Primary sources can be found in a variety of library tools:
- Catalogs: OskiCat and Melvyl
- Online book and text collections
- Primary Source databases provided by the Library
includes databases for finding newspaper articles, such as Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) or magazine articles, such as Reader's Guide
- Vetted sites on the web:
Learn more about your topic in advance:
- names of relevant individuals and organizations
- dates of events
- what terminology was used at the time by participants and observers? (ex: negro or colored instead of african american)
Primary Sources - Mark Twain
There are MANY ways to find primary source material by or directly relating to Mark Twain.
Mark Twain Project Online allows searchable online access to Letters written to and from Mark Twain from 1853-1880.
Also online: annotated texts of the Autobiography (volume 1), Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, and Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians
with a handy User's Guide!
Search OskiCat for author: twain, mark for published writings, published correspondence, etc.
To find published selections of his correspondence, search:
mark twain correspondence selections
or, mark twain letters and pull down the "Entire Collection" menu to "Main (Gardner) Stacks"
The list includes published selections: Love Letters, Letters in the Muscatine Journal, Letters to his publishers, etc.
For all those miscellaneous little pieces, try The Complete Essays of Mark Twain (though sometimes you can find them by searching Oskicat too)
Search online. Many of Mark Twain's works are freely available online:
Internet Archive (advanced search: search by creator)
Project Gutenberg (go to the Online Catalog)
To find Twain's writings in the newspapers/journals in which they were originally published, search OskiCat for the title of the journal/newspaper (NOT the essay), for example:
title: north american review (and pull down the "Entire Collection" menu to "journals/magazines/newspapers")
Don't feel shy about asking for help!
Primary Source Databases
These are just a sampling of the Library databases available for primary sources. For a more extensive list of American primary source databases go here
American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library
Consists of more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical Library of Congress collections. The primary source and archival materials relating in the project cover topics from art and architecture to performing arts to technology and applied sciences.
This site allows users to search and view newspaper pages from 1880-1910 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. To date, over 200,000 pages of California newspapers have been digitized.
Everyday Life and Women in America
Providing access to primary source material from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History, Duke University and The New York Public Library. It comprises thousands of fully searchable images (alongside transcriptions) of monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes.
Full-image reproductions of Harper's Weekly from its beginning in 1857 to 1912. Provides access to information about 19th and early 20th century advertising, illustrations, culture, history, literature, and notable figures.
Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
Indexes articles from Chicago Defender (1905-1975), Chicago Tribune (1849-1986), Los Angeles Times (1881-1986), New York Times (1851-2004), San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922), Wall Street Journal (1889-1990), and Washington Post (1877-1991).
Making of America (Cornell University)
Access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles from 22 journals with 19th century imprints. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. Making of America is a collaboration between the libraries of Cornell University and the University of Michigan to document American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction by drawing upon the primary materials at these two institutions. The Michigan site is available at: http://www.hti.umich.edu/m/moagrp/
Making of America (University of Michigan)
Access to 9,500 books and almost 2500 digitized issues of 12 journals published in the 19th century. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. Making of America is a collaboration between the libraries of Cornell University and the University of Michigan to document American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction by drawing upon unique primary materials held at each institution. The Cornell site is available at: http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/index.html
Nation Digital Archive
Full text access to The Nation, a weekly news magazine covering U.S. politics and society since 1865.
Online Archive of California (OAC)
A searchable and browseable resource that brings together historical materials from a variety of California institutions, including museums, historical societies, and archives. Contains over 120,000 images; 50,000 pages of documents, letters, and oral histories; and 8,000 guides to collections. Images are organized into thematic and institutional collections, such as historical topics, nature, places, and technology.