Created by K. Townsend, 01/2008
What are Primary Sources?
Primary sources are original documents. They are from the time period involved and have not been filtered through any interpretation or commentary. They are also sets of data, such as census statistics, which have been tabulated, but not interpreted.
Examples of Primary Materials are: Diaries, Interviews, Letters, Maps, Original Documents (such as birth certificates), Patents, Photographs, Survey Research (such as market surveys and public opinion polls), and Works of Literature.
Print Sources at the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library
The USF Library catalog is a good place to begin your search for primary materials Useful subject terms that you can use to find primary documents include Personal narratives, Correspondence, or Diaries.
Specials Collections at the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library
The Special Collections Archive of the Nelson Poynter Library holds a treasure trove of primary documents. For information about the contents, use the Guide to Special Collections and Archives, located at the Reference Desk, or contact Jim Schnur, Special Collections Librarian at 727-873-4094.
Electronic Archival Collections
If you are trying to access from home, please login through Blackboard and click through to the Libraries of the USF System homepage, and then to the Databases by Title/Subject link.
If you have any questions, please contact the Nelson Poynter Library Reference Desk at 727-873-4124.
Booker T. Washington Papers Online
Web portal to thousands of pages comprising the 14-volume printed work, originally published by the University of Illinois Press.
Documenting the American South
Digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history (slave narratives, Southern literature, etc.) Contents: First-person narratives of the American South, North American slave narratives, The Southern homefront, 1861-1865, The church in the Southern Black community, The North Carolina experience, beginnings to 1940, North Carolinians and the Great War : the impact of World War I on the Tar Heel State.
Early American Imprints
Series I: Evans, 1639-1800 is the definitive resource for information about every aspect of life in 17th- and 18th-century America, from agriculture and auctions through foreign affairs, diplomacy, literature, music, religion, the Revolutionary War, temperance, witchcraft, and just about any other topic imaginable.
Empire Online is a powerful and interactive digital resource that enables exploration of colonial history, politics, culture and society through primary sources. Its features include a thematic layout, detailed indexing that enables the sources to be explored in a variety of ways (by period, by date, by person and subject), and sources spanning five centuries: from a translation of Columbus’s 1492 voyage to 21st Century works on Imperialism.
The U.S. Government Printing Office disseminates official information from all three branches of the Federal Government. Includes a digital archive of "Core Documents of U.S. Democracy" such as the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation. Also links to digital archives of presidential papers such as the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress, George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799, and the Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress.
History Resource Center
The History resource center: U.S. contains a vast collection of primary sources. Includes collections such as: Sabin (Joseph Sabin's Dictionary of books relating to America), Travels in the old South, Travels in the new South, History of women, and the African-American experience.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Founded in 1841, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle was published as a daily newspaper for 114 consecutive years. Provides a window into Brooklyn's past, as well as documentation of national and international events. Phase I, which can presently be found on this site, concerns the period from 1841-1902, representing half of the Eagle's years of publication
Civil War: a Newspaper Perspective
Contains the full text of over 11,000 articles gleaned from over 2500 issues of newspapers published between Nov. 1, 1860 and Apr. 15, 1865. Begins with the events preceding the outbreak of war at Fort Sumter and concludes with the assassination and funeral of Abraham Lincoln.
Freedom's journal was the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. The Wisconsin Historical Society has made 104 issues available on this site. Time-span: Mar. 16, 1827-Mar. 28, 1829
New York Times ProQuest Historical Backfile
The New York Times (1851-2001) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue
Times (London, England) Digital Archive
Represents the full-text and full-image of the Times of London for the years 1785-1985. Contains not only newspaper articles but also advertising and classified ads, editorials, birth and death notices, letters to the editor, and the Court Page.
Wall Street Journal (ProQuest Historical Backfile)
Database of the Wall Street Journal that covers the years 1889-1987. Researchers can use the database to find not only news, but editorial cartoons, stock photos, and advertisements.
Historical Map Collections
Map Collections: 1500-2004
The focus of Map collections is Americana and cartographic treasures of the Library of Congress. These images were created from maps and atlases and, in general, are restricted to items that are not covered by copyright protection.
Visual Collections: Images of Art, History and Culture
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, Charting the Nation, Japanese Historical maps, maps of Africa, Geological Survey, USF Florida map Collection, New Jersey Public Maps, USF Rare Map Collection
Historical Image Collection
AccuNet/AP Multimedia Archive
"The AP Photo Archive is a collection of selected images from the Associated Press's (AP) 50 million image print and negative library. These photos capture all major news events from the 1840's to within minutes of an event occurring today. Captions help to describe the news event.
Florida Aerial Photography
Aerial photography Florida is a collection of aerial photographs taken between 1930 and 2000. Literally, a portrait of the state, the collection will be comprised of hundreds of thousands of aerial photographs documenting the land use of Florida over time.
Historical Statistical Sources
Historical Statistics of the US
Historical statistics of the United States, colonial times to 1970 is a compendium of statistics. This definitive reference work contains more than 37,000 series of quantitative information covering: population, including migration and family and household comparisons; work and welfare, with labor, education, and health; economic structure and performance, including financial markets and consumer expenditures; governance and international relations, covering elections and politics, crime, international trade, and national defense, all from the earliest times to the present. Tables can be downloaded to Excel or CSV or sent as email.