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Primary Sources: Books

This guide provides information about the different types of primary source documents.

Books as Primary Source

The CBC Library has many published primary sources dealing with history. Primary sources for other regions and time periods are also available. These include books written during the period for your topic (i.e., during the Russian Revolution), books written by participants, published collections of correspondence and other personal writings, memoirs and reprints of collections of primary source material.

Digital Collections of Early Books

Many copyright free books (those published prior to 1924, US government publications and more) are available on the web free of charge.  Some collections to search are:

Using Story Library Catalog to Find PUblished Primary Sources

To find published primary sources use the following strategies and search terms when searching the Story Library Catalog

  • Search the catalog or books written by key participants and organizations, e.g., Martin Luther King or the NAACP
  • Do a keyword search and limit your search by publication date, e.g., books published between 1955 and 1965 on civil rights 
  • Do a keyword search for your topic/event and add special terms that designate primary source
  • church records and registers
  • correspondence 
  • diaries
  • early works to 1800
  • interviews 
  • personal narratives
  • probate records 
  • sermons 
  • sources 
  • wills