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HIST 394: Comparative Imperialisms: Primary Sources

What is a Primary Source?

A primary source records or documents events as seen or experienced directly by witnesses or persons involved in those events.

For more detailed explanations with examples:

More at the Primary Sources Guide from your librarians

Primary Sources at K

Primary Source Databases subscribed to by the K Library

 Primary Sources in the Kalamazoo College Library

   Use these search terms in OneSearch to locate primary sources (search by subject and keyword)

  • Diaries
  • Correspondence
  • Speeches
  • Autobiographies
  • Sources


Primary Source Websites

Digital Public Library of America 
The DPLA contains metadata records—information describing an item—for millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Each record links to the original object on the content provider’s website.

Hathi Trust
A large-scale collaborative repository of digital content from resarch libraries including content digitized via the Google Books Project.

Internet Archive
A digital library of books, movies, music.  It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. Created to offer permanent access for researchers and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.

Internet Archive : Moving Image Archive

EuroDocs: Online Sources for European History  
Links connect to European primary historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated.

World Digital Library
an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the US Library of Congress.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook (Fordham University)
The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts


Europeana Collections
Multi-lingual online collection of millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and multi-media collections, with procedures for content

European History Primary Sources
The purpose of EHPS is to provide an easily searchable index of scholarly digital repositories that contain primary sources for the history of Europe. As the number of digital archives on the internet continues to grow, finding and selecting digital repositories becomes increasingly difficult. EHPS strives to fill that gap by listing the most important collections of digital primary sources for the history of Europe, either as a whole or for single countries

British Pathe (on youtube) 
One of
the finest newsreel archive in the world, British Pathé is a treasure trove of 85,000 films. Of special interest may by the War Archives  Information about the content can be found on the British Pathe website

Persée is an open access digital library of French-language scholarly journals, established by the Ministry of National Education of France. The website launched in 2005.

British Museum Collection Online

British Museum Online Gallery

The Digital South Asia Library

South Asia Resource Access (SARAI)

Compact Memory
A free online archive of full text German-language Jewish periodicals (1806-1938).

European Reading Room from the Library of Congress
Links to Digital Repositories

Mutiny at the Margins: the Indian Uprising of 1857

The 1931 Colonial Exposition in Paris

BNF digital library (only in French)



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