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HIST 250 Historical Methods Class Guide

Finding Historic Primary Sources

History scholars and researchers desire primary sources to help them understand a specific event and its context. Typically they look for items created at the same time as an event such as:

  • Newspaper articles
  • Letters
  • Advertisements
  • Photos
  • Journals
  • Speeches
  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Government Documents

While some of these documents may be published into books, or available in our databases, a majority of them will be found in special collections and archives and require you to travel to access them. Closer to home, the Library's Special Collection houses primary sources pertaining to Brethren history, Shenandoah Valley history, and the Civil War. But, you may be able to find resources covering additional topics. Contact our Special Collections Librarian to see if we have any materials related to your topic.

Recently, more archives have started to digitize their collections, but not all of them. Below are examples of some freely accessible online digital collections from other libraries.

Digital Archives

General Digital Archives

Korean War Digital Archives

Vietnam War Digital Archives

Historical Newspaper Articles

Government Documents