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HIST 344 - The Age of Industry in America

Let this guide be your guide through Dr. Jackson's biographical history project. Here you'll find resources for finding primary sources, using Chicago/Turabian Style, and some ideas for contextualizing your chosen subject in history.

Primary sources at Tomlinson Library

Primary Source Collections in the Wild Web

How to find primary sources online

The tools you use to find primary sources will be individual to your topic. If you need more options, think back to our mapping exercise. You can use many of the same questions to brainstorm digital collections that may exist for your topic. Keep these especially in mind:

  • Is your subject associated with a particular place (state, house, university, town, etc.)? Does that place have an archive or history museum?
    • An example is Franklin D. Roosevelt. Many museums and colleges in the Mid-Hudson Valley in New York have his papers and correspondence. He lived much of his life in that area and his presidential museum is located at his family's former residence in Hyde Park. Marist College in nearby Poughkeepsie, NY hosts the digital collections.  
  • Are they associated with a particular movement or ideology? Does that movement have a digital collection or museum? Is the movement associated with a place (state, university, town, etc.)? Does that place have an archive or history museum?
    • Take Quakerism as an example. Haverford College in Pennsylvania has an extensive digital collection of documents that document Quaker life and theology.
  • Do a quick Google or other web search for the person's name plus "papers" or "collection" or "archives." This can sometimes lead you to the institution that holds their papers, but beware that their papers might not be digitized and readily available to you.
  • If it's an organization or institution that you're researching to find more about the context of your subject's life, search for the name of the organization plus "records."

You can also use your secondary sources to get an idea of where primary sources might exist. Take a look at the references in the bibliography and see where the author(s) found their primary sources.