The library has created a guide to searching for primary sources in Oskicat, including the best search terms you can use.
This is a list of a few of the many primary source databases in US History, in addition to Oskicat. more
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).
One stop shopping for U.S. congressional publications. Provides index and abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, including full text Congressional Hearings from 1824-present, full text Committee Prints from 1830-present, full text Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports from 1916-present, full text United States Congressional Serial Set from 1789-1969, and legislative histories from 1970-present. For more information on how to find hearings, consult the Congressional Tutorials homepage
Includes Associated Press's current-year photo report and a selection from a 50-million image print and negative library dating from 1844-present. Currently contains about 700,000 photos, most of which are contemporary images made since late 1995.
Readers' Guide Retrospective
Covers more than 500 leading American magazines and journals from 1890 to 1982.
Nation Digital Archive
Full text access to The Nation, a weekly news magazine covering U.S. politics and society since 1865.
Digital National Security Archive (DNSA)
Indexes over 35,000 declassified documents spanning fifty years of US national security policy. Also includes a chronology, glossary of names, events, special terms, and a bibliography for each collection developed around a specific event, controversy, or policy decision.
DDRS (Declassified Documents Reference System)
Over 75,000 documents and almost 500,000 pages of materials declassified via the Freedom of Information Act and regular declassification requests, making broad-based and highly targeted investigation of government documents possible. Nearly every major foreign and domestic event of these years is covered.
African American News
Selected African American Newspapers
Flatlands (Oakland, 1966-67) Location: News/Micro MICROFILM 78777, Bancroft BANC NMP 6764:2:3
The Post (shelved as “Oakland Post,” 1963-67) Location: News/Micro NEWSPRINT-1
The Sacramento Observer (Sacramento, 1962-present) Location: News/Micro NEWSFILM-1
The Sun-Reporter (San Francisco, 1943-present) Location: News/Micro NEWSFILM-1
Los Angeles Tribune (Los Angeles, 1941-1960) Location: library only has selected issues, mainly from 1947-1952 in News/Micro NEWSFILM-1
The California Eagle (Los Angeles, 1897-1966) Location: library has 1944-53 in News/Micro NEWSFILM-1, also available from Bancroft
The Peninsula Bulletin (East Palo Alto, 1971-1979) Location: News/Micro NEWSFILM-1
The California Voice (Oakland, 1920-1998) Location: News/Micro NEWSFILM-1 (separate issues)
Richmond Afro American (Richmond, VA, 1938-68) Location: library has selected issues from these dates, some of which may have to be requested from NRLF, others in News/Micro NEWSFILM-1
The Michigan Chronicle (Detroit, 1936-present) Location: News/Micro NEWSFILM-1 (1943-1974)
Newspapers on Microfilm
Because of their fragility as they age, newspapers have traditionally been preserved by microfilming them.
Microfilm must be read on microfilm reader/printers. The Newspaper and Microfilm Room in 40 Doe Library has them. So does Bancroft Library. Newspaper films are arranged geographically within the News|Micro collection [floorplan.pdf]
Reader/printers allow you to read the films and those in News|Micro allow you to save pages to flash drives in .jpg and .pdf format.
Most newspapers do not have indexes. How do you find articles by subject? By knowing the approximate date of the event you are studying. If you don't know the date, you can use the index to a different newspaper as a way to find out.
Newspaper indexes you might want to use:
There are others. Ask the Newspaper Microfilm staff for help.
Finding Primary Sources overview
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
- Vetted sites on the web:
Searching OskiCat for Primary Sources
- personal narratives
- early works to 1800
- Czeslaw Milosz interviews
- Zbigniew Herbert correspondence
Primary Source Searching - Names
One of the most powerful ways to find primary sources in the Library is to use the names of people. An essential part of your background reading should be to note down names of people involved in your topics.
Names can be searched in the catalogs [Oskicat and Melvyl] in specialized ways: as authors or as subjects. Even people you do not consider authors in the conventional sense may be listed as authors, if:
- their correspondence is available
- their manuscripts are available
- interviews with them are available
- their diaries are available
- published versions of these are available
When searching for primary sources, it's a good idea always to search those names as authors, as well as keywords. Works where the person is listed as an author will always be primary sources.
Primary Sources: Newspapers
Access World News
Provides full-text information and perspectives from over 600 U.S. and over 700 international sources. Offers strong regional coverage, indexing more than California newspapers such as Contra Costa Times (1995-current), Sacramento Bee (1984-current), San Francisco Chronicle (1985-current), and San Jose Mercury News (1985-current). Search categories include: California newspapers (121 titles), Greater Los Angeles (54 titles), major metropolitan titles (13 titles), Spanish-language news sources (48 titles), the World (almost 2000 titles), US (855 titles).
Provides access to the Pennsylvania Gazette (1728-1800), the paper called 'The New York Times of the 18th Century', Godey's Lady's Book (1830-1898), the Philadelphia magazine intended to entertain, inform and educate the women of America, and a collection of Philadephia papers. Offers social, political and cultural perspectives of colonial America, the American Revolution, and the New Republic.
California Digital Newspaper Collection
Offers over 200,000 pages of California newspapers spanning the years 1849-1911: the Alta California, 1849-1891; the San Francisco Call, 1893-1910; the Amador Ledger, 1900-1911; the Imperial Valley Press, 1901-1911; the Sacramento Record-Union, 1859-1890; and the Los Angeles Herald, 1905-1907. Additional years are forthcoming, as are other early California newspapers: the Californian; the California Star; the California Star and Californian; the Sacramento Transcript; the Placer Times; and the Pacific Rural Press.
This site allows users to search and view newspaper pages from 1880-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. To date, over 200,000 pages of California newspapers have been digitized.
Early American Newspapers
Access to hundreds of historic newspapers, providing more than one million pages as fully text-searchable facsimile images. Based largely on Clarence Brigham's "History and Bibliography of American Newspapers,1690-1820." (Archive of Americana allows cross-searching of several databases: Early American Imprints , Series I and II; Early American Newspapers; American State Papers; US Congressional Serial Set.)
Ethnic News Watch
Indexes over 200 ethnic, minority, and native press publications. Contains news, culture, and history searchable in both English and Spanish. Also includes a retrospective backfile of titles (1960-1989).
Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
Includes Chicago Defender (1910-1975). Chicago Tribune (1849-1988). Los Angeles Times (1881-1988). San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922). New York Times (1851-1994) with Index (1851-1993). Wall Street Journal (1889-1994). Washington Post (1877-1995).
Includes over 6,000 individual titles of international, national and local newspapers and wire services; radio and television transcripts; and business, medical, industry, and legislative magazines, journals, and newsletters. Wide geographic coverage and translations from foreign-language sources, as well as news services like the Associated Press, Agence France Press, El Pais and Xinhua (New China) News Agency.
San Francisco Chronicle (historical archive)
Full page article images of the San Francisco Chronicle starting with the first issue (1865) through 1922.