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* History & Political Science Resources: Primary Sources

Ashland University Library Sources for History and Political Science students.

AU Primary Source Databases

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Making of America Journals

Making of America (MOA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history primarily from the antebellum period through reconstruction. Includes:


  • American Jewess 1895-1899 (hosted on behalf of the Jewish Women's Archive)
  • Appleton's 1869-1881 (2 series)
  • Catholic World 1865-1901
  • DeBow's 1846-1869 + 1952 index (3 series)
  • Garden and Forest 1888-1897 (hosted on behalf of the Library of Congress)
  • Journal of the United States Association of Charcoal Iron Workers 1880-1891
  • Ladies Repository 1841-1876 (3 series)
  • The Old Guard 1864
  • Overland Monthly 1868-1900 (2 series)
  • Princeton Review 1831-1882 (3 series)
  • Southern Literary Messenger 1835-1864 + 1936 Contributor index
  • Southern Quarterly Review 1842-1857 (3 series)
  • Vanity Fair 1860-1862
  • Directories to Collections

    Hathi Trust


    Records are available through the OhioLINK catalog. with direct links to the publications. A keyword search in the OhioLINK catalog for Hathi and other and your your search term. Or, you may go directly to the Hathi Trust website to search by keyword or within the full text.

    About Primary Sources

     What are Primary Sources?


    Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons. These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research.


    Source: American Library Association

    Finding Books with Primary Sources

    Published collections generally use the word "sources" and “history” as part of the Library of Congress Subject Heading(s) assigned to the record :

    Examples of Subject Headings:

          France--History--Philip III, 1270-1285--Sources


          United States--History--19th century--Sources

          United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources

    Notice that the word History and Sources are used in each of these Subject Headings.  If you are uncertain of the exact Subject Heading, rather than a Subject Search try a Keyword search. Type your keyword and link it together with AND plus the word "sources." ( Churchill AND sources)

     Tip: You might have better luck using the OhioLINK book catalog. It allows you to perform both a Subject search and a Keyword search at the same time, using the advanced search.  When searching the OhioLINK catalog, you can enter a known subject term in the Subject heading box, and you can use the term "sources" as part of your keyword search.

    Finding Primary Documents with WorldCat

    WorldCat contains records of library holdings from across the United States and around the world. Use the Advanced Search link, then limit Format to "archival materials."






    THOMAS was launched in January of 1995, at the inception of the 104th Congress. The leadership of the 104th Congress directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public. Since that time THOMAS has expanded the scope of its offerings to include the features and content listed below.

    Finding Archival Collections

    World Cat is a good source for locating collections in libraries.

    The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress provides biographical, archival, and bibliographical information for all senators, representatives, vice presidents, and members of the Continental Congress who served between 1774-2005. This database is frequently updated.


    Primary Sources on Web

    Primary sources for the Americas. There are additional resources under the tab for Web Sites.