from Colonial times to 1950.
North Carolina Encyclopedia
This encyclopedia is designed to give you an
overview of the people, the government, the history, and the
resources of North Carolina.
Oral History Online
This release of Oral History Online provides
in-depth indexing to more than 2,700 collections of Oral History in English from
around the world.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
"50,000 biographies of people who shaped the
history of the British Isles and beyond, from the earliest times to the year
Proquest Dissertations and Theses- Full Text
More than two million dissertation and theses from
1861 to the present, many of them full text.
ProQuest Historical Newspapers
Offers full page and article images with
searchable full text back to the first issue of the New York Times
(1851-1899) and the Wall Street Journal (1889-1985). Includes digital
reproductions providing access to
every page from every available issue.
Readers Guide Retro
Retrospective (1890-1982) is a database containing comprehensive indexing of the
most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States and
reflects the history of 20th century America.
Street Journal Historical
Wall Street Journal Historical (1889-1985) offers full page and article images
with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes
digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue.
and Social Movements in the United States: 1600 - 2000
Women and Social Movements (1600-2000)
includes 61 document projects with 1,645 documents, and at least 21,000 pages of
additional full-text documents. It includes as well book, film and website
Web Sites Which House Digitized Collections of Primary Documents and Images
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Since 1954, the Archives has collected roughly 16 million letters, photographs,
diaries, sketches, scrapbooks, business records, and other documentation that
supports the study of the history of the visual arts in America.
American South. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Galaxy of Knowledge, Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Internet Archive, Prelinger Library.
A 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an
Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers,
historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format.
Founded in 1996 and located in the Presidio of San Francisco.
Internet Sacred Text Archive.
The largest freely available archive of
online books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric on the
Internet. The site is dedicated to religious tolerance and scholarship.
of Congress American Memory Project
Library of Congress American Memory Collection:
America at Cornell University,
America at University of Michigan. A digital library of
primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through
New York Public Library. Find over 550,000 images from primary sources and
printed rarities including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage
posters, rare prints, photographs, illustrated books, and printed ephemera.
Content in the Definition Highlights:
UCLA Institute on
Primary Resources; Library
of Congress American Memory Project;
Ohio Historical Society, Primary Sources;
University of California at Berkeley, Library Research: Finding Primary Sources
Chesnutt Library, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, N.C. 28301
Page Maintained By: Jan S. Whitfield
Last Updated: 1/21/09