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Primary sources are documents, images, or artifacts that provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence of a historic topic. These sources are original documents created or experienced contemporaneously with the topic being researched. Here are some examples of primary sources:
archives and manuscript material
artifacts (e.g. clothing, furniture, tools, etc.)
autobiographies and memoirs
diaries and journals
original documents (e.g. birth certificates, property deeds, trial transcripts etc.)
personal letters and correspondence
research article containing original research
research data (e.g. statistics, data sets, etc.)
surveys and field work
works of art
works of literature
Primary Source Anthologies Items on Reserve
(Located at the Circulation Desk, shelved under Faussette)
John Burch, ed. The Great Society and the War on Poverty: An Economic Legacy in Essays and Documents. ABC-CLIO, 2017.
David Enck-Wanzer, ed. The Young Lords: A Reader. NY: New York University Press, 2010.
Philip S. Foner, ed. Black Panthers Speak. NY: DaCapo PRes, 1995.
David M. P. Freund, The Modern American Metropolis: A Documentary Reader. J. Wiley & Sons, 2015.
Henry Hampton and Steven Fayer, eds. Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s. NY: Bantam Books, 1990.
Becky M. Nicolaides and Andrew Wiese, eds. The Suburb Reader . NY: Routledge, 2006.
Andres Torres and Jose E. Velazquez, eds. The Puerto Rican Movement: Voices from the Diaspora. Temple University Press, 1998.
Primary Source Databases Available at University at Albany
*The University at Albany has two primary libraries. The Dewey Graduate Library is located about a 17 minute walk from CSR. Community users can access their databases until 4/1, after which they will change their access policy. You can access databases at the main University Library now and into the foreseeable future. In both cases you will need to check in at either their Circulation or References Desks and ask for for guest access.
The Libraries at the University at Albany own a number of useful databases that you can access by visiting their campus and checking in at their Reference Desk. Some examples:
African American Newspapers, The 19th Century
Proquest Historical Newspapers (Includes: Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Washington Post
Chronicling America (Historic newspapers from 1836-1922)
Nineteenth Century Collections Online (Primary source collection)
Nineteenth Century US Newspapers
You can also check books out directly from the UatA Libraries with a DAP Card .
Resources on the Web
Many states have archives with digital collections that can be discovered via a Google search. Also keep in mind colleges and universities located in your city. Many of these institutions have archives with local and regional focuses. Larger public libraries may also have digital collections containing primary source material.
You may not always have access to all of the content on these websites. If you identify an item that you would like to investigate further, but are unable to access it, consider submitting an Interlibrary Loan request for the item or get in touch with Young-In and she will provide guidance.
The Gilded Age and Progressive Era: A Primary Resource Guide
Today's Library of Congress is an unparalleled world resource. The collection of more than 168 million items includes more than 39 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages; more than 72 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world's largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings. A portion of this collection is available digitally through the Library of Congress' Digitial Collections website.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper. Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept by the National Archives. A portion of these valuable records are preserved and are available via the National Archives website.
DPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more—are free and immediately available in digital format.
HathiTrust Digital Library is a digital preservation repository and highly functional access platform. HathiTrust provides long-term preservation and access services to digitized content from a variety of sources, including Google, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, and in-house member institution initiatives. Items in the public domain are in full-view for everyone and items held in copyright are searchable.
History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web was first developed in 1998 by the American Social History Project/Center for Media & Learning, City University of New York, and the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, with initial funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Over the past several years, it has become a highly regarded gateway to web resources as well as a repository of unique teaching materials, first-person primary documents, and guides to analyzing historical evidence for high school and college students and teachers of American history.
A list of over 250 libraries and archives that focus mainly on localized, regional, and U.S. history. The list contains several groupings, including collections by state and collections by subject or theme.