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HIST 302 - Historical Methods

A research guide for History 302 with resources for research in historical methods.

Digital Primary Sources

More Online Primary Sources

Finding Aids for Physical Collections

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.

Recently Added DIgital Collections

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Digitalized primary resources

Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800 Provides full text, digital images of books, pamphlets, broadsides and periodicals published in America from 1639-1800.

Indigenous Peoples: North America includes resources from The Alaska Indian Language Collection (Gonzaga University); The Association on American Indian Archives (AAIA and Princeton University); Citizenship Case Files of the U.S. Court in Indian Territory, 1896‐1897 (U.S. National Archives); Great Nemaha Agency Collection, 1866‐1873 (Wichita State University); The Indian School Journal (Chilocco Indian School); The Javitch Collection (University of Alberta); Letters Sent by the Indian Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1849‐1903 (U.S. National Archives); Moravian Mission among the Indians of North America (Moravian Archives); The Pacific Northwest Tribes Missions Collection of the Oregon Province Archives of the Society of Jesus, 1853‐1960 (Gonzaga University); Papers of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (Library of Congress); The Papers of the Society of American Indians, 1906‐1946 (Private Collection of John Larner); Records of the Creek Factory of the Office of Indian Trade of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1795‐1821 (U.S. National Archives); and the W. S. Prettyman Photograph Collection (Wichita State University).

American West Digitized manuscripts, ephemera, and rare printed works on the history of the American West from the Everett D. Graff collection at the Newberry Collection in Chicago. Covers early pioneers and explorers, the gold rush, railroads, emigrant guides and travel journals, Native American history and culture and much more.

Everyday Life and Women in America, c1800-1920 Electronic collection of material reproduced from rare printed sources held in the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture, Duke University and the New York Public Library. The material reflects 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues in the United States, including religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes. The collection is rich in conduct of life and domestic management literature, offering insights into the daily lives of women and men, as well as emphasizing contrasts in regional, urban and rural cultures.

American Indian Histories Culture contains material from the Newberry Library’s extensive Edward E. Ayer Collection; one of the strongest archival collections on American Indian history in the world.

American Indian Newspapers includes Indigenous print journalism from the US and Canada in more than 9,000 individual editions from 1828-2016. Representing a huge variety in style, production and audience, the newspapers include national periodicals as well as local community news and student publications. The 45 titles include bi-lingual and Indigenous-language editions, such as Hawaiian, Cherokee and Navajo languages.

Gender: Identity and Social Change includes primary sources for the study of gender history, women’s suffrage, the feminist movement and the men’s movement. Other key areas represented in the material include: employment and labor, education, government and legislation, the body, domesticity and the family. Explore records from men’s and women’s organizations and pressure groups, detailing twentieth-century lobbying and activism on a wide array of issues to reveal developing gender relations and prevalent challenges.

Historical Newspapers: U.S. West Collection provides online, searchable access to newspapers published in the Western United States including over 100 years of The San Francisco Examiner, supporting historical research centered in our region. *Tullis fund purchase

Climate Science and Sustainability: Global Origins of Modern Environmentalism is a searchable digitized collection of primary source documents related to climate science. It chronicles scientific advances and activism form 1957-1995 including tens of thousands of journal articles, government publications, newspapers, magazines, and transcribed television and radio broadcasts. *Tullis fund purchase

Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980 contains hundreds of searchable digitized newspapers published by Hispanics in all regions of the United States. Newspapers included are in English, Spanish, or bilingual. *Tullis fund purchase

Race Relations in America documents three pivotal decades in the fight for civil rights, and contains speeches, reports, surveys and analyses produced by the Race Relations Department of Fisk University including Charles S. Johnson, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., and Thurgood Marshall. *Tullis fund purchase

African American Communities presents multiple aspects of the African American community through pamphlets, newspapers and periodicals, correspondence, official records and in-depth oral histories, revealing 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. Key themes covered include:

  • Desegregation – focusing on schools, hospitals, transport and other areas of public life. Documents show legal battles and campaigns in favor of integration and public reaction.
  • Urban renewal and housing problems – featuring papers on housing and race relations, planning records and papers of neighborhood councils.
  • Civil rights activities and protests – material on Atlanta’s police department and Chicago riots.
  • Race relations and community integration – featuring documents charting increased African American home ownership in Chicago.
  • African American culture – documents showcasing the life and culture of African Americans in Brooklyn from the Weeksville Heritage Center.

Arte Público Hispanic Historical Collection: Series 1 Digitized historical content on U.S. Hispanic history, literature and culture. More than 1,100 digitized historical books, as well as Hispanic newspapers, political and religious pamphlets, and essays. Documents primarily from the 19th and early 20th century. Content is 80% Spanish and 20% English and is searchable in both languages.

Arte Público Hispanic Historical Collection: Series 2 Digital collection of historical content pertaining to U.S. Hispanic history, civil rights, religious thought, and growing presence of women writers from the late 19th and 20th centuries. Contains over 250,000 pages of personal and archival manuscript collections, 3000 issues of rare historical newspapers and periodicals, and hundreds of rare books. Content is drawn from the “Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project.”

ATLA Historical Monographs Collection Series 1 Presents more than 15,000 titles from the 13th century through the 1893 World Parliament of Religions. The collection includes many volumes in Aramaic, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and other languages besides English, documenting the recovery of languages used during the biblical era.

ATLA Historical Monographs Collection Series 2 Consists of nearly 15,000 titles published from 1894 through 1923. It presents a comprehensive picture of religion in America at the turn of the century. Subjects addressed include the conflict between religion and science, the growing interest in Eastern religions and other world religions, and significant shifts in the religious identification of Americans.

African American Historical Serials Collection The African American Historical Serials Collection features 173 periodicals spanning from 1816 through 1922. The periodicals in this collection include newspapers and magazines, in addition to reports and annuals from various African American organizations, including churches and educational and service institutions.

Age of Exploration This collection provides access to key events in the history of European maritime exploration from c.1420-1920 and features rare manuscript and early printed material, illustrated maps and documents, diaries and ships' logs.

Frontier Life Primary sources from multiple archives that capture the lives, experiences and colonial encounters of people living at the edges of the Anglophone world from 1650-1920. Includes the various colonial frontiers of North America, as well as the settlers of Southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Archives Unbound Archives Unbound presents topically-focused digital collections of historical documents that support the research and study needs of scholars and students at the college and university level. Collections in Archives Unbound cover a broad range of topics from the Middle Ages forward-from Witchcraft to World War II to twentieth-century political history.

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