HY 120: The American Past (post 1850)
Interim Interdisciplinary Programs Liaison Librarian
Library Research Guide
Professor Gretchen Boger | Block 7 (Fall 2011)
Search Tips for Finding Primary Sources
Using the Right Keywords
It’s important to remember that the words we use to describe topics change over time. For instance, today we often say Civil War but, in the past, it has been called the American Civil War, War between the States, War of Secession, and War of the Rebellion. If you were to search only Civil War, you might miss out on valuable documents written during a different era.
Likewise, when searching the fulltext of digitized newspapers and magazines from earlier periods, keep in mind that some words were spelled differently. Be sure to search using all variations of a given word.
Searching as many related terms as possible will give you the best chance of finding resources. To help you find those related terms, the Library of Congress Authorities and Vocabularies has a handy thesaurus. Simply plug in a keyword, and it will give a list of related terms used throughout recent decades.
Finding Full Text Articles
Not every article you find in a database will be available in full text. If you come across one that’s not, just follow the black, white, and gold Tutt Link logo to find out if the full text appears in any other databases at Tutt Library or if you’ll need to request the article through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Learn how to use Tutt Link to find full text.
Sometimes you’ll have a full citation from another source. In this case, the fastest way to find out if we own the article is through Find Journals. You’ll see whether or not Tutt Library has the journal and which issues we own. If we do not have the full text of your article, you may request it by filling out the Interlibrary Loan Request Form.
Articles requested through Interlibrary Loan may arrive in as little as 24 to 48 hours. However, you must be registered with ILLiad to make requests (see First Time User Registration for Interlibrary Loan).
Where to Look for Primary Sources
Colorado College Special Collections
Colorado College Special Collections maintains collections of rare books, special editions, manuscripts, and published and archival material on Colorado, Colorado Springs, and Colorado College.
- Rare Books and Special Editions: about 6,000 items, including about two dozen examples of early printed books, the Alfred R. Justice Chess Collection, the Charles Dickens Collection, a small but growing collection of artists’ books, and about 160 individual, original leaves from manuscript and printed books dating from the 10th to the 20th century.
- Manuscript Collections: more than 350 collections of personal papers, records, photographs, correspondence, diaries, and other unique materials originally belonging to a particular person or organization, usually connected to Colorado College or Colorado Springs, including the Helen Hunt Jackson Papers and the Colorado Springs Century Chest Collection.
- Ephemera Collections: Colorado Springs playbills and programs, Pikes Peak area tourist brochures, bumper stickers, Colorado restaurant and event menus, the Colorado College Zine Collection, and other printed materials.
- Colorado Collection: about 12,000 books, periodicals, photographs, papers, and oral history materials focusing on the American West, especially Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, including the Cobos Collection.
To learn more, you can search the Special Collections catalog or make an appointment with curator Jessy Randall. Hours are weekdays from 9:00 to 12:00, and 1:00 to 5:00.
Historical Newspapers and Magazines
Accessible ArchivesCoverage: 1728 - 1900Access to archival fulltext newspapers including the Pennsylvania Gazette, African American and Civil War Newspapers, and Godey's Lady's Book.
American Periodicals Series OnlineCoverage: 1740-1940Over 1,100 periodicals that first began publishing between 1740 and 1900, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines, and many other historically-significant periodicals. May be cross-searched with ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
Colorado Historic Newspaper CollectionCoverage: 1859 -Search historic Colorado newspapers from cities and counties throughout the state, published in English and other languages. The database includes digital versions of newspapers found on microfilm at the Colorado Historical Society's Stephen H. Hart Library that were published between 1859 and 1928. New material is usually added once a month. Some issues of the Colorado Springs Gazette are included.
Historical Newspapers (Proquest)Coverage: 1800's -Provides complete, full-image access to historical articles from the Atlanta Constitution, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times from 1881 and the New York Times from 1851. For current online articles use Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe.
ICON: International Coalition on Newspapers
Highlights and links to past, present, and prospective digitization projects of historic newspapers from around the world and in the U.S. (Most are free, some cost).
Making of America
Coverage: 1815 – 1926
Nineteenth Century MasterfileCoverage: 1200's-1930Collection of dozens of indexes to English-language publishing prior to 1930. Indexing coverage includes Poole's Index to Periodical Literature, 1802-1906. Index to Nineteenth century historical periodicals. Government Documents Indices include indexes to: U.S. patents, 1790-1873; U.S. government publications, 1774-1881; British House of Commons and House of Lords, 1803-1830. Indexing also books, newspapers and periodicals. Links to full text in other databases, HathiTrust and Google Books.
Nineteenth Century U.S. NewspapersCoverage: 1800'sProvides access to approximately 1.7 million pages of primary source newspaper content from the 19th century, featuring full-