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United States History Since 1866 (HIST144)

This guide is for the United States history course since 1865.

United States History Since 1866 (HIST144)

Primary sources and citations

Primary Sources

A primary source provides direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art. Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects. Interviews, surveys, fieldwork, and Internet communications via email, blogs, listservs, and newsgroups are also primary sources. In the natural and social sciences, primary sources are often empirical studies—research where an experiment was performed or a direct observation was made. The results of empirical studies are typically found in scholarly articles or papers delivered at conferences.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize, and process primary sources. Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that discuss or evaluate someone else's original research.

Digital collections

Remember, when searching online, to consider the trustworthiness of websites. URLs ending in .gov (government sites), .edu (sites by universities and educational institutions), and .org (sites by non-profit organizations) will usually yield the most accurate information. You can limit your search results to trustworthy domain names by adding "inurl:edu" or "inurl:gov" or "inurl:org" to your search (see below).

Using this technique, you can find many primary resources online. The following are only a sampling of the sites that offer digital collections of photos, documents, and more.

Alaska, Western Canada and United States Collection (University of Washington)
This digital collection features historic photographs documenting the geographic area of Alaska, the western United States and the Canadian provinces of Yukon Territory and British Columbia. The collection features images of Oregon, Idaho, and areas of interest in Alaska and the Yukon Territory relating to the Gold Rush of 1898-1900.

American Memory
This site by the Library of Congress contains more than 9 million manuscripts, photographs, posters, maps, sound recordings, motion pictures, books, pamphlets, and pieces of music pertaining to the history of the United States.

Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy
Yale Law School hosts this collection of primary materials dating from 4000 B.C.E. to the 21st century. Included are the full text of laws, colony charters, acts, and declarations, presidential proclamations, treaties and formal negotiations affecting the United States judiciary system and governmental foreign policy in general.

Central Washington University ScholarWorks
This is the institutional repsoitory of scholarship from Central Washington University faculty and students. It also contains collections that highlight the history, nature and culture of Central Washington University and the central Washington region. Community Projects have digitized content  related to regional history including many oral history interviews in hte Suncadia collections. Within University Archives are CWU yearbooks, newspapers, newsletters, and meeting minutes, as well as photos of campus buildings and surrounding areas.

Digital Collections (University of Washington)
See these collections for thousands of photographs, maps, newspapers, posters, reports and other media on topics relevant to the Pacific Northwest.

Eric A. Hegg Photographs (University of Washington)
Photographs documenting the Klondike and Alaska gold rushes from 1897 - 1901. Images include depictions of frontier life in Dawson City, the Yukon Territory, and Skagway and Nome, Alaska.

Washington State Digital Archives
This digital archives is dedicated to the preservation of electronic records from both state and local agencies that have permanent legal, fiscal or historical value in Washington state. Archival materials include audits, death records, birth records, property records, maps, surveys, family histories, court cases, and more.

WSU Archives Digital Collections
Includes photographs, documents, and maps on the history of eastern Washington, Native Americans, and more.