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The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Library

Revolutions: Industrial Revolution: Primary Sources

This guide is to assist with the Culminating Assessment for the Industrial Revolution section of the Revolutions course.

Primary Sources

Sources created by those who lived it

Any document, image, or artifact created at the time of the topic being researched is a primary source. Examples include: eyewitness accounts, autobiographies and memoirs, diaries, letters, speeches, reports, newspapers, household and day-to-day objects, clothing, works of art, architecture, and photographs.

Please note: primary source documents are a reflection of the time and culture in which they were created and may contain language or images that are considered offensive today.


NoodleTools Tips for Citing Primary Sources

Primary Sources Books / eBooks

Primary Sources on the website Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free digital books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

You may search the Internet Archive using Advanced Search:

  • Enter your topic term(s) in "Any field contains" or "Title contains". 
  • Limit Date range to about 1800 to 1880 (Internet Archive requires you also include month and day; you can use 01 for each.)

Here are some examples of primary sources found on the Internet Archive:

Dodd, George. Days at the Factories; Or, The Manufacturing Industry of Great Britain Described and Illustrated by Numerous Engravings of Machines and Processes. London: Charles Knight and Co., 1843

Engels, Friedrich. The Condition of the Working-Class in 1844. New York: J.W. Lovell Co., 1887. (First published in 1845.)

Gaskell, P. The Manufacturing Population of England : Its Moral, Social, and Physical Conditions, and the Changes which have Arisen from the Use of Steam Machinery; with an Examination of Infant Labour. London : Baldwin and Cradock, 1833.

Great Britain Commissioners for Inquiring into the Employment and Condition of Children in Mines and Manufactories. The Physical and Moral Condition of the Children and Young Persons Employed in Mines and Manufactures. London: John W. Parker, 1843.

Routledge, Robert. Discoveries and Inventions of the Nineteenth Century.  London: G. Routledge, 1881

Tomlinson, Charles. The Useful Arts and Manufactures of Great Britain. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1848 (manufacturing of paper, glass, leather, parchment, glue, sugar, and various textile materials.)

If you have any questions, see
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Databases Containing Primary Sources

Special Link:

Primary Sources on the Internet

Primary Source Images