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Primary Sources: Print

How to find primary sources, in print, in manuscripts, and in electronic formats.

Primary Sources Published in Print

Many primary sources are available in print. Some of these sources were created as print sources. Books, newspapers, magazines, broadsides, pamphlets, court reports and the like can all be used as primary sources.  Depending on how old or rare a printed source is, you may be able to find it at your local academic library or obtain it through interlibrary loan.

Other print resources include collections of documents about a particular topic, or the manuscripts and papers of statesmen, intellectuals, and other public figures that have been collected and edited for the use of researchers. The following are some sources held in the Mack Library:

If you are working on a well-known topic, the chances are good that you can find a collection of primary sources in print, either from the Mack Library, PASCAL,  or through interlibrary loan. You will have to be cautious in relying on collections or anthologies of documents. Does the collection contain all the available documents, or a representative portion, or only a very narrow subset? Can you discern whether the author is pushing a thesis with the documents that he has chosen? For example, a researcher using Documents Relating to New England Federalism ought to note that the collection was made by Henry Adams, whose family were Federalists. Adams intended his collection, at least in part, as a justification for his family's rift with other Federalists.

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