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HIST270S: Making Revolution (2016): Finding Primary Sources

Who might be interested in your topic?

Think about:

  • Local libraries (public or academic)
  • Historical societies
  • National libraries

Visit their home pages. Have they digitized materials? If they haven't digitized, have they published Finding Aids (which give you a good sense of what materials are contained in their collections)?

Contemporary Newspapers

Pamphlets / Newsletters / Newspapers


Collected/Published Works

When searching a database of books, whether the catalog or Google Books or WorldCat:

  • Keywords to use in searches: diaries / journals / sources / personal narratives / correspondence / letters documents
  • Also, look for these words in subject headings, and follow the subject links.

Contemporary Books and Journals

Google Books and HathiTrust are excellent sources for searching for full-text online books from the 1700s-1923 (why 1923? Anything published after 1923 is still in copyright and thus not in the public domain).

Much of the content of these two collections will be similar, because the academic libraries that have created the HathiTrust also constitute many of the libraries contributing to Google Books. However, HathiTrust offers traditional catalog searching in addition to full text searching capability.

Gerritsen Collection

Women and Social Movements International

Through the writings of women activists, their personal letters and diaries, and the proceedings of conferences at which pivotal decisions were made, this collection lets you see how women’s social movements shaped much of the events and attitudes that have defined modern life. Covers 1840 to the present.

Library Catalog


Try including keywords from the list of suggests to the left. Example: "sources France revolution"