Oftentimes, browsing a collection lead to the discovery of rich resources. Library call numbers to browse for history include:
American History 973
Colonial History 973.2
Civil War 973.6
The West 978
Primary sources can be published in books. Use the in the Polaris catalog and include search terms personal narratives, sources, diaries, memoirs, papers, speeches, or letters.
Personal narratives is a term assigned by librarians and is used for first person accounts.
Diaries and memoirs are terms used by writers and editors to describe their document. These are also normally in the first person.
Letters and correspondence are published correspondence and occasionally include both outgoing and incoming letters.
Papers include correspondence, speeches and other previously unpublished items by the author.
Speeches were written to be spoken and have often been published.
Sources is another term assigned by librarians and often includes all of the types of documents listed above as well as government records.
Some sample subject searches:
World War, 1939-1945 Personal narratives
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Personal narratives
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Sources
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources
United States--Social conditions--1933-1945--Sources
United States--Race relations--Sources
Indians of North America--History--Sources
The purpose of this guide is to lead the beginning researcher to the most important and useful sources in the Reference Collection and online for the study of United States History. The list of sources is not exhaustive; please consult with a Reference Librarian for additional suggestions.
Unidentified soldier in Union uniform and unidentified young girl, probably his daughter.
Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs
[between 1861 and 1865]
Library of Congress
As you begin your research for history papers, consider checking out the Library's tutorials on "How to Do Research".
Ungraded, these modules will lead you through some important concepts and they're fun! They contain videos, PowerPoints and documents that you can download. Just scroll down and you'll see general modules as well as those devoted to scientific and historical research.
World War I Poster, circa 1917