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Primary Sources

Searching the Internet for Primary Sources

You can search on the Internet for primary sources by adding the phrase "primary sources" in your search or any of the following terms:

  • diaries
  • interviews
  • letters
  • pamphlets
  • posters

For a famous primary source – i.e., the Declaration of Independence – in the search box, include quotation marks around the title and include the word text or transcript

Medieval Europe Websites

Epistolae: Medieval Women's Letters*
"Epistolæ is a collection of letters to and from women in the Middle Ages, from the 4th to the 13th century. The letters, written in Latin, are linked to the names of the women involved, with English translations and, where available, biographical sketches of the women and some description of the subject matter or the historic context of the letter."

Guide to Early Church Documents
Canonical information, apostolic fathers, texts, creeds and canons, and other miscelleaneous texts related to the development of the early Christian church.

Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Collection
Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Collection contains 215 medieval or Renaissance manuscripts that date between the 11th and 17th centuries. This database contains item-level descriptions for each of the manuscripts and enables keyword searching as well as several different ways to browse the collection contents.

Western Europe Websites

Digital History Reader: European History
Explores links between European and world history in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Click on the "Evidence" link within each module to view primary source documents.

French Revolution Digital Archives
This multi-year collaboration of the Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) to produce a digital version of the key research sources of the French Revolution and make them available to the international scholarly community. The archive is based around two main resources, the Archives parlementaires and a vast corpus of images first brought together in 1989 and known as the Images de la Revolution française.

German Propaganda Archive
The German Propaganda Archive includes both propaganda itself and material produced for the guidance of propagandists. The goal is to help people understand the two great totalitarian systems of the twentieth century by giving them access to the primary material.

The History Net
This websites contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. This collection contains eyewitness accounts, interviews, photographs, and other primary and secondary source.

Perseus Project
This project primary focus is Greek, Latin and Roman ancient texts and translations. However, it is a growing collection and contains other documents around the world.

World Digital Library
The World Digital Library (WDL) is a project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world. 


Russia Websites

Documents in Russian History
A small number of documents, dating from 1670-1931.

History of Russia (EuroDocs)
Includes texts and links to other sources for Russian history.

Seventeen Moments in Soviet History
This multi-media archive of primary materials designed to introduce students and the general public to the richness and contradictions of Soviet history .