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HIST 1200: Diasporic Fauna: Histories of Overseas Animals (Fall 2017): Primary Sources

A guide to library research

Primary Source Collections

Primary Source Collections

Early encounters in North America: peoples, cultures, and the environment. North America from 1534 to 1850. The collection focuses on personal accounts and provides unique perspectives from all of the protagonists, including traders, slaves, missionaries, explorers, soldiers, native peoples, and officials, both men and women.

American journeys eyewitness accounts of early American exploration and settlement.  Eyewitness accounts of North American exploration, from the sagas of Vikings in Canada in AD1000 to the diaries of mountain men in the Rockies 800 years later.

The Jesuit relations and allied documents: travels and explorations of the Jesuit missionaries in New France, 1610-1791; the original French, Latin, and Italian texts, with English translations and notes.  (Also in print, 73 volumes, at Olin Library F1030.7 .Z7)

North American women's letters and diaries: Colonial to 1950.
Full-text database of letters and diaries of women who lived in North America before 1950.

Early English books online (EEBO)
Covers 1450-1661.  

Eighteenth Century Journals: A portal to Newspapers and Periodicals, c.1685-1835  British Empire focus. This collection consists of 5 sections; Cornell currently subscribes only to Section III. Section III focuses on journals published outside of London--Canadian, Caribbean and Indian journals, Irish journals, and British provincial publications.

Eighteenth century collections online (ECCO).  Books, pamphlets, broadsides, ephemera printed in the United Kingdom, along with thousands of important works from the Americas, between 1701 and 1800. In progress.  

Gallica Digital archive from the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Mostly French language material. When searching, use the term "Guerre de Sept ans" as a subject.

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

British Periodicals Full text. Publications from the late seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries.

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library Primary-source collections on American history and culture, including photographs, documents, sound recordings, and motion pictures.

Early American Imprints Books, pamphlets, broadsides, ephemera printed in the US during the 17th and 18th century American life.

Historical Newspapers

Primary Source Newspaper Articles

The Times digital archive, 1785-2006  This is the London Times. An excellent resource for international news.

America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876.

ProQuest historical newspapers. The New York Times (1851-2003), the Wall Street Journal (1889-1989), the Washington Post (1877-1990), every page from every issue in PDF files.

Lexis Nexis Academic US news as of 1980.

Accessible archives: primary source material from 18th and 19th century periodicals.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers In development. Newspaper pages from 1880-1910

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


Gale's Primary Sources

Gale's Primary Sources  is a convenient portal to a number of collections (databases). Before you begin searching, take a look at the 20 databases to see if they will work for your topic.


Official Documents

Official Primary Sources

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.

ProQuest Congressional  Indexes information produced by or pertaining to the United States Congress from 1789 to the present. Provides full text for many titles, generally from the early 1990’s to the present. Includes bills, laws, legislative histories, committee prints, House and Senate documents and reports, the Congressional Record, Code of Federal Regulations, and Federal Register. Includes full text of Congressional Research Service reports, 1916-present; full text of Congressional hearings, 1824-2003; full text of Committee Prints, 1830-2003; and full text of the Serial Set Collection with Maps, 1789-1969. For a complete description of contents, coverage, and update frequency, consult the online Help section.

Even more...


Browse History: Primary Sources, a category in "Databases" at the library home page. The larger, more popular and important digital collections can be found here. All digital collections can also be discovered in the catalog.

Additional collections and techniques can be found in this in-development research guide:
Primary Sources: Collections available through Cornell