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Stony Brook University

History: HIS 412 - American Biographies: Life Stories in Historical Context

Resources for Research in History

Search the Catalog

STARS is the library catalog for Stony Brook University Libraries, serving the West Campus, Southampton, and SBU Manhattan. Material at Southampton can be requested through InterLibrary Loan (ILL).

Search STARS for books, DVDs and other materials.

For journal or newspaper titles, use the
Journal Catalog.

Catalog Home | Advanced Search

WorldCat Search

Holdings for most libraries in the U.S. & Canada, and some overseas. Stony Brook holdings are indicated. Material we don’t own you can order via ILL. WorldCat lets you see what has been published in your subject area, and how the titles are being classified.

Search for an item in libraries near you:
WorldCat.org >>

Subject Headings

 When you find a book that looks good, scroll down to the bottom of the screen, and you’ll see the Library of Congress subject headings.  You can click on these links to find more books on that subject.  You can also use these subject headings when searching databases, WorldCat, and many digital collections on the internet.

Learn some basic Library of Congress Subject Headings for your topic.

Look for Bibliographies & Indexes in Subject Headings. These can be useful resources.

Finding Primary Sources

To find primary sources at Stony Brook, use STARS, the Library Catalog. 

You can include various words in your search that will help you locate primary source material.  A good general word to include would be sources.

For example, if you are looking for primary sources on slavery, you can do a SUBJECT KEYWORD search in STARS for salvery and sources.

Library of Congress subject headings often used for primary sources:

  • Sources
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Personal narratives
  • Biography (includes memoirs)

Using Primary Sources

Primary source is a term used in a number of disciplines to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied.

In historiography, a primary source (also called original source) is a document, recording, artifact, or other source of information that was created at the time under study, usually by a source with direct personal knowledge of the events being described. It serves as an original source of information about the topic.

Primary sources are distinguished from secondary sources, which cite, comment on, or build upon primary sources, though the distinction is not a sharp one. "Primary" and "secondary" are relative terms, with sources judged primary or secondary according to specific historical contexts and what is being studied. [From Wikipedia.]

Census Information

The quickest and easiest way to access Census Records is to use Ancestry.com or HeritageQuest Online (available to NY State Employees via the NY State Library.)

Ancestry.com is available for free to guests at Port Jefferson Free Library.  Contact your local public library to see if they have it.  Many do.  you can also do a 14-day free trial.  (You will have to use your credit card to set up the trial and you must cancel it before 14 days or they will begin to charge you monthly.)

You can also search on the internet to see if a specific state or municipality has made census records available online.

Also, try: The USGenWeb Census Project - a national Census Project that has many years and counties online.

Searching for Scholarly Articles

Stony Brook Libraries have over 300 databases and digital collections. From the DATABASE HOMEPAGE, you can look for databases by SUBJECT or by TITLE:

  • 1) Select a Subject – From the dropdown menu, choose History.  This will give you a list of databases and digital collections that should be useful in the subject area.
  • 2) Search by Title – Click on the letter of the alphabet.  Example: click on “J” for JSTOR.

Below are some of the most important databases for History. 

*Keep in mind that JSTOR can be used for both secondary AND primary sources, as the journals in JSTOR go back in some cases to the 17th century.

Primary Sources - Databases

Searching Historical Newspapers: Online

LIBRARY DATABASES

New York Times Archive - 1851-3 years ago. Online access to page images and fulltext articles from the New York Times as far back as the first issue.

For newspaper articles after approx. 1980, you can search the following databases:

LexisNexis Academic - Thousands of newspapers, from major ones to more regional titles. Washington Post goes back to about 1975. Most papers go back to the mid 1980s or 1990.

Ethnic NewsWatch - Newspapers from minority and ethnic presses that often don't get covered in LexisNexis or Factiva. Most go back to early 1990s.

Newsday - 1985-present.


ON THE INTERNET

Chronicling America - The Library of Congress - Newspapers from some states from 1860-1922. 

ICON: International Coalition on Newspapers - Best single guide to online newspapers.  Lists digitization projects in the U.S. and around the world.  Shows which are freely accessible and which cost money. 

Google News Archive - Contains a mix of free and pay online newspapers, mostly from the 20th century.

Suffolk County Historical Newspapers – Eight Long Island titles 1839-1942.
 

Newspapers in Microforms at Stony Brook

Major Historical Sets

  • Early American Newspapers – Microfilm A565
  • Early American Newspapers, 1704-1820 – Microprint 4
  • Underground Newspaper Collection* – Microfilm A178 [1963-1985]

Index to Underground Newspaper Collection: Microforms Library Z6944.U5 B4 [1963-1985]

  • Alternative Press Collection* – Microfilm A178 [1986 – present]

Alternative press. A guide to the microform collection Z6944.U5 B4 [1986-present]

Other Major Papers

  • New York Herald [1840-1919] – Microfilm A1
  • New York Tribune / Daily Tribune / Herald Tribune [1841-1966] Microfilm 123
  • Christian Science Monitor [1908-1925, 1960-present] Microfilm A26

Major Foreign Newspapers

  • The Times (London, England) [1788-present] – Microfilm A6
  • Le Monde (Paris, France) [1944-present] – Microfilm A4
  • Le Temps (Paris, France : 1861) [1861-1942] – Microfilm A3
  • Pravda (Moscow, Russia) [1917,1921-1975] – Microfilm A161

African-American Newspapers

  • New York Amsterdam News (1919-present) – Microfilm A128
  • Chicago Defender (1905-1966) – Microfilm A395
  • Pittsburgh Courier [weekly] (1923-1947) – Microfilm A238

Special Collections

Have historic newspapers for Long Island.  Original newsprint copies and microfilm.  Most but not all titles are in STARS.  Consult with Kristen or Jason.

