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What is a primary source?
In history, primary sources are the raw material that you will analyze and interpret to better understand the past. They are produced during the time of the event or phenomenon you are investigating and will bring you as close to the past as is possible. Primary sources can take many forms including the words of participants or eyewitness descriptions, official records or governments or organizations, photographs, film or other media, and artifacts.
On this page you'll find help locating primary sources in newspapers, books (via UP Library Search), magazines, and online collections, and help locating advertisements.
Oregonian Collection with Historical Archive
Full text articles (including images) from The Oregonian from 1861-present, including Blogs (2005-2018) and Web edition articles (2012-present).
Oregon Newspaper Index
Citations for Oregonian articles covering state and local news (1852-1987). Also includes The Register-Guard (1963-2004) and The Oregon Daily Emerald (1900-1979). Search for articles, then go to Interlibrary Loan (UP ILLiad)
to request copies.
Provides citations for articles about Oregon topics in The Oregonian
and 12 other Oregon newspapers. 1974-2004 (varies by title). Search for articles, then go to Interlibrary Loan (UP ILLiad)
to request copies.
Full text collection of newspapers, magazines and journals from ethnic, minority and native presses written in English and Spanish. Includes the module Ethnic NewsWatch: A History™, which provides historical coverage of Native American, African American, and Hispanic American periodicals from 1959-1989. 1959-
Los Angeles Times (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Searchable full text of the Los Angeles Times from 1881-2012.
New York Times (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Searchable full text of the New York Times from 1851-2017.
Nineteenth (19th) Century U.S. Newspapers
Searchable full text of U.S. newspapers from 1800-1900.
ProQuest Historic Newspapers
Full text of the historic New York Times, Chicago (Daily) Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Washington Post.
San Francisco Chronicle (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Searchable full text of the San Francisco Chronicle from 1865 - 1922.
Washington Post (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Searchable full text of the The Washington Post from 1877-2004.
Wikipedia: List of online newspaper archives
Includes both free and pay wall blocked digital archives. Most are scanned from microfilm into pdf, gif or similar graphic formats and many of the graphic archives have been indexed into searchable text databases utilizing optical character recognition (OCR) technology.
Internet Archive: Television
Contains several collections of TV commercials.
The Advertising Archives
Provides over 100,000 U.S., British, French, and Spanish advertisements dating from mid-19th-century to present. Register to view larger images, save picture searches, and create lightboxes.
John W. Hartman Center Advertising Collections
An extensive online database of over 7,000 print advertisements, over 16,000 outdoor advertisements, and over 240 television commercials from the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, & Marketing History at Duke University.
Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920
Part of the Hartman Center Advertising Collections at Duke University, this collection provides over 3,300 advertising items and publications illustrating the rise of consumer culture and the birth of a professionalized advertising industry in the United States.
Vintage Ad Browser
This site aims to collect vintage ads from a variety of sources, including comic books, CD-ROMs, websites, APIs, books, magazines, and more.
This Library Resources for Communication Studies page can help you identify sources for historical advertising; look for the "Historical Online" and "Historical Archives" lists. Some sources listed on this page are fee-based and not available at Clark Library.
In the First Person
An index to English-language oral history sources around the world, including audio, video, and text of interviews, diaries, letters, memoirs and more.
A compilation of sources for students of medieval history, including the Internet Medieval Sourcebook.
EuroDocs: Primary historical documents from Western Europe
Transcriptions, facsimiles and translations of Western European documents that shed light on key happenings within the respective countries.
International Women's Periodicals, 1786-1933: Social and Political Issues (Archives Unbound)
Periodicals reflecting the lives, roles, and concerns of women, published between 1786-1933.
Women, War and Society, 1914-1918 (Archives Unbound)
Documents showing British women's perspectives on World War I, including pamphlets, reports, photographs, magazines, correspondence, and more.
Library of Congress Digital Collections
The Library of Congress portal is a gateway to primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States.
