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HIST 1460: Papers of Empire: Writing and the Colonization of America from Columbus to Lewis and Clark (Fall 2017): Primary Sources

A guide to library 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Search the Library Catalog for primary sources--both unpublished manuscripts and modern editions in print and online.

Use the guided keyword search with your terms and the word sources as a subject.

Advanced Search Tips

Bibliographies, edited collections of primary sources, or guides can help identify primary sources.

Use the catalog's guided keyword search for terms associated with your topic (preferably subject terms) in combination with terms (as subjects) such as--
sources, catalogs
bibliography
archiv? (the question mark signifies truncation of a word in the CU catalog--in this case, archiv? = archive, archival, or archives)
handbooks

Also try searching on terms (as subjects) associated with particular genres of primary sources:
personal narratives
letters
diaries
papers
maps
micro? (for microtexts such as microfiche or microfilm)
description and travel (for travel literature; check the original date of publication)
Early works to 1800 (for material written before 1800)

RMC American Indian Collections

Music & Sound Recordings

Music Online: Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries

Includes American Indian music and other sound recordings.

Find Primary Sources

Primary Source Collections

 

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.  (73 volumes in print at Olin Library F1030.7 .Z7)

The Garland Library of Narratives of North American Indian Captivities  Indian captivity narratives (reprints) 1682 to 1962.

Evans digital edition (American Imprints) Books, pamphlets, broadsides, ephemera printed in the US during the 17th and 18th century American life. In progress.

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.

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

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 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. 

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

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.

Iroquois Indians [microform]: a documentary history of the diplomacy of the Six Nations and their League.  (Olin Library Film 5847) The guide to the microfilm is housed in Olin Reference's Microform Guide section arranged by film number. Fifty reels.

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.

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.

The Records of the Albany Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1678-1755: An Integrated Digital Database

 

Africa Research Central: Primary Sources for African Studies--a wonderful database of Primary Sources for the Study of Africa; also good is an excellent and active email/bulletin board discussion lists found through African Studies H-Net Listserv

Official Sources

 

Britain

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (1688-to present) Full text with detailed subject indexing.

British Records on the Atlantic World Consists of 12 collections of manuscript material found in England.  Includes materials such as journals, correspondence, official records, personal papers, and printed books from over a two hundred year period, all related to British involvement in the Atlantic region, including both Africa and the Americas.  It has a wealth of information about Britain’s colonization, commercial, missionary and even literary relations with Africa and the Americas. Alongside the records of Liverpool merchants involved in the infamous Triangular Trade, there are those of slave plantation owners, of early Anglican missionaries, and of naval and customs officials.

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

Guide to Finding British Sessional Papers at Cornell

 

United States

American Indian law collection
700 unique titles and 350,000 pages dedicated to American Indian Law. Includes an archive of treaties, federal statutes and regulations, federal case law, tribal codes, constitutions, and jurisprudence.

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.

Guide to Finding U.S. Government Documents at Cornell

The making of modern law: legal treatises 1800-1926.  The Nineteenth Century and Twentieth Century Legal Treatises microfilm collections and 21,000 Anglo-American legal works including casebooks, local practice manuals, form books, works for lay readers, pamphlets, letters, speeches as well as material that isn't narrowly legal.

Newspapers

Primary Source Newspapers

 

United States

American Historical Newspapers Online

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.

America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876.  

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

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

 

 

International

The Times digital archive, 1785-2006 Full-text and full-image articles from the Times of London for the years 1785-2006.

Paper of record. Historical archive of full-page newspaper images dating from the 1700's. Included are newspapers from Australia, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and United States of America. Many of these titles date from the early 1800s to the mid 1900s.