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History: Primary Sources

General guide to resources in the discipline of History.

What are Primary Sources?

A primary source is a source of information, such as document, recording, or artifact, that has a direct connection to a person from a period of time. Examples of primary documents are correspondence, diaries, memoirs or oral interviews.

A secondary source uses primary sources to create their argument. Examples of secondary sources are books or journal articles.

Primary Sources on the Web

Primary Source Documents through Drexel Library

Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1982)

This online equivalent of the printed index provides listings from over 375 popular press magazines and journals.

New York Times Index (Print)  1st Floor, Drexel Library Reference Z6953 .N56

Considered the national newspaper of record, the NYT began publishing in the 1850s. The Library has the NYT in various formats from 1851 - current. Full text articles from early dates (1851-1913) will be on microfilm.

Asian Discovery Package (Adam Matthew Digital) - Asian Studies

Collections of primary sources including original manuscripts, pamphlets, books, paintings, maps, and images relevant to Asian history.

Lexis Nexis Academic

Go the the 'Legal' tab when you enter this database to search through Supreme Court case transcripts, decisions and opinions.  Do note that the default for searching is both federal and state cases - you may want to choose one or the other for your search.

The Times Digital Archive, 1785 - 1985

An  archive of older articles from the Times.

CQ Historic Documents

Selected primary source documents from 1991 to present covering: Business, Economy, & Work; Defense, Security, & Military Affairs; International Affairs; Media, Culture, & Life in America; Health Care, Social Services, Housing, and Education, etc.

Subject Librarian

Daniel Holden's picture
Daniel Holden
Serials & Electronic Resources Librarian
Post Learning Commons and Drexel Library
Room 178
Saint Joseph's University