The use of primary sources is central to the study of history and the process of conducting historical research. Primary (also known as original) sources come in many forms, including artifacts, documents, diaries, correspondence, manuscripts, autobiographies, photographs, newspaper articles, etc. By definition, a primary source was either created during the time period being studied, or at a later date by a participant, or eyewitness to the events being studied.
Founders Online, launched by the National Archives in 2010, features over 180,000 historical documents in chronicling America's founding era.
Databases included in this collection: American History, 1493-1945; American Indian Histories and Cultures; American West; Everyday Life and Women in America, c1800-1920; Popular Culture 1950-1975; Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice; Virginia Company Archives.
"Includes the immediate experiences of 1,325 women, as revealed in approximately 150,000 pages of diaries and letters....The collection also includes biographies and an extensive annotated bibliography of the sources in the database."
Provides access to digital records, reports and documents created by the U.S. Congress spanning from 1789 to today. Includes information about members of Congress, legislation, articles from the National Journal, and selected articles from major U.S. newspapers, the Congressional Record, and text of Bills.
This ProQuest digital collection, consisting of one of the most expansive compilations of primary sources, documents the history of all aspects of plantation life in the southern states from the era of the American Revolution to the Civil War and the emancipation proclamation to the Great Migration.
The Virginia Company Archives is an essential source for the study of the Atlantic World and Early Colonial Period. It documents the founding and economic development of Virginia as seen through the papers of the Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624.
This collection, housed at the Library of Congress, contains over 8,000 items. Of particular interest are the materials documenting Franklin's diplomatic role as a colonial representative in England and France.
This digital collection documents the public life of the great African American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher.
Spanning the years 1775-1889, this collection contains correspondence, diaries, speeches, records of Garfield's Civil War military service, legal records, genealogical material, college notebooks, tributes, printed matter, scrapbooks, and other material relating primarily to Garfield's career and death.
The James Polk papers document struggles during Andrew Jackson’s administration over the Bank of the United States, Nullification Crisis, and internal improvements. For the period of Polk’s presidency, the papers cover the annexation of Texas, war with Mexico, the Oregon question, and the acquisition of the territories of New Mexico and California. Other subjects represented include slavery, tariff issues, patronage and office seeking, plantation matters, and family affairs.
This vastly important archival collection features more than 5 million cross-searchable pages of primary and secondary sources on the rise and fall of the Atlantic slave trade and anti-slavery movement. It includes 12049 books, 170 serials, 71 manuscript collections, 377 supreme court records and briefs, and 194 reference articles from Macmillan, Charles Scribner's Sons and Gale encyclopedias.