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History: A Guide to McFarlin Library Resources: Primary Sources

A guide to online and print sources available through McFarlin Library

Primary Sources

Historical primary sources provide direct testimony of an event.  They may be created at the time of the event  or later written down in memoirs, autobiographies by witnesses who experienced the event.

Some examples of primary sources are:

  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Letters
  • Memoirs
  • Articles written at the time of the event

Primary sources


   Newspapers have been called the "first rough draft of history" 

Full text, online

19th Century U.S. Newspaper Digital Archive  

Early American News  (Series I, 1690-1876)

Historical Chicago Defender (1910-1975)

Historical New York Times (1851-3 years ago)

The Times Digital Archive (1785-1985)



American Periodical Series Online (1740-1900)

British Periodicals (1681-1920)


Other full text historical resources

C19: The Nineteenth Century Index

      This database group includes both full text and indexes to books, journals. government documents.

Gerritsen Collection

      This database contains full text books and journals "reflecting the evolution of a feminist consciousness and the movement for women's rights" (1543-1945)

JSTOR 19th Century British Pamphlets

   The pamphlet collection includes: Cowen Tracts, Earl Grey Pamphlets Collection, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Collection, Hume Tracts, Knowsley Pamphlets, LSE selected pamphlets, Manchester Selected Pamphlets, Wilson Anti-slavery Collection.

   These collections can be searched collectively by going to the Advanced Search option in JSTOR and narrowing the search to pamphlets.