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Primary Sources: Finding Primary Sources

A guide to understanding and finding primary sources at the USA Marx Library.

Ways to Find Primary Sources

Here are some ways to find primary sources on your topic:

1.  Check the bibliographies of your found secondary sources to see what primary sources they are using for their argument.  Then use library resources or the open internet (Google is a great option) to see if you can locate these sources.  Sometimes these resources can be requested via ILL if they cannot be located in our collection or on the open internet.

2.  Search SouthCat (see box below) for published sources or sourcebooks.

3.  Try Googling your topic and primary sources ex. Cuba "free people of color" 19th century.  Many libraries, museums, and historical societies have digitized collections that are open to the public.  

Finding Primary Sources Using SOUTHcat

Use the USA Marx Library Catalog: SOUTHcat to locate books, videos, and audio materials located in the USA Library. 

Use some of the keywords listed in the examples under Primary Sources and add a personal name, country, or time period.

Examples of Keyword Searches:

     elizabeth browning letters

     thomas jefferson correspondence

     "civil war" "united states" "personal narrative?" (phrase search combined with truncation search)

     renaissance sources

     george washington papers

     lewis clark journals

     michelangelo drawings

     mormon "life writings"

You may also search Subject Heading Keyword using many of the same terms.

Examples of Subject Heading Keyword:

     "united states" history sources

     women diaries

     presidents speeches

     faulkner correspondence

World Cat Search

Use WorldCat to find sources at other libraries other than USA Marx Library.  To request a source, use InterLibrary Loan.  For more information on InterLibrary Loan click here.
The same types of keyword and subject heading keyword searches listed above also work in WorldCat.
Search for an item in libraries near you:>>

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Subject Librarian

Ellen Wilson's picture
Ellen Wilson
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Marx Library 420
5901 USA Drive North
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