It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Primary sources on American Indian history and culture that provide a unique insight into interactions between American Indians and Europeans from their earliest contact, continuing through the turbulence of the American Civil War, the on-going repercussions of government legislation, right up to the civil rights movement of the mid- to late-twentieth century. This collection also includes indigenous peoples of Mexico and Canada.
Coverage: 16th to 20th century
Western American history and cultural studies. Contains original manuscripts, rare printed books, maps and ephemeral material from the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana at the Newberry Library, Chicago - regarded as one of the finest collections of Western Americana in existence.
Covers the diverse history of Caribbean islands over a span of nearly 400 years. Offering more than 1,200 books, pamphlets, almanacs, broadsides and ephemera, its geographical focus is all of the islands of the Caribbean Sea, widely referred to as the West Indies, and nearby islands technically not part of the Caribbean chain. Also included are rare works that cover both Caribbean islands and neighboring areas such as Florida, Mexico and Brazil. In addition, due to the nature of the Atlantic slave trade, some works also cover Africa, especially the West African coastal nations that played a key role in the transportation of the enslaved to the New World.
Search multiple newspaper archives back to the first issues. Includes complete issues of the Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), Austin American Statesman (1871-1980), Chicago Defender (1909-1975), Chicago Tribune (1849-1997), Christian Science Monitor (1908-2006), Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), Los Angeles Times (1881-1996), New York Times (1851-2016), Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002), Wall Street Journal (1889-2002), and Washington Post (1877-2003).
Coverage: Varies by newspaper.
The Race Relations Department and its annual Institute, based at Fisk University from 1943-1970, were set up by the American Missionary Association to investigate problem areas in race relations and develop methods for educating communities and preventing conflict. This is a collection of their work which documents three pivotal decades in the fight for civil rights in America through the eyes and work of sociologists, activists, psychologists, teachers, ministers, students and housewives. 1928-1976.
What is a Primary Source?
Primary sources, for historical purposes, are most often defined as eye-witness accounts of events/historical periods. Those accounts written or created at the time, not with 20/20 hindsight.
These sources reflect the point of view of a participant or observer at a particular point of time. There are a wide range of source materials available for historical research. For example:
Magazines, newspapers, books, and pamphlets written and published during a particular time period
Diaries, letters, or papers usually written for personal reasons. Some of these may have been published later, usually after the writer’s death.
Reports and records such as census data or other government documents.
Autobiographies and memoirs often written long after the events took place and therefore, may be somewhat less reliable.
Photos, audio recordings, movies, buildings, and other physical objects may also reveal information about the time period and popular culture
Compilations of primary sources such as a book containing many short excerpts from primary sources may not always be as useful as the original sources themselves.
Source materials may have a bias or purpose which you should be aware of. For example, an article from a northern paper during the civil war will read much differently than an article from a southern paper. When reading primary sources, think about why the piece was written, when it was written, and what it tells us about the writer and the time period.