online primary sources by country/region
See the Find Primary Sources page of the Chinese History libguide for access to primary sources on Chinese history in English translation.
The Gitenstein Library e-books listed below merely scratch the surface of what is available. This canned search of the library's new discovery service, for example, reveals nearly 200 primary source e-books, most accessible from the HathiTrust Digital Library. Keep in mind that the Women's History and Periodicals tabs of this page reveal additional online primary sources. Examples from the Periodicals tab:
Explore carefully, but please do not hesitate to make an appointment with me for a research consultation (see the guide's homepage) if you wish.
Online reproductions of primary sources in American history are relatively abundant thanks in large measure to the digitization efforts of archives and libraries. No search for primary sources in American history is complete without a virtual visit to American Memory, Library of Congress. Search or browse this vast digital collection by topic, time period, or source types that include manuscripts, maps, motion pictures, photos, and more. Also see the many Digital Collections of the Library of Congress.
"The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science."
"Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes ten thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs" (University of North Carolina).
"Spanning a wide range of historical eras, geography, and media, NYPL Digital Collections offers drawings, illuminated manuscripts, maps, photographs, posters, prints, rare illustrated books, videos, audio, and more. Encompassing the subject strengths of the vast collections of The Library, these materials represent the applied sciences, fine and decorative arts, history, performing arts, and social sciences."
The United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an extraordinarily rich repository of primary sources on United States history, but only a small portion of the collection has been digitized. Begin with NARA's Research page, which includes access to:
The Archival Facility for NARA's Mid-Atlantic Region is located in Center City Philadelphia, approximately 45 minutes by car from TCNJ's campus.
online primary sources by historical topic
TCNJ students researching the Spanish Conquest should consult one or more of the following primary source accounts, preferably one each from the Nahua (indigenous) and Spanish perspectives. If Gitenstein Library does not hold the book that interests you, simply request it through our ILL service.
Find below links to online primary sources that inform scholars' understanding of the history of indigenous peoples north of the Rio Grande. Find additional primary sources in print by searching the Gitenstein Library catalog for <"Indians of North America" AND (sources OR narratives OR correspondence)>. Well worth consulting is the libguide authored by John Harrison, Librarian at Michigan State University, titled Native American Studies: Primary Sources.
online primary sources by type of source
Begun in 2008, HathiTrust Digital Library is a digital preservation repository asking to JSTOR, though primarily if not exclusively for public domain books. Titles were digitized from the collections of major research libraries. HathiTrust partners include Google, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, and others.
Any researcher with an internet connection can access HathiTrust e-books in the public domain, currently around 3,000,000 titles published prior to 1924! HathiTrust is similar to Google Books but the materials are better described and organized.
Find in this category digitized reproductions of full-text primary source documents including advertisements, broadsides, cartoons, clippings, diaries, election tickets, letters, memoirs and other personal narratives, menus, oral histories, programs, scripts, songs, speeches, and even timetables.
Find in this category digitized reproductions of full-text primary source documents that originated with federal and other governmental agencies.
Many online government documents are discoverable via the Gitenstein Library Catalog. From the Basic search page, enter your search term(s) into the blank text box, select Government Documents from the "Limit To:" box, and then click the Search button.
Search for government documents on the open web:
Canadian government documents can be searched on the experimental FRED system, University of British Columbia.
Find in this category links to digitized reproductions of primary works of literature. Literary works encompass authors' manuscripts (e.g., diaries, letters and notebooks written by hand); interviews or speeches given by authors; historical newspapers and other periodicals that contain book and play reviews (i.e., the initial reaction to a creative work); and other ephemeral documents generated contemporaneously with the creative work.
For a more extensive definition of primary sources see the What are Primary Sources? page of this research guide.
Find primary literary works, mostly in printed books held by Gitenstein Library, by clicking on the following Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):
Looking for a play? The library holds over 270 plays published by the Dramatists Play Service.
If you're looking for primary works of literature by country, use the formula below. Substitute "English" for American to find works by British authors, "German" for American for German authors and so on.
Or by genre:
Find in this category digitized historical maps from countries around the world.
Also worth exploring, in addition to the map sites below, is the National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS), University of Minnesota. "The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) provides free online access to summary statistics and GIS boundary files for U.S. censuses and other nationwide surveys from 1790 through the present."
Find in this category historical media such as drawings and paintings, still photographs and videos that originated mostly from the United States and United Kingdom.
All are open-source except for ARTstor and Vanderbilt Television News Archive, both licensed Gitenstein Library databases.