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Primary sources were either created during the time period being studied or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied (as in the case of memoirs). They reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer. Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period.
See specific pages on Archives (archival collections at local institutions and beyond), Digital Collections (digital archives on Ethnic Studies), and Newspapers (information on how to access historical newspapers).
Primary sources can be found in a variety of library tools:
what terminology was used at the time by participants and observers? (ex: negro or colored instead of african american)
Use the bibliographies of secondary sources and reference sources to find citations to specific primary sources; search UC Library Search to locate them on campus, or ask for assistance at the Library.
Focusing predominantly on Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and towns and cities in North Carolina this collection presents multiple aspects of the African American community.
Includes pamphlets, newspapers and periodicals, correspondence, official records and in-depth oral histories, which reveal the prevalent challenges of racism, discrimination and integration, and a unique African American culture and identity. Also featured is a rich selection of visual material, including photographs, maps and ephemera.
Contains a large variety of collections from the U.S. National Archives, a series of collections from the Chicago History Museum, as well as selected first-hand accounts on Indian Wars and westward migration. [1809-1971]
Also features a number of excellent collections on American Indians in the 19th Century, with a focus on the interaction among white settlers, the U.S. federal government, and Indian tribes.
Includes newsletters, organizational papers, government documents, manuscripts, pamphlets, personal correspondence and more related to LGBTQ communities around the world. Topics include the gay rights, lesbian activism, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and more (Formerly titled Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity) [1940-present].
This collection comprises the National Negro Business League files in Part III of the Booker T. Washington Papers in the possession of the Library of Congress. (15,779 images) [1901-1928]
Booker T. Washington, founder of the National Negro Business League, believed that solutions to the problem of racial discrimination were primarily economic, and that bringing African Americans into the middle class was the key. In 1900, he established the League "to promote the commercial and financial development of the Negro," and headed it until his death.
Federal Government records from the Ford and Reagan presidencies relating to Civil Rights.
Includes files of officials in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division as well as collections released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests related to affirmative action; Bob Jones University; busing and school desegregation; civil rights; fair housing; Martin Luther King Jr. Day; the Civil Rights Restoration Act, Grove City College, and the Voting Rights Act of 1982.
Contains the records of the FBI and the Subversive Activities Control Board investigating “subversive” activities.
This ProQuest History Vault module contains J. Edgar Hoover's office files; documentation on the FBI's so-called "black bag jobs," as they were called before being renamed "surreptitious entries"; and the "Do Not File" File. The "Do Not File" file consists of records that were originally supposed to be destroyed on FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's order, however large portions of these files survived. Another key collection in this module consists of the records of the Subversive Activities Control Board (SACB). The SACB files is one of the most valuable resources for the study of left-wing radicalism during the 1950s and 1960s. [1945-1972]
FBI files on surveillance conducted on Black Americans, civil rights organizations, and other institutions.
Includes FBI files relating to: A. Philip Randolph, Adam Clayton Powell, the Atlanta Child Murders (ATKID), the Black Panther Party (North Carolina), the Committee for Public Justice, Elijah Muhammed, the Highlander Folk School, the Klu Klux Klan Murder of Viola Liuzzo, Malcolm X, MIBURN (Mississippi Burning), the Moorish Science Temple of America, the Murder of Lemuel Penn, the Muslim Mosque, Inc., the NAACP, the National Negro Congress, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, Paul Robeson, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Roy Wilkins, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Thurgood Marshall, W.E.B. Du Bois, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Marcus Garvey
The Independent and Revolutionary Mexican Newspapers collection, with a preliminary release of 135,000 pages from 477 titles, will ultimately include approximately 1,000 titles from Mexico’s pre-independence, independence and revolutionary periods (1807-1929).
The collection traces the evolution of Mexico during this pivotal period and provides rare documentation of the dramatic events of this era, including coverage of Mexican partisan politics, yellow press, political and social satire, as well as local, regional, national and international news.
This collection reproduces correspondence, reports, speeches, minutes and other materials relating to the farm workers, poverty programs, Public Law 78, Braceros, labor camps, the United Farm Workers Union and the Delano Grape Strike. [1965-1980]
Testimony and documents from more than 750 individuals involved in the Japanese American Internment during World War II.
"Includes material from more than 750 Japanese-Americans and Aleuts who had lived through the events of World War II, as well as government officials who ran the internment program, public figures, organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League, interested citizens, historians, and other professionals who had studied the internment. Documents include personal stories, publications, reports, press releases, photographs, newspaper clippings, etc. (1981, principally covers 1942 - 1945)"
A gateway to primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. Includes a sampling of early American films, including works by the Edison Company, recordings of vaudeville and other popular entertainments, early animated films; recordings of early 20th Century presidents, and scenes of American work and leisure.
A gateway to primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections. Includes a sampling of early American films, including works by the Edison Company, recordings of vaudeville and other popular entertainments, early animated films; recordings of early 20th Century presidents, and scenes of American work and leisure, 1894-1915.
A newspaper digital archive offering full-text and full-image articles for significant newspapers dating back to the 18th Century. Every issue of each title includes the complete paper-cover-to-cover, with full-page and article images. (New York Times - San Francisco Chronicle - Wall Street Journal - Washington Post - Chicago Defender - Chicago Tribune - Los Angeles Times) [1849 - 2003]
A newspaper digital archive offering full-text and full-image articles for significant US newspapers. Our subscription includes access to Chicago Defender (1910-1975); Chicago Tribune (1849-1990); Los Angeles Times (1881-1990); The New York Times (1851-2010) with Index (1851-1993); San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922); The Wall Street Journal (1889-1996); and The Washington Post (1877-1997).
Digitized images including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts that reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history.
Gateway to digitized images from the libraries and museums of the University of California campuses, cultural heritage organizations in California, and UC-created websites and collections.
Digitized archive that documents the relationships among early North American peoples and the environment.
Includes prints, drawings, paintings, maps, bibliographies, letters, photographs, and original facsimile pages documenting the relationships among peoples and with the environment in North America. Focuses on personal accounts and providing unique perspectives from all the protagonists, including traders, slaves, missionaries, explorers, soldiers, Native Americans as well as a wide range of Europeans.
Images (alongside transcriptions) of monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes. [1800 - 1920]
Providing access to primary source material from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History, Duke University and The New York Public Library. It comprises thousands of fully searchable images (alongside transcriptions) of monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes.
Digitized archive of Harper's Weekly from its beginning in 1857 to 1912. A good source for 19th and early 20th century advertising, illustrations, culture, history, literature, and notable figures.
Full-image reproductions of Harper's Weekly from its beginning in 1857 to 1912. Provides access to information about 19th and early 20th century advertising, illustrations, culture, history, literature, and notable figures.
Digitized archive of primary documents of key events, trends, and movements in 1960s America. Includes letters, diaries, oral histories, posters, broadsides, pamphlets, advertisements, and rare audio and video materials. [1960 - 1974]
Documents the key events, trends, and movements in 1960s America. Includes 70,000 pages of letters, diaries, and oral histories; more than 30,000 pages of posters, broadsides, pamphlets, advertisements, and rare audio and video materials. Enhanced by dozens of scholarly document projects, featuring annotated primary-source content that is analyzed and contextualized through interpretive essays by historians.
Full-text of books, serials, manuscript collections as well as court records and reference materials documents related to the antebellum era.
Includes more than 1.5 million pages, 7000+ books, 80+ serials, 15 manuscript collections as well as court records and reference materials documents related to the antebellum era. Published through partnerships with the Amistad Research Center, Oberlin College, Oxford University, & many other institutions.