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Primary Sources Searching

Recommended Databases

HathiTrust (@hathitrust) | Twitter   HathiTrust

  • To search HathiTrust for primary documents use Advanced Full-Text Search
  • Search subject terms in the field Full-Text + All Fields. Additional rows can be added as needed.
  • Choose the view option Full View Only. This will ensure access to the whole document.
  • Date of Publication specifies the publication date of documents retrieved or specified ranges.

  • Specify the language of the documents as well as the original material format
  • Once you receive your results you will click “Full View” to read the document  ArchiveGrid   

ArchiveGrid includes over 5 million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. With over 1,000 different archival institutions represented, ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums and historical societies.

  • Some collection descriptions include links to images, sound recordings, or other online materials. You can narrow your search results to those that have links to digital content by adding " has_links:1" to your search. Example: 1918 influenza has_links:1
  • Look for sources with [electronic resource] in the title.

Digital Archives

Library of Congress Digital Collections

Searches across and provides access to the more than 300 digital collections created by the Library of Congress. Includes photos, prints, drawings, maps, books, manuscripts, audio recordings, films, notated music, newspapers, and archived websites.

National Archives Catalog

The online catalog of the National Archives and Records Administration's nationwide holdings, including the Washington DC area, Regional Archives, and Presidential Libraries. It can also be used to search a subset of NARA documents that are available online.

New York Public Library Digital Collections

Explore 899,102 items digitized from The New York Public Library's collections. This site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.

UHM Library Digital Image Collections

The Digital Collections at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Library include historical and cultural material that has been scanned and made available online. These collections feature scanned material from the Archives and Manuscript Collections, the Asia Collection, art works from the Jean Charlot Collection, resources related to Hawai’i and Pacific culture and history, and material from the Rare Collection.

Open repositories


Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.


New York Times

The New York Times Article Archive provides partial and full-text digital versions of articles from 1851 to Today. The TimesMachine  is a browser-based digital replica of all issues from 1851 to 2002 available to print and digital subscribers.

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