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History: Eastern/Central Europe and Russia: Primary Sources

A guide to library historical research

Useful Tips

Browse footnotes and bibliographies of books, encyclopedias, and articles for information about primary sources. 

Search the Library Catalog for primary sources--both unpublished manuscripts and modern editions in print and online, sometimes in translation, of original primary sources. Use the advanced search with terms like:

personal narratives
description and travel


Newspapers Tips

With the exception of the
collections listed here,
newspapers are generally
not available full text before 1980,
especially non-US papers.

But older newspapers are
often available on microfilm

and can be interlibrary loaned.
There will be no index and
using newspapers on microfilm
is hard, time-consuming work.

To locate newspapers on
microfilm, use  Worldcat: 

country = subject
newspaper* = keyword,
limit =
serial publications
format = microfilm. 
Do NOT specify dates.


 Primary Sources in Archives

Kroch Rare and Manuscript Collections
The Rare and Manuscript Division is located in an underground addition attached to Olin Library. It houses manuscripts from a variety of periods and several special collections.

Archives typically have websites with basic information and contacts if not guides to and catalogs of their collections. Major archives and repositories generally publish guides in print which often can be found through a keyword search (using the name of the archive) in the CU catalog, Worldcat, or RLIN.


pre-1923 Primary Sources

Integrated History a collection of primary sources in English relating to the history of East-Central Europe

Online Collections

EastView Universal Databases
A rich collection of digital materials including Russian newspapers (in Russian), newswires (in English), government documents (in Russian), secondary books, secondary popular and scholarly articles (in English), and other materials. Best for late 20th-21st century topics.

Brill's Primary Sources Online: Slavic and Eurasian Studies
Excellent collection of media, images, press, from the early
20th century. (in Russian)


Published bibliographies

Published bibliographies--whole books/series devoted to listing and describing primary and secondary sources--are especially important for this historical period/regions.

To find them, use the catalog's guided keyword search = country + bibliography as subject words.  The same strategy will work in Worldcat.

Sample titles

East Central and Southeast Europe : a handbook of library and archival resources in North America (1976) Olin Library Reference + Z2483 .E128

The Habsburg monarchy 1804-1918: books and pamphlets published in the United Kingdom between 1818-1967; a critical bibliography.  Olin Library Z2119 .B85

Osterreichische historische Bibliographie. Austrian historical bibliography. (1945-2005) Olin Library Z2116 .O29

Bibliografia historii polskiej za lata. (1944-2005) Olin Library Z2526 .B582

Official Sources in English

Official Government Collections in English from the US and UK governments


Research Guide for UN Documents at Cornell

Research Guide for the European Union

Foreign relations of the United States: electronic facsimile. Some years may not be available. Also available through the Department of State

U.S. Congressional serial set (Online) 1817-1980 Full text of all the reports, documents, and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Still in progress.

A century of lawmaking for a new nation: U.S. Congressional documents and debates, 1774-1873 Presents records and acts of Congress from the Journals of the Continental Congress through The Congressional Globe, which ceased publication with the Forty-second Congress in 1873.

Finding Guide to U.S. Government Documents at Cornell

British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles.  Included are the House of Commons Journal and House of Lords Journal

Finding British Sessional Papers at Cornell


Primary Source Newspapers



EastView Universal Databases- selected Russian newspapers in Russian (as well as other materials in English).

Lexis Nexis Academic News from around the world as of 1980.

Foreign Broadcast Information Services (FBIS) daily reports, 1974-1996. Official US government English translations of radio and television transcripts and newspaper articles from around the world. Pre-1974 text on microfiche or microfilm. See Locating FBIS Microfiche in Olin Library 1947-1974 is unindexed, by region on Olin Microfilm 298.

Library Press Display Recent issues only.


More international newspapers...



United States

ProQuest historical newspapers. Older issues of major US papers such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, etc.

Poole's Plus: Indices to Nineteenth-Century Newspapers, Periodicals, Books and Government Documents

More American newspapers...



Selected Primary Source Periodicals


Periodicals Index Online (formerly PCI) Covers 1770-1993. Index. The scope is international, including journals in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and other languages.

Readers' guide retrospectiveComprehensive index of the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States 1890 through 1982.

Internationale Bibliographie der geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Zeitschriftenliteratur: IBZ. (in print in Olin Reference)  A German index of a significant proportion of the periodicals published on the European continent. 19th century.

American Periodical Series/APS online.  1740-1900. Indexes special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children’s and women’s magazines. Useful for historical advertising.


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