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English 2100: African American and Caribbean Narratives of Historical Revision and Historical Recovery: Historical/Primary Resources

Tips on finding primary/historical sources

  • Know the date of the event or work you are researching.
  • Notice which dates are covered by the database you're using.
  • Terminology is often different in earlier times. E.g. Negro rather than Black, etc.
  • Types of publications may be unfamiliar to you: broadsides, conduct manuals, printed sermons, etc.
  • Many of these databases search the full-text and will retrieve a lot that may seem irrelevant because the words you searched are far apart in the document. Look under "help" in each database to see how to use "proximity operators" to keep words close together.
  • Examine the bibliographies in more recent works on your topic to see what historical sources were used.

Visual Resources

Newspapers & Periodicals

Books, Legal, and Government Publications

The following databases contain the full text of books and documents from earlier times.
There are also many older materials in our print collection, which may be found using the MERLIN catalog.
To find historical sources in MERLIN, search your topic as a keyword and limit by publication date or include one of the following words in the subject field: sources, diaries, correspondence, personal narratives.