Primary sources are the historical documents used by historians as evidence. Examples of primary sources include diaries, personal journals, government records, court records, property records, newspaper articles, military reports, military rosters, and many other things.
In contrast, a secondary source is the typical history book which may discuss a person, event or other historical topic. A good secondary source uses primary sources as evidence.
The key to determining whether an item may be considered to be a primary source is to ask how soon after the event was the information recorded. This can be a problem with an autobiography, memoir, reminiscence, etc. if the author is working several years with only the memory of what happened. Your history professor will disallow most or all of these as primary sources. However, the rule of thumb should always be: if you're not sure whether something is an acceptable primary source, ask your professor.
ASU Primary Source Collections
Early English Books Online (1475-1700) From the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare, contains over 96,000 titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short- Title Catalogue (1475 - 1640) and Wing's Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700). Eighteenth Century Collections Online Eighteenth Century Collections Online provides access to the digital images of every page of more than 150,000 books published during the 18th Century. With full-text searching of approximately 33 million pages, the product allows researchers new methods of access to critical information in the fields of history, literature, religion, law, fine arts, science and more
Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) NCCO is a global digitization and publishing program focusing on primary source collections published during the nineteenth century. It provide acess to rare primary sources, and includes important works sourced from leading libraries worldwide. It consists of monographs, newspapers, pamphlets, manuscripts, ephemera, maps, photographs, statistics, and other kinds of documents in both Western and non-Western languages.
ProQuest Congressional Publications, 1789+U.S. legislative information: hearings; committee reports; bills, bill tracking; Congressional Indexes; Serial Set; Congressional Record; Federal Register; Code of Federal Regulations; U.S. Code; Public laws; National Journal, Congress Daily, & member info.
Women and Social Movements in the United States: 1600 - 2000 This database contains: 52 document projects that interpret and present documents, altogether these document projects provide more than 1,250 documents, 450 images, and 500 links to other websites. 19,000 pages of documents pertaining to Women and Social Movements. These materials have been selected by the Editors for their relevance to the focus of the website
Retrospective Newspapers and Periodicals
19th Century U.S. Newspapers Searchable database containing digital facsimile images of newspapers; presented as full page layout as well as single articles; advertisements and illustrations included. This collection includes numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S.; and it encompasses the entire 19th century.
African American Newspapers, 1827 - 1902 This enormous collection of African American Newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day, including the Mexican War, Presidential and Congressional addresses, Congressional abstracts, business and commodity markets, the humanities, world travel and religion.
Caribbean Newspapers, Series I, 1718 - 1876: Caribbean Newspapers, Series 1, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society Caribbean Newspapers, 1718-1876—the largest online collection of 18th- and 19th-century newspapers published in this region—will provide a comprehensive primary resource for studying the development of Western society and international relations within this important group of islands. This unique resource will prove essential for researching colonial history, the Atlantic slave trade, international commerce, New World slavery and U.S. relations with the region as far back as the early 18th century.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online 1841-1902 Brooklyn's main daily paper from 1841 to 1902. The Web site includes an introduction to the paper's history over its long tenure as Brooklyn's main daily paper as well as a timeline of the important changes to the paper's format, layout, and content organization. Chronicles the communities' history while under the reins of a host of well-regarded editors, including Walt Whitman.
Early American Newspapers, Series I, 1690 - 1876: Early American Newspapers, Series 1, 1690-1876 offers 350,000 fully searchable issues from over 710 historical American newspapers. Focusing largely on the 18th and early 19th centuries, this online collection is based on Brigham’s “History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820” and provides unprecedented access to the nation’s early periods. Additionally, EAN, Series I is cross-searchable with other Archive of Americana® collections held by ASU Library.
Pennsylvania Gazette Collection The Pennsylvania Gazette was considered the paper of record for colonial and revolutionary America. The full text coverage spans the time from significant early eastern colonial expansion ( 1728) through the first true world war ( 1763) and then through the Revolution ( with the government centered in Philadelphia) and then including the Constitutional Convention and Washington’s two terms. Coverage continues through 1800.
Provides full text coverage of the above newspapers for their respectives years. Taken as a whole, these newspapers provide excellent historical coverage geographically and nationally.
19th Century UK Periodicals Full text collection of series 1 (New Rederships) and Series 2 (Empire) or UK periodicals from the 19th century, representing the range of nineteenth-century periodical literature of interest to historians and students of nineteenth-century literature and culture, empire, feminism, the history of the book, the creative and performing arts, sport and leisure, science and medicine, the professions, in short, of all aspects of nineteenth-century life that the press encompassed.
Legal Periodicals Retrospective Retrospective database indexes over 750 legal periodicals published in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Annual surveys of the laws of a jurisdiction, annual surveys of the federal courts, yearbooks, annual institutes, and annual reviews of the work in a given field or on a given topic are also covered.
Nineteenth Century Masterfile 1787 - 1922 (Poole's Plus: The Digital Index of the 19th Century)
(1787-1906) Merges every relevant index to 19th- century newspapers, periodicals, books and government documents into a single, searchable site. Provides unprecedented access to the printed output of this extraordinary period. ( Primarily U.S. Periodicals and resources)
Periodical Archives Online- (1770-1995) Includes full text;
Full text archive of hundreds of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences from their first issues to 1995 Allows date-limited searching.
Periodicals Index Online, 1665 - 1995 An electronic index to the contents of thousands of periodicals in thehumanities and social sciences from their first issues to 1995. Every article is indexed
Indexes articles from the most popular general-interest magazines published in the U.S. & Canada. Covers all subjects & such general news areas as current events, business, fashion, politics, crafts, education, history, sports, food, & science. The retrospective database covers the years 1890-1982 and includes links to full text.
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