History - United States - Primary Sources

Best Bets

Primary Sources - Databases

Ancestry Library Edition (Available on campus only)
Contains links to oral histories.
European Views of the Americas 1493 to 1750
Guide to printed records about the Americas written in Europe before 1750. Coverage includes the history of European exploration as well as portrayals of native American peoples, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, slavery, pirates, commerce, religion, and more.

Primary Sources in Books in the Library

Primary sources can be published in books. Use the main search in Argos and include search terms personal narratives, sources, diaries, memoirs, papers, speeches, or letters.

Personal narratives is a term assigned by librarians and is used for first person accounts.
Diaries and memoirs are terms used by writers and editors to describe their document. These are also normally in the first person.
Letters and correspondence are published correspondence and occasionally include both outgoing and incoming letters.
Papers include correspondence, speeches and other previously unpublished items by the author.
Speeches were written to be spoken and have often been published.
Sources is another term assigned by librarians and often includes all of the types of documents listed above as well as government records.

Some sample subject searches:
World War, 1939-1945 Personal narratives
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Personal narratives.
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Sources.
United States--History--Revolution--Sources.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources.
United States--Social conditions--1933-1945--Sources.
Presidents--United States--Correspondence.
African Americans--History--Sources.
United States--Race relations--Sources.
Indians of North America--History--Sources.

Primary sources in E-books


Primary Sources - Government Sources

American Memory Gateway to huge number of collections from the Library of Congress National Archives