Primary Source Links

  • The BEST place to start searching for a primary source is in the databases we subscribe to.  Many of them have primary sources and describe their value.
  • ALSO – THINK about what primary source another document mentions that you could search for.  (“I could use that speech that Hitler gave in 1939”)
  • What IS a primary source, you ask?  Yale University answers the question quite effectively!  Think you got it?  Take this quiz to see!
  • How do I cite a primary source?

US History Primary Sources

Avalon Project from Yale:  “will mount digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government. We do not intend to mount only static text but rather to add value to the text by linking to supporting documents expressly referred to in the body of the text.”

Library of Congress! The Library of Congress is America’s first established cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with millions of items including books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

National Archives for Educators and Students: The National Archives hold the documents of our national history.

Authentic History: “…artifacts and sounds from American popular culture.” Organized by decades.

Street Law: Landmark Cases of the US Supreme Court

Exploring Constitutional Law
Created by a professor of law who has also written a book on this subject. Covers specific cases and broad principles in simple language.

History Matters Even though it has not been updated recently, this is still a treasure trove of resources, particularly primary sources, searchable, well described and organized.

National Archives Video
Digitized video clips from the national archives organized by topic, department of interior or newsreels. Not extensive, but very interesting and not likely to be found on Netflix.

Digital History “This Web site was designed and developed to support the teaching of American History in K-12 schools and colleges and is supported by the College of Education at the University of Houston.”

Resources for History Teachers:  Though these pages are for history teachers, they can be of use finding good information about a historical topic, period, or person.

Oyez: Oyez (pronounced OH-yay)—a free law project from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII), Justia, and Chicago-Kent College of Law—is a multimedia archive devoted to making the Supreme Court of the United States accessible to everyone. It is the most complete and authoritative source for all of the Court’s audio since the installation of a recording system in October 1955. 

World History

UW Primary Source Guides:  Collection of primary sources both open and locked.

Fordham University Internet History Sourcebook:  Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History.  Use the menus on the left side.

British Library Learning Timelines

Eyewitness to History This British Library timeline allows you to explore collection items chronologically, from medieval times to the present day.It includes a diverse combination of texts: those that allow glimpses of everyday life (handbills, posters, letters, diaries), remnants of political events (charters, speeches, campaign leaflets), and the writings of some of our best known historical and literary figures.

The National Archives of the United Kingdom UK government’s archives includes a variety of primary documents. A fee is required to view some documents.

Canadian Primary Source Collection

U. S. Census Bureau International Database Just as the title indicates, this databases has current population demographics for international countries.

NationMaster “NationMaster is a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations. NationMaster is a vast compilation of data from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, UN, and OECD”

Resources for History Teachers:  Though these pages are for history teachers, they can be of use finding good information about a historical topic, period, or person.

Newspapers and Journals

Database Password Launch – see Proquest Research Databases

Audio Video Sources

WGBH Public Television Archive Many Primary source interviews, video, images – productions on all topics produced by the largest distributor of public television programs. Searchable, organized by topic.

Other great sites for primary sources

Major Collections of Primary Sources by the American Library Association. Comprehensive links to finding primary sources and tips on how to evaluate them.

Timeline of Art History “Timeline of Art History is a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from around the world, as illustrated especially by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection.”

AllPsych Online: The Virtual Psychology Classroom: one of the largest and most comprehensive psychology websites on the Internet.  You’ll find over over 920 individual, cross referenced, web pages and an estimated 3000 pages of printed material.  AllPsych is referenced by over 100 colleges and universities in ten countries.


Map Sites: Maps of all sorts including outline maps to fill in.

Polyhedron Maps: If you ever wanted a 3D map of the world in a variety of forms, here is your site.

World Mapper…a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest.”

Arizona Geographic Alliance: Good outline maps at this link – emphasis on the Southwest United States, but cover the world.

Symbols  What does that symbol mean? Searchable by description, which they teach you how to do. Can also search by word description – “what does a caduceus look like?”