The Avalon Project
Yale University provides these primary source documents relating to law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy and government.
Black Freedom Struggle in the United States
Select primary source documents, provided by ProQuest, related to critical people and events in African American history.
Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers
An archive of digitized African-American newspapers that explores the everyday lives of African Americans in the twentieth century.
The Civil War in Words and Deeds (Archives Unbound)
Personal narratives and regimental histories from the Civil War era.
Digital Public Library of America
The Digital Public Library aims to "bring together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and make them freely available to the world." Its portal
provides innovative ways to search and scan through the united collection of millions of items, including by timeline
, virtual bookshelf
, and partner
The International Women's Movement: The Pan Pacific Southeast Asia Women's Association of the USA, 1950-1985 (Archives Unbound)
Conference proceedings, minutes, reports, photographs, and other materials created by the Pan Pacific Southeast Asia Women's Association of the USA between 1950-1985.
National Archives and Records Administration
Online access to NARA's collection, including the Access to Archival Databases, to search NARA's electronic records, and access to the Presidential Libraries.
Overland Journeys: Travels in the West, 1800-1880 (Archives Unbound)
Accounts from settlers based on The Plains and Rockies: A Critical Bibliography of Exploration, Adventure, and Travel in the American West, 1800-1865; and The Trail West: A Bibliography-Index to Western American Trails, 1841-1869.
The War of 1812: Diplomacy on the High Seas (Archives Unbound)
A collection of documents related to private armed vessels used during the War of 1812, including letters of marque for privateers, requests for permission to sail, agreements for the exchange of prisoners of war, and other correspondence.
Women's Issues and Their Advocacy Within the White House, 1974-1977 (Archives Unbound)
This collection documents Patricia Lindh’s and Jeanne Holm’s liaison with women’s groups and their advocacy within the White House on issues of special interest to women. It includes material accumulated by presidential Counselor Anne Armstrong and Office of Women’s Programs Director Karen Keesling.
Women Organizing Transnationally: The Committee of Correspondence, 1952-1969 (Archives Unbound)
Correspondence, records, minutes, and publications from The Committee of Correspondence, which advocated for women's involvement in foreign policy.
Portland (OR) Archives and Records Center
The City of Portland's archival records provide important historical evidence of the development of city government since 1851. Significant research subjects documented by the collection include, but are not limited to, urban planning, parks, land use, public works, economic development, public safety and social issues. The Archives' collections include an African American history guide
which compiles photos and documents, as well as information about historical archives and special collections in Oregon that house relevant historical materials.
UP Library Search
UP Library Search is a useful tool for locating primary sources from UP, Summit, and beyond. UP Library Search FAQ
Add one of these terms to your UP Library Search keyword search. For example: Oregon pioneer sources
- Charters, Grants, Privileges
- Description and Travel
- Personal Narratives
American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection
Full text of American periodicals published from 1684 - 1912.
Full text of American magazines and journals covering 1741-1940.
Life Magazine Archive
An extensive collection of the famed photojournalism magazine, spanning its very first issue in November, 1936 through December, 2000 in a comprehensive cover-to-cover format. Includes the front and back covers as well as all articles and advertisements.
The Nation Archive
Searchable full text archive of this publication with a liberal perspective, 1865-
News, Policy & Politics Magazine Archive
Full text archive of Newsweek magazine (3/4/33 - 12/24/12), as well as several other publications.
Time Magazine Archive
An extensive collection of the prominent weekly news magazine dating back to its first issue in March 1923 through December 2000, presented in a comprehensive cover-to-cover format. Includes the front and back covers as well as all articles and advertisements.
Women's Magazine Archive
Full text archive of 12 magazines: Better Homes & Gardens, Chatelaine, Cosmopolitan, Essence, Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, Parents, Redbook, Seventeen, Town & Country, WIN News, and Woman's Day. Coverage varies for each publication between 1846-2005.
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