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Introduction to U.S. History: Published (Print or Digital) Collections

Use this guide to help you find research and resources for your U.S. History paper and presentation.

Introduction to Published (Print or Digital) Collections

Most major historical figures were prolific writers, speakers, activists, and public figures. This means they wrote and talked a lot. Their writings, speeches, newspaper columns, diaries, and other works are often published in collections so that historians can easily access their works. Because they were created by the individual, these can be viewed as primary sources. 

If you are doing research on a particular event or period, it's worth your time to go to the eBook Academic Collection and the print catalog to find out whether the library holds collections of a historical figure's writings, speeches, etc. If the library does not, try Googling your historical figure's name and "speeches" or "writing." Then look for things like:

  • a library or museum which holds their works (example: FDR's papers have been digitized and are publicly available on his presidential library's webite)
  • an organization dedicated to studying the figure (example: The Walt Whitman Archives has digitized many of his works)
  • resources from organizations like the Smithsonian museum, the National Archives, and other government institutions

Can't find any digitized primary sources from your historical figure? Contact the librarian. They can often find you the resources you seek!

Databases for Finding Published Collections

History Study Center