Locating Primary Sources
There are many access points to the vast collections of primary sources available to you.
Certain words and phrases will find primary sources in library catalogs. You can use these in OskiCat or Melvyl:
-early works to 1800
For specific search strategies, see the Library's guide to Finding Historical Primary Sources.
Your searches will be more successful if, in your preliminary research, you identify specific:
- 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)
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.
Searchable descriptions of nearly a million historical documents, personal papers, and family histories kept in libraries, museums, and archives worldwide. Includes information on how to examine and order copies.
Archive Finder (including ArchivesUSA and NIDS UK/Ireland)
Directory which describes tens of thousands of collections of primary source material housed in thousands of repositories across the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
One stop shopping for U.S. congressional publications. Provides index and abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, including full text of published Congressional Hearings from 1824-present (unpublished until 1979), full text Committee Prints from 1830-present, full text Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports from 1916-present, full text United States Congressional Serial Set (and its various former titles) from 1789-present, and legislative histories from 1970-present.
ProQuest Legislative Insight
Provides access to more than 18,000 professionally researched legislative histories of US Law. Histories include the Public Law itself, all versions of related bills, law-specific Congressional Record excerpts, committee hearings, reports and prints, Presidential signing statements, and CRS reports. 1929-present
Provides open access to more than 15 million digital objects, including film material, photos, paintings, sounds, maps, manuscripts, books, newspapers and archival papers from more than 1500 European institutions. Europeana -- the European digital library, museum and archive -- launched in 2008 and is funded by the European Commission and its member states. This current prototype is one of many parallel projects of The European Library.
House of Commons Parliamentary Papers
Provides full-text access to thousands of 18th, 19th and 20th Century Parliamentary Papers. Includes all the "sessional papers" of the British Parliament: bills, reports of committees, papers presented by Royal Commissions and government departments, treaties and international agreements, command papers, and statistics.
Center for Research Libraries Online Catalog
CRL acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, archives, and other traditional and digital resources from a global network of sources. UC Berkeley Library students, faculty, and other researchers have liberal access to these rich source materials through interlibrary loan, electronic delivery, and a growing collection of digitized material.
The Bancroft Library
The Bancroft Library is one of the treasures of the campus, and one of the world's great libraries for the history of theAmerican West.
Some Bancroft materials are available online via Calisphere, which includes primary sources from many California libraries and museums.
Before you go:
1. Be prepared! Read secondary sources and know something about your topic.
2. Search OskiCat so you can bring call numbers with you. Use the Entire Collection pull-down menu in OskiCat to limit your search to the Bancroft Library only. (Remember that there are primary sources in many other campus libraries as well.)
- If the item you want is in storage (the location is NRLF) and it's owned by The Bancroft Library, do not use the Request button in OskiCat. Instead, use the Bancroft's online request form at least 72 hours in advance (they prefer a week.)
- If you have 72 hours in advance, you can also use the online request form for Bancroft materials that are not in storage; that will speed things up when you arrive.
- If the OskiCat record mentions a finding aid (an index) to a manuscript collection, you should use it to help you find what you need in the collection. If the finding aid is online, there will be a link from the OskiCat record. The finding aids that are not online are near the Registration Desk at the Bancroft Library.
3. Learn about the Bancroft's policies: read about Access (bring a quarter for lockers) and Registration (bring two pieces of ID). You may want to read about the new camera policy ($10/day, no flash) or about getting photocopies.
During your visit:
- Store your belongings in the lockers provided, located on the right-hand side of the east entrance. Pass the security guard station and proceed up one level by stairs or elevator to the Reading Room and Seminar Rooms (3rd floor).
- Check in at the Registration Desk, located on the left-hand side of the entrance to the Reference Center.
- Go to the Circulation Desk, where you will fill out a form for the items you need. The items will be paged and brought to you. (Remember to bring call numbers, titles, etc. with you!)
- For research-related questions, ask for assistance at the Reference Desk.
How to Get to the Bancroft Library
The Bancroft is open from 10am to 5pm Monday-Friday (closed on weekends and holidays; shorter hours during Intersession). Paging ends 30 minutes before closing; this means that if you want to use Bancroft materials until 5pm, you need to arrive and request your materials at the circulation desk before 4:30pm.
The Bancroft Library is on the second floor of Doe, on the east side (the side closest to the Campanile). See a floor plan of Doe Library 2nd floor (pdf).
U.S. History Microfilm Collections
The UC Berkeley Libraries has extensive microform (microfilm and microfiche) collections, containing valuable information for researchers. This list represents a small fraction of our collection.
