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History: Primary Sources

A primary source is a document produced within a particular historical context. Examples include manuscripts, memoirs, letters, diaries, speeches, official government records, and newspaper reports. The document may have published close to the time it was written, at a later time, or it may not be published at all, as is the case for many items in archival and manuscript collections.

Use subject headings for primary sources when searching Omni.

Original documents in the Laurier Archives and Special Collections

The Archives and Special Collections Department contains original collections of primary material that are available for research. For online finding aids, or for more information, please contact the Archives.

Video Tutorial: How to find primary sources


Electronic Collections of Primary Resources

Resource Description
Accessible Archives Archive of magazine, newspaper and book content from the 1600s onwards. View full description
American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection US periodicals from the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s, on a wide variety of topics. View full description
Archive Explorer Search tool for all Adam Matthew databases. View full description
Atla Historical Monographs Collection Monographs from 13th century to early 1900s on religious language, development, and relationships with other issues. View full description
Black Thought and Culture Full text non-fiction writings by American black leaders covering 250 years of history. View full description
British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries Full-text primary source material. View full description
British Library Newspapers All issues from 47 national, regional and local newspapers, from the British Library holdings. View full description
Canadiana Digitized texts published between the first European settlement of Canada and the early twentieth century. View full description
Center for Research Libraries: Digital Collections Primary source material, in digital format or available for request through Interlibrary Loan. View full description
Champlain Society Digital Collection Online publications of the Champlain Society. View full description
China: Trade, Politics & Culture 1793-1980 Full-text papers, plus maps, paintings, photographs and archival materials. View full description
Daily Mail Historical Archive, 1896-2004 Complete archive of the British newspaper content, including the Atlantic Editions. View full description
Defining Gender Full-text manuscripts and printed works, plus illustrations. View full description
Digital National Security Archive Full-text U.S. policy documents. View full description
Early Encounters in North America: Peoples, Cultures, and the Environment Full-text letters, diaries and memoirs. View full description
Early English Books Online Full text, in facsimile, of more than 125,000 literary and historical texts as listed in the English Short Title Catalogue. View full description
East India Company Primary source documents on British trade and rule in India, 1595-1947. View full description
Eighteenth Century Journals Rare, full-text journals on a wide range of topics. View full description
Empire Online Images of original manuscripts and printed materials produced between 1492 and 1962. Covers Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Oceana and South Asia. View full description
Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive Primary sources concerning the history of the film and entertainment industries. View full description
Frontier Life: Borderlands, Settlement & Colonial Encounters Primary source documents on European and colonial frontier regions, 1650-1920. View full description
Hansard Online Full text of UK members’ debates, 1803 to the present. Includes both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. View full description
Historical Topographic Map Digitization Project: Full Collection Maps of Ontario locations from early to mid-20th century. View full description
History of Feminism Primary and secondary source material on feminism in the 19th century. View full description
Indigenous Histories and Cultures in North America Manuscripts, artwork and rare print material on native North American history and European settlement. View full description
Indigenous Peoples of North America Collection of primary source documents on the indigenous peoples of North America. View full description
LLMC Digital Open Access An international collection of key historic legal texts and executive, legislative and judicial government documents. View full description
Manuscript Women's Letters and Diaries Collection of personal writings by American women of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. View full description
Mass Observation Online Papers from the archive of a pioneering British social research organization. View full description
Medical Services and Warfare Hospital records, medical reports and first-hand accounts of the history of injury, treatment and disease on the front line. View full description
Medieval Family Life Medieval documents on the topics of family, business, the law, violence, etc. View full description
Medieval Travel Writing Important manuscripts by European travellers. View full description
Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals Scans of British newspapers published from 1800 to 1900. View full description
North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries, and Oral Histories Full-text personal narratives of immigrants to the United States and Canada. View full description
North American Indian Thought and Culture Full-text biographies, autobiographies, diaries, letters, personal narratives and speeches. View full description
North American Women's Letters and Diaries: Colonial to 1950 Thousands of pages of diaries and letters from hundreds of women in North America. View full description
Oral History Online Full-text oral histories in English, including an index to freely available histories on the Web. View full description
Our Ontario: Newspapers Over 200 years of community newspapers from across Ontario. View full description
Past Masters Full-text authoritative works by seminal figures in the Humanities. View full description
Periodicals Archive Online Full-text articles from journals in the humanities and social sciences. View full description
Popular Culture in Britain and America, 1950-1975 Primary source material concerning social, political and cultural changes from 1950-1975. View full description
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Calgary Herald Searchable full-page archive of the newspaper, Calgary Herald. View full description
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Montreal Gazette Searchable full-page archive of the newspaper, Montreal Gazette. View full description
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Toronto Star Searchable full-page archive of the newspaper, Toronto Star. View full description
Slavery, Abolition & Social Justice Includes manuscripts, books, pamphlets, maps and images. View full description
The First World War Letters, diaries, posters and other primary documents related to World War One. View full description
The Times Digital Archive Searchable full-text images of every page of the London Times newspaper. View full description
U.K. Parliamentary Papers Digitally scanned Sessional Papers & supplementary material from Great Britain's House of Commons. (Some House of Lords papers, if presented to the House of Commons.) View full description
Vogue Archive Complete archive of Vogue magazine. View full description
Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 Full-text documents, plus scholarly essays, book reviews, commentaries and bibliographies. View full description

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Last Updated: November 21, 2022 5:04pm