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The Historian's Craft: HIST 2001 LRS

Resources and strategies for the history methodology course Historian's Craft

Introduction to Library Primary Source Databases

Temple Libraries has access to many subscription collections of online primary sources. Your can search or browse two of our largest collections of primary sources:

  • AM Explorer - Primary sources from many different archives and time periods
  • Gale Primary Sources - Rich collection of newspapers and a few other primary source types

There are also printed primary sources, archival collections in Temple's Special Collections Research Center, and freely available online primary sources available from libraries and cultural institutions around the world. 

Doing primary source research is one of the most rewarding aspects of historical research but tracking down those sources can be a challenge. Contact your librarian for help!

Excellent Free Digital Primary Source Collections

There are mainly freely available digital primary sources online from various archives, museums, and cultural institutions. Here are a few of the largest collections:

Find Published Primary Sources at Temple

Many primary-source documents from have been reproduced in books commonly held in research libraries. You can use Library Search to retrieve this material. Select Books & Media from the header.

Try adding keywords such as CorrespondenceDiariesInterviewsPersonal Narratives, and Sources along with your research topic to identify printed primary sources. You can also filter by these terms in the genre facet to the left after you search.

When you find a title of interest, for example, a primary source by William Penn on contact with the Lenape in colonial Pennsylania, you can select the hyper-linked subject in the item record to find additional titles. Sample subject heading: Pennsylvania -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775 -- Sources

Special Collections at Temple Libraries

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.


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.