Indexes

ONLINE

PRINT

  • New York Times: Newspaper Indexes AI21 .N44 [1851- present]
  • The Times (London, England) Newspaper Indexes AI21.T5 [1790-present]
  • Christian Science Monitor: Newspaper Indexes AI21.c3 [1946-1994]
  • Le Monde: Newspaper Indexes AI21.m6 [1944-1968]
  • Wall Street Journal: Newspaper Indexes HG1.W26 [1955-present]
  • Washington Post: Newspaper Indexes AI21.W33 W36 [1971-1995]
  • Newsday: Newspaper Indexes AI21.N5 [1977-1985]
  • Alternative Press Index: Main Stacks [1969-5 years ago-ish].

Card Catalog Drawer

Located at the Reference Desk.  Indexes newspapers by state/region.

Historic Magazines & Journals

Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature

To find magazine and journal articles between 1880 and 1980.  Readers' Guide is located in the Central Reading Room (CRR).  When you enter the CRR, it will be on the wall to your immediate left, at call number AI3 .R483.

Each volume of Readers' Guide is indexed by Subject.  Under each subject, there will be a list of article titles, with abbreviations for the magazine or journal in which the article is located, the date of the issue, and the volume and page number(s).

When you find an article, you need to then check in STARS to see if the library has the magazine/journal for the date of the article. (I receommend using the JOURNAL CATALOG part of STARS.  Once you find the magazine, check the "Summary Holdings" to see if we have the date you need.

For example, if you find an article from Time magazine from April 1957, search the JOURNAL CATALOG for Time.  When you click on the link for Time, you will various Summary Holdings for Microfiche (1965-1974,1982-); Microfilm (1923-1956,1960-1964,1975-1981) and Print (1957-March 1975,Oct. 1975-1980,1982-).  April 1957 would be available, then, in the Print version, which is located in the Main Stacks at call number AP2 .T37 OVERSIZE x.

You will also see a link for online versions.  You can check this to see if the magazine/journal is available for your date.  Please keep in mind, however, that most magazines and journals online will only go back to about 1980.

JSTOR

While JSTOR is often used for secondary sources, keep in mind that each journal in JSTOR goes back to its first issue.  Many journals go back into the 19th century, and a few go back as far as the 17th and 18th centuries.  So, it can also be used as a primary source.

 

Librarian

Chris Filstrup's picture
Chris Filstrup
Contact:
Central Reading Room
Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY 11794
631-632-9951

Subject Guides

Check subject guides in other areas.  See the full list at the SUBJECT GUIDES HOMEPAGE.

Special Collections & University Archives

Special Collections and University Archives select, acquire, preserve and provide access to rare, valuable, and scarce primary and secondary materials  in a variety of formats in support of the educational and research endeavors of Stony Brook University's students, faculty, and staff.

The department also extends its services to researchers in the wider geographic region, nationally, and internationally. 

The collection includes: books, manuscripts, and maps dating from the 15th century; the University Archives; audio/visual materials;  and a digital repository. All are welcome to explore the library's unique collections.

Access to Other Research Libraries

Through the University's membership in various Library consortiums, Stony Brook students, staff and faculty have access to, and/or borrowing privileges at, numerous other research libraries on Long Island, in the greater New York area, and throughout the U.S., Canada, and other countries.

Research Libraries Group (RLG)

The University Libraries' membership in the Research Libraries Group (RLG) consortium allows Stony Brook students, staff, and faculty with current ID cards to enter and use many major libraries in the United States, Canada and abroad.

In our geographical region, other libraries in the program include: Columbia, NYU, The New York Public Library, The New School, American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New-York Historical Society, Cornell, Princeton, Rutgers, The University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

Full List of RLG Member Libraries

Stony Brook ID holders visiting these institutions may use materials; however, borrowing privileges are not usually available.

Students, staff, and faculty are urged to call ahead to a particular library, before actually going there, to confirm that they will be granted access at their time of arrival. Also, if they need to use a branch library within one of the participating library systems, it should be confirmed beforehand that the branch also takes part in the program and will allow access.

Long Island Library Resources Council (LILRC)

The Long Island Library Resources Council (LILRC) is a regional multi-type library organization serving academic, special, public, hospital and school libraries and library systems in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
 
The LILRC Research Loan Program (RLP), a reciprocal borrowing agreement between member libraries, allows Stony Brook students, staff and faculty to use and borrow material from numerous institutions on Long Island, including Adelphi University, Dowling College, Nassau and Suffolk Community Colleges, St. Joseph's College, Touro Law Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Nassau and Suffolk Public Library Systems.

Students, staff and faculty interested in borrowing material through the Research Loan Program must visit the Reference Desk in the Central Reading Room of Melville Library for an RLP pass.

Full List of LILRC Member Libraries

New York Public Library

Any person who lives, works, attends school or pays property taxes in New York State is eligible to receive a New York Public Library card free of charge. This gives researchers the opportunity to use important collections in the NYPL system, check out material, and access a wide array of useful electronic resources from on-site or, in a few cases, from home. See the NYPL web site for more information on getting a card.

See their list of databases.

State Univeristy of New York Libraries

Stony Brook students, staff, and faculty have direct borrowing privileges at most other SUNY libraries.