Skip to main content

Art History and Visual Studies: A Research Guide: Primary Sources

This research guide to art history and visual studies emphasizes reference resources and databases available to members of the Cornell community through the Cornell University Library.

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Search the Library Catalog for primary sources--both unpublished manuscripts and modern editions in print and online, sometimes in translation, of original primary sources.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 keywords such as:

sources
diaries
personal narratives
interviews
letters
correspondence

What is Microfilm?

 When you can't find published primary sources, you may be able to get ahold of electronic or microfilm copies

Much archival primary source material has been filmed over the years, but using it will take some getting used to.  Ask for help with microfilm, microfiche, or microcards at a reference desk!

A sense of what it is and how you use it: Using Microfilm


Archival Collections

Find an archival collection: Archive Finder

Video & Film

Electronic resources

This is just a sampling of the many, many primary resources available in electronic form.
Try the "history: primary sources" section of the Cornell library databases list.

Electronic resources: Historical Journal Articles

Historical International News

International News Services:

Keesing's World News Archive. Coverage note: Online full text coverage 1940 to date; online indexing, 1931- .

Keesing's World News Archive is the web-based version of Keesing's Record of World Events (1987- , Olin stacks + D 410 .K26) and Keesing's Contemporary Archives (1940-1986, Olin stacks + D 410 .K26). It is an authoritative monthly digest of worldwide political, diplomatic and economic affairs.

See also LexisNexis Academic.

International Newspapers:

Times Digital Archive offers online, full-text access to the Times of London from 1785 through 2006. This is the longest run of indexing and access available for any newspaper.

Examples of major international newspapers with separate print indexes:

Times, London. London: Times Newspapers Ltd.
(Olin stacks AI 21 .T58; see also the online index in Times Digital Archive above)

The Annual Index began, with much more detailed entries, in 1906, the title changing to the Official Index in 1914. The Times of London is located in the microfilm area, B Level, Olin Library (Film 308).

Le Monde. Paris: Le Monde, indexed 1944/1945-1951, 1958, 1965-1968, and 1985- .
(Olin stacks AI 21 .M741 +)

Le Monde (Film 481) has been published since 1944. It continues a newspaper called Temps (Film 2663), which began publication in 1861. A searchable full-text version of Le Monde is also available in the Electronic Text Center strating in 1995; ask at Olin Reference.

OTHER INDEXES TO INTERNATIONAL NEWSPAPERS: See our detailed list of international newspaper indexes in Olin Library.

Asian newspapers and indexes to Asian newspapers are kept in the Severinghaus Reading Room in Kroch Library.

DISCOVERING INTERNATIONAL NEWSPAPER HOLDINGS OUTSIDE CORNELL

ICON: International Coalition on Newspapers: Titles Preserved through ICON. Bibliographic information only. List of international newspapers preserved on microfilm. Linked CRL catalog includes specific holdings. Titles available from CRL via ILL. ICON's searchable union list of international newspapers; good historical data with preservation status and holdings information.