About this guide
This site lists and describes the primary source collections to which the Cornell University Library provides access to online. It's a site to browse for appropriate online collections of full text historical primary sources to search, not to begin researching a specific topic.
This guide's focus is on online collections, but a few techniques for finding primary sources in print or in archives are detailed below.
Primary Sources in Print
Many primary sources are published as critical editions and/or translations in books.
Four strategies for locating published primary sources:
- Browse footnotes and bibliographies of secondary source books, encyclopedias, and articles for the titles of published primary sources.
- Search the Library Catalog. Use the advanced search with subject terms such as:
- personal narratives
- Search for a topic in the catalog then limit by publication year using the publication year facet.
Caveats: The date of publication of a book is not always an indication of whether something is a primary source. A modern, critical edition of a published primary source will have a recent date of publication.
Ask a Librarian for advice.