Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Primary Source Databases by Time Period
Primary sources can be found in a variety of places both online and in person: digital collections, databases, special collections and archives, and more. Get started on your search with these online resources.
Lets you search catalogs of libraries around the world in one place. Find both primary and secondary sources like books and archival collections. These might include memoirs, diaries, and compiled papers. Items can often be requested and obtained through Interlibrary Loan.
HathiTrust Digital Library
SMU users can log in for full access to in-copyright works online. You can find secondary sources AND primary sources, depending on the context of your research.
American Broadsides and Ephemera
Contains broadsides from 1820-1900 and ephemera from 1760-1900. Subjects range from accounts of the Civil War and natural disasters to official government proclamations, tax bills and town meeting reports.
Library of Congress Digital Collections
View maps and photographs; read letters, diaries and newspapers; hear personal accounts of events; and listen to sound recordings and watch historic films.
Ancestry Library Edition
Can be used for historical research as well as genealogy. Includes records from the United States Census; military records; court, land and probate records; vital and church records; directories; passenger lists and more.
A digital library of more than one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences.
Try these search terms in Library Search or WorldCat:
- Oral history
- Personal narratives
- Pictorial Works