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ENG 234: Using the web

Searching for Primary Sources using the Web

Using the Web for finding primary sources. The free web is one of the richest sources of primary source material but it requires the user to carefully evaluate what they find.

Review this recommended Web Guide before you start your search: Using Primary Sources on the Web. An excellent web guide by the American Library Association includes search strategies, recommended resources, and evaluation tips

Try a search on your topic. Type in your topic include the words “primary source” and site:edu. Example:

“suffrage” “primary sources” site:edu

Some recommended web sites for primary sources:


Family Search

US Census


   Web Portals

American Women's History: A Research Guide - Guide to digital collections related to US women's history

Women Working  "A digital exploration of women's impact on the economic life of the United States between 1800 and the Great Depression."

Gifts of Speech A collection of women's speeches from around the world

Best of History Web Sites. Best of History Web Sites is an award-winning portal created for history teachers, students, and general history enthusiasts.

Internet History Sourcebooks Project The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.

Repositories of Primary Sources A listing of over 5000 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources for the research scholar.

WWW Virtual Library: History Index. Index of recommended web sites on all aspects of history.


Government and Museums

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This site provides online access to photo and document archives of the United States

National Women's History Museum  Many online exhibits with primary source material.

Local Historical Societies – search for specific sites. For example the Kutztown Historical Society site can be found by doing a google search on this topic. These sites may contain local documents and/or databases.