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The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Library
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.
Find Primary Sources in Online Databases
NOTE: when searching for primary sources in historical newspaper / periodical databases, ALWAYS limit your search to the date range relevant to your topic. You may also want to limit to editorial / opinion articles.
Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers
Contains full-text content and images from numerous newspapers from urban and rural regions throughout the U.S. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
African American Newspapers, 1827-1998
Full-text access to 270 historically significant African-American newspapers from across the U.S. TIPS:Choose Advanced Search; change Sort to BEST. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
Access World News -- Historical and Current
Search thousands of credible, global news sources from more than 200 countries and territories. TIP:
Sort results by BEST MATCH. NOTE:
Citations can be exported to NoodleTools. For a list of suggested topics, click here.
America's Historical Newspapers 1690 – 2000
A timeline-based interface divided into key eras in U.S. history from 1690 to 2000. Each issue/event includes an overview, and links to related articles in newspapers of the time. Click on "Back to Search" in the upper left corner to perform an advanced search of historical newspapers in the parent database Access World News -- Historical and Current. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
American Periodicals (1740-1940)
Full facsimile images of special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines and many other historically-significant periodicals. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
Liberty Magazine Historical Archive, 1924-1950
Liberty flourished when illustrated magazines were the most important form of mass entertainment. Liberty charted the moods, attitudes, lifestyles, fads, and fortunes of middle class America through three significant decades. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
New York Times: 1851-2017
TIPS: Choose Advanced Search and limit the date range. For opinion pieces, limit Document Type to Editorials. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
The Times (London) Digital Archive 1785-2014
More than 200 years of news in full facsimile images from London's premier newspaper. TIPS: Choose Advanced Search and limit by Publication Date. Limit Document Type to Editorial. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
History Databases containing Primary Sources
African American Experience : The American Mosaic
Through primary sources and the lens of prominent scholars, this database gives voice to the African American experience from its African origins to the present day...Through daily content updates, this database keeps pace with the ongoing evolution of the African American story via the most current literature in the field. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
Overview essays, biographies, primary sources, videos and slideshows, images, timelines, and maps and graphs in American political, military, social, and cultural history. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
Annals of American History
With over 2,000 primary source documents, AAH Online illuminates U.S. history from 1493 to modern times, offering a view of American history, society, and culture. Search by author, topic, or time period from 1493 to the first inaugural speech of Barack Obama in 2009.
Gale in Context: U.S. History
Comprehensive collection of reference sources, primary documents, periodicals, maps and multimedia. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
Issues & Controversies in History
Examines controversial issues in United States and world history, supported by nearly 2000 primary source documents from antiquity to the present. NOTE: Citations can be exported to NoodleTools.
Includes the complete content of a number of print reference sets. Search individually or choose any number of these sets to search simultaneously. Sets include: Defining Documents, Great Events from History, Great Lives from History, Milestone Documents, and The Reference Shelf.
Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600–2000
Thousands of primary source documents and other resources in American women's history.
Find Primary Sources in RhinoCat Library Catalog
To find primary source material in books/ebooks and reference books/ebooks, follow these tips:
To find primary sources by or about a person relevant to your topic in our catalog
- Do an Author search using the name of a person relevant to your topic to find books, letters, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies written by that person.
- Do an Author search using the name of the United States President in office at the time to find Public Papers, as well as books, letters, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies.
- Do a Keyword search of your person's name to identify writings, interviews, speeches in anthologies and collections.
- Keywords you can combine with your topic or person's name include speeches, diaries, interviews, and correspondence. For example:
- Progressive era speeches
- Theodore Roosevelt correspondence
To find primary sources on your topic in our catalog
- Paste the following exact word string into the RhinoCat basic keyword search box below:
su,wrdl: personal narratives or su,wrdl: sources or su,wrdl: diaries and kw,phr: xxxxx
- Substitute your broad topic or topic phrase for xxxxx
Primary Source Magazines in the Library
These original journals are shelved at the end of the Reference collection.
- Harper's Magazine (1922-1971)
- Life magazine (1936-1972) The complete run of Life is also available online.
- Time magazine (1930-1966)
Thank you for handling these fragile bound volumes with care.
If you would like a copy of an article or an advertisement, please take a picture or scan the image using your smartphone.
If you have any questions, see
Mr. Padgett, Ms. Taylor, or Mr. Previti
OR email us at
We're here to help!
Find Primary Sources on the Internet