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American History 1

Strategies and tips for locating resources for your research project.

Search Tips for Locating Primary Sources

There are some keywords that you can look for and use to your advantage while searching for historical data.  If you are looking for specific documents, you should search for that title information.  If you're looking for personal accounts, letters, etc., regarding a specific historical period, there are several things to try.

1. Determine the subject heading for the event or era

2. Consider using words such as:

  • diaries
  • letters
  • narrative
  • memoirs
  • stories
  • primary documents OR primary sources
  • historic documents
  • documents
  • speeches (especially for presidents or other dignitaries)
  • autobiography, etc.
  • Don't use all the words at once, try each of them separately

3. Search for key figures from historical events as authors rather than as subjects

Primary Sources

Check out this great resource from the Library of Congress.  They have indexed primary sources from every state in the union.  Simply click on the map to select the state you're interested in and browse the results.

http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/states/index.html

The map looks like this: