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History Resources: Primary Sources

Resources for students of History.

Guide to Finding Primary Souces

Primary sources connect the historian to the past. They are 'items that are directly associated with their producer or user and the time period in which they were created. Examples include diaries, newspaper articles, government documents, clothing, photographs, oral interviews, and news broadcasts.' (Presnell 93)

Use Library of Congress subject headings in the CONSORT catalog--identify the subject heading for a person, event, or topic, and then add one of the following subheadings:

  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • early works to 1800
  • interviews
  • pamphlets
  • personal narratives
  • sources

Limit your CONSORT search by year of publication, e.g., between 1932 and 1945.

Search for your topic across archival catalogs and special collections from all over the world using ArchiveGrid. Many results have links to digitized resources that are freely available to use. Don't forget to cite!

Refer to the Libguide listed below for an excellent overview of primary sources available through Kenyon.

Selected Primary Source Collections

Selected Primary Source Newspapers & Periodicals

Newspapers and periodicals can be valuable primary sources. Use newspapers to trace public debate on a political issue, or to look at trends in advertising and culture. Periodicals, such as scientific journals, can help you to trace the development of new practices and discoveries in the field.

Once you identify the person, event, or trend you want to examine, ask yourself about the time period and geographical location. In most cases, you will need to use a print index for articles published prior to 1980. Indexes are generally located on the 2nd floor of Chalmers library, near the Reference Desk. Some newspapers and periodicals are also available online.

To find out whether or not CONSORT has a particular newspaper or periodical, search by "journal title" using either the basic or advanced search screen.