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Search the Library Catalog for primary sources--both unpublished manuscripts and modern editions in print and online, sometimes in translation, of original primary sources.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

Image: reels of microfilm

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!

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

Image: microfilm reader

Archival Collections

Digital Collections

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

Major Repositories

Peru: Archivo General de la Nación

The Newberry Library's Latin American History Collection

Newberry Library Digital Collections (via Internet Archive)

Yale University Latin American Pamphlet Collection: Peru (Olin Microfiche 794)

The Latin American Pamphlets Collection--available on microfiche--contains approximately 10,000 priceless publications documenting social, political and economic conditions in the region from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. While coverage is strongest for independence movements betweeen 1808 and 1830, particularly in Mexico and Peru, the collection of first-hand accounts, government records, economic reports, biographies, political broadsides, scholarly theses, religious and civic speeches, and playbills is a springboard for countless research projects, ranging from internal social history to the United States-Mexican conflict.

In addition to illuminating Spanish civil society, religion, military, economy, and government in the Andes before nineteenth century independence, the Andean Collection contains religious documents detaling native peoples' "demonic" religious practices, first hand accounts of the Tupac Amaru indigenous rebellion, correspondence by and related to revolutionary leaders Simón Bolívar, José de San Martín, and Antonio José de Sucre, and foreign correspondence sketching Lima society between 1869 and 1871. The collection is mostly focused on Peru, but includes Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Personal correspondence, government reports, laws, accounting ledgers, official Church documents, manuscripts and publications document the Bourbon reforms, Indian unrest, the Wars of Independence, the early Republics, and the nineteenth century war of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation. Also of interest are Jesuit reports from indigenous communities in Paraguay and other remote environs. The collection's depth provides insights to both 'everyday' social history as well as the racial, economic, and religious fires that fueled the region's most dramatic conflicts.

Guide to Latin American pamphlets from the Yale University Library, selections from 1600-1900

  • v. 1. Mexico: Subject guide, A-Im.
  • v. 2. Mexico: Subject guide, In-Z.
  • v. 3. Mexico: Author/Title guide.
  • v. 4. Mexico: Chronological guide.
  • v. 5. Peru: Subject guide.
  • v. 6. Peru: Author/Title & Chronological guide.
  • v. 7. Miscellaneous guide.