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Finding Primary Sources
For more information, see the online guide to 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 KEYWORD ANYWHERE search in STARS for salvery and sources.
Also try these Library of Congress subject headings that are often used for primary sources:
- Personal narratives
Stony Brook 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.
Library Databases - Historical Newspapers
African American Newspapers (1827-1998)
1827-1998. Full-text. Online access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers from more than 35 states—including many rare and historically significant 19th century titles. Beginning with Freedom's Journal (NY)—the first African American newspaper published in the United States—the titles in this resource include The Colored Citizen (KS), Arkansas State Press, Rights of All (NY), Wisconsin Afro-American, New York Age, L'Union (LA), Northern Star and Freeman's Advocate (NY), Richmond Planet, Cleveland Gazette, The Appeal (MN) and hundreds of others from every region of the U.S.
America's Historical Newspapers
1755-1922. Fulltext. More than 135 historic newspapers from all 50 states. Titles include The Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery newspaper; New Orleans Daily Creole, the first African-American newspaper in America; Siwinowe Kesibwi (Shawnee Star), the first newspaper printed wholly in a Native American language; and the Maryland Gazette, the oldest continuously published newspaper in America. Regional newspapers include The New York Herald, Irish World, and Jewish Daily News.
New York Times (Historical)
Coverage: 1851-3 years ago.
Online access to page images and fulltext articles from the New York Times as far back as the first issue.
Washington Post (Historical)
1877-1997. Fulltext. Digitized historical archive of The Washington Post. Complete issues, cover to cover, from its beginning in 1877 until 1997, including news articles, photos, advertisements, marriage announcements, obituaries, cartoons, and more. In searchable pdf format.
Gale Primary Sources: The Times Digital Archive, 1785-2014
1785-1985. Full text. Digital edition of The Times (London) with searching capability and facsimile images of individual articles or the complete page. Includes parliamentary debates, editorials, birth and death notices, advertisements, illustrations/photos and classified ads. More than 7 million articles. Does not include the Sunday Times, the Times Educational Supplement, the Times Higher Education Supplement, or the Times Literary Supplement.
Digital Collections at Stony Brook
Fulltext. 1741-1930. Over 1,100 American magazines spanning 200 years and covering nearly every aspect of American culture, especially its history, science, literature, music, legal structures, agriculture, theater, and politics. Titles range from Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine (first published in 1741) and America's first scientific journals, Medical Repository, as well as Scientific American, to literary and professional journals, specialized titles, and such well-known popular magazines as Vanity Fair, Ladies' Home Journal and The Dial.
HistoryMakers Digital Archive
The HistoryMakers was founded to address the lack of documentation and preservation of the African American historical record. It captures – one person at a time – the untold personal stories of both well-known and unsung African Americans, and by creating a priceless video collection giving those involved their special place in history.
The testimonies captured in The HistoryMakers Collection – conducted in homes and offices across the United States and abroad – reveal the broad scope of narratives of African American men and women who have made significant contributions to American life, history, and culture during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
North American Women's Letters and Diaries
Colonial-1950. Fulltext primary sources. The experiences of 1,325 women in 150,000 pages of diaries and letters. Includes biographies and an extensive annotated bibliography of the sources.
Oral History Online
Fulltext and citations. Indexes more than 2,700 collections of Oral History in English from around the world. Contains almost 281,000 pages of full-text by close to 10,000 individuals from all walks of life. Also has pointers to 4,100 audio and video files.
Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000
1600-2000. Fulltext primary sources. Women's reform activities in the U.S. from colonial times to the present. Includes books, pamphlets, images, documents, scholarly essays, commentaries, and bibliographies.
LIBRARY DATABASES -- CURRENT NEWSPAPERS
U.S. Major Dailies
US Major Dailies provides access to the five most respected US national and regional newspapers, including The New York Times and Washington Post, co-exclusive access to The Wall Street Journal, and exclusive access to Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. The titles offer researchers thorough and timely coverage of local, regional, and world events with journalistic balance and perspective. The content is available by 8am each day and provides archives stretching as far back as 1985. This database is available on the ProQuest platform.
Date coverage varies. Fulltext. Over 10,000 news, business, and legal sources. News coverage includes deep backfiles and up-to-the-minute stories in national and regional newspapers, wire services, broadcast transcripts, international news, and non-English language sources.
1990-present. Fulltext. Articles from newspapers and periodicals published by ethnic, minority and native presses in the United States. In English and Spanish.
Audio and Visual Resources
There are an increasing number of excelent web sites that have audio-visual proimary source material.
Internet Archive - Probably the best overall collection of audio-visual material that could be used for primary sources. The Archive currently contains almost 400,000 moving images and nearly 700,000 audio items, along with software and other material.
YouTube - Great resource for finding speeches and hidtoric news items, as well as musical and cinematic trasures.