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History

Guide to history research at Temple University Libraries

Find Printed & Online Primary Sources in the Library Catalog

Many primary-source documents have been reproduced in books commonly held in research libraries. You can use Library Search to retrieve this material.

  • Enter your search terms and then select the Books & Media box.
  • Try adding keywords such as CorrespondenceDiariesInterviewsPersonal Narratives, and Sources along with your research topic to identify printed primary sources.
  • You can also filter for these terms under "Genre" to the left of your search results.
  • When you find a title of interest, such as personal narratives from the first World War, select the hyper-linked subjects in the item record to find additional titles. For example, the heading: World War, 1914-1918--Personal Narratives.

What Are Primary Sources?

"Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons. These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research" (Source: Primary Sources on the Web).

Scholars analyze and interpret primary sources in secondary works, particularly scholarly monographs (books) and peer-reviewed journal articles. Secondary sources need not be scholarly, however, and can include popular magazine and newspaper articles, non-academic biographies, textbooks, or websites. 

More Primary Source Options

The following TULibraries' databases and research tools will help users track down both paper and digital archives. The list also includes links to digital collections and virtual exhibitions at Temple University.

Quick Link to Primary Source Databases

Special Collections at Temple Libraries

 

Digital Collections Online access to Temple Libraries' primary source materials. This is only a small fraction of the total content available in Special Collections.

Urban Archives - Located on the first floor of Charles Library, the Urban Archives component of Temple University's Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) houses the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and several other important Philadelphia newspaper "clippings collections," as well as a range of archival materials, critical to the study of the late nineteenth and twentieth century history of the Delaware Valley. 

Students looking to find primary source documents on twentieth century Philadelphia are highly encouraged to visit the SCRC.

 

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Blockson Collection

The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection is one of the nation's leading research facilities for the study of the history and culture of people of African descent. This collection of over 500,000 items has materials on the global black experience in all formats. 

The Blockson Collection is location in Sullivan Hall.