Microfilm and microfiche owned by the UC Berkeley Libraries can be found through OskiCat; use Advanced Keyword Search to limit your search to "All Microforms." In the News/Micro collection, microfilm rolls and microfiche cards are shelved with their own numbering system; click here for a PDF of the collection's floorplan.
- Abolition and Emancipation. Marlborough, Eng.: Adam Matthew Publications, 1996.
Guide: MICROFILM 77764.guide
- Part 1: Papers of Thomas Clarkson, William Lloyd Garrison, Zachary Macaulay, Harriet Martineau, Harriet Beecher Stowe & William Wilberforce from the Huntington Library; Part 4: The Granville Sharp Papers from Gloucestershire Record Office.
- Advice Literature in America. Marlborough, Eng.: Adam Matthew Publications, 2001.
Guide: MICROFILM 78513.guide
- Part I: The Schlesinger Collection of Etiquette and Advice Books;
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.
- American Immigrant Autobiographies: Manuscript Autobiographies from the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota. Frederick, MD: UPA, c1989.
Guide: MICROFILM 71258 guide
- American Women's Diaries: Southern Women 19th Century .
New Canaan, CT : Readex, [1988-1990].
- American Women's Diaries: Western Women. New Canaan, CT: Readex, .
BANC FILM 1976
Guide: BANC FILM 707
- 500 published and unpublished works by and about women in the Western United States during the 18th and 19th centuries, including diaries, autobiographies, biographies, personal histories, transcripts of oral interviews, and pioneer histories.
- Archives of the Settlement Movement. Woodbridge, CT: Research Publications, 1989-1990.
- Parts I-IV
- History of Science, Health, and Women. Woodbridge, CT: Primary Source, .
Guide: MICROFILM 78378.guide
- From the Smith Collection at Smith College, the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College, and other collections. Monographs and primary sources devoted to the history of women involved in medicine and science.
- Immigrant in America. Woodbridge. CT: Research Publications, 1983-1988.
Guide: MICROFILM 78024.guide
- The collection is based on the holdings of The New York Public Library, Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, Philadelphia, and The Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota.
- Margaret Sanger Papers: The Smith Collection. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, c1994.
- Native Americans Reference Collection: Documents Collected by the Office of Indian Affairs. Bethesda, MD: UPA, c1991.
- Part I- 1840-1900
Part II- 1901-1940
- Papers of the NAACP. Frederick, Md: University Publications of America, [c1982].
- Papers of the Association against the Prohibition Amendment and the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly
Guide. MICROFILM.77734 guide
- Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Central Classified files, 1907-1939. Bethesda, MD: UPA, c1995.
- Series C Part 1 and 2.
- Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, c1992.
- Research collections in American immigration.
Series A: Subject Correspondence Files
Part I: Asian Immigration and Exclusion, 1906-1913.
Supplement to Part 1: Asian Immigration and Exclusion, 1898-1941.
Part II: Mexican Immigration 1906-1930.
Part III: Ellis Island, 1900-1933.
Part IV: European Investigations, 1898-1936.
Part V: Prostitution & "White Slavery," 1902-1933.
- Records of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 1895-1992. Bethesda, MD: UPA, c1993-c1994.
Guide: MICROFILM.71276. guide
- Part I: Minutes of National Conventions, Publications, and President's office correspondence.
Part II: President's Office Files 1958-1968
- Records of the National Negro Business League. Bethesda, MD: UPA, c1994.
- Part I: From the Archives of Tuskegee University collection: Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records 1900-1919.
Part II: From the Papers of Booker T. Washington papers at Library of Congress Correspondence and business records 1900-23.
- Social and Cultural Construction of Girls. Woodbridge, CT : Primary Source Gale .
Guide: MICROFILM 78379 guide
- From the Smith Collection at Smith College, the Schleinger Library at Radcliff College and other collections.
- Stetson Kennedy Collection, 1916-1950. Schomburg Center collections.
- From the holdings of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division: The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
Ku Klux Klan Research File & General Research File
- U.S. Hispanic Heritage: newspapers, literature, personal papers, correspondence. Leiden, The Netherlands: IDC Publishers, .
Guide: MICROFILM 78404.guide
- Voices from Ellis Island. Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, c1987.
Guide: MICROFICHE.24312 guide
- An Oral History of American Immigration: A Project of the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation, 1988.
- Women's Periodicals; 18th Century to the Great Depression. Woodbridge, CT: Research Publications, 1991-1992.
- Over 350 periodicals from US and European libraries. Among the journals included are The Birth Control Review, Independent Suffragette, The Mother's Companion, Temperance Education Quarterly, and The War Worker.