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HIS 500: Research Guide: Primary Sources

This guide will include some research materials and tips for searching for sources for your Research Project. This guide is not inclusive of every source available, but provides a good starting point.

U.S. History: Primary Sources Online

World History: Primary Documents Online

  • EuroDocs: Primary Historical Documents from Western Europe  
    These links connect to Western European (mainly primary) historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated. They shed light on key historical happenings within the respective countries (and within the broadest sense of political, economic, social and cultural history). The order of documents is chronological wherever possible.
  • In the First Person  
    In the First Person is a free, high quality, professionally published, in-depth index of close to 4,000 collections of personal narratives in English from around the world. Contains more than 700,000 pages of full-text by more than 18,000 individuals from all walks of life, as well as pointers to some 4,300 audio and video files and 30,000 bibliographic records.
  • Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web (Smithsonian)  
    This site features links to online exhibitions that have been created by libraries, archives, and historical societies, as well as to museum online exhibitions with a significant focus on library and archival materials. The scope is international and multi-lingual. Exhibits include printed books, book illustrations, manuscripts, photographs, printed ephemera, posters, archival sound and video recordings, artist's books, and the book arts (engraving, marbling, and bookbinding, etc.).
  • Repositories of Primary Sources  
    A listing of over 5000 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources for the research scholar.
    • Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy (Yale University)  
      An extensive collection of digital documents relevant to the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy and government covering time periods from pre-18th Century to the 20th Century. Links to supporting documents are also provided. Documents include charters, constitutions, declarations, diplomatic documents, papers, speeches and treaties.
    • British History Online  
      British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles. Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust, we aim to support academic and personal users around the world in their learning, teaching and research.
    • Democracy at War: Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War (Canadian War Museum)  
      During the Second World War, the staff of the century-old Hamilton Spectator newspaper kept its own monumental record of the war. This collection of more than 144,000 newspaper articles, manually clipped, stamped with the date, and arranged by subject, includes news stories and editorials from newspapers, mostly Canadian, documenting every aspect of the war. Short historical articles on key topics from the 1939-1945 time period and sample clippings from the collection supplement the collection.
    • Global Legal Information Network (GLIN)  
      GLIN is a searchable online database containing legal documents for jurisdictions spanning the globe in the following categories: Laws, judicial decisions, legislative records, and legal literature.GLIN members (governmental agencies and international organizations) contribute original-language, officially published, full text documents in electronic format. The summaries that accompany each document are for reference and retrieval purposes and should not be relied upon for legal counsel.
    • Internet Modern History Sourcebook (Fordham University)  
      The Internet Modern History Sourcebook is one of series of history primary sourcebooks. It is intended to serve the needs of teachers and students in college survey courses in modern European history and American history, as well as in modern Western Civilization and World Cultures. Although this part of the Internet History Sourcebooks Project began as a way to access texts that were already available on the Internet, it now contains hundreds of texts made available locally.
    • New York Public Library Digital Collections  
      Find archives, collections, and indexes at the NYPL's website in specialized areas of study.
    • Project Diana: An Online Human Rights Archive  
      Part of the Avalon Project at the Lillian Goldman Law Library at the Yale University Law School.
    • World News Digest (Facts on File)  
      World news coverage from Facts on File News Services and Reuters, including the complete Facts on File World News Digest from 1940. Includes editorials, obituaries, government leaders, country profiles, plus additional special features including maps, photographs, historic documents, and overviews of key issues, newsmakers and events.
    • World War I Document Archive  
      This archive of primary documents from World War I has been assembled by volunteers of the World War I Military History List (WWI-L). International in focus, the archive intends to present in one location primary documents concerning the Great War.
    • World War II Resources  
      The space for these files is provided by Purdue University, which assumes no responsibility for the content of this site or for the accuracy of any information contained herein. 

      The National Archives is the UK government's official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history. The site has some very helpful videos available to help you find what you need and also has a tutorial that will allow you to find materials that are accessible online via the website.
       Full-text image and indexing of the complete run of New York Times. The database includes every page of every issue from cover to cover, with full-page and article images in PDF files. Includes articles, display and classified ads, comics and cartoons, photos, maps, graphics, etc., editorials and commentary, and literary criticism. Coverage is from 1851 to 3 years prior to current year.

Kentucky-Related Primary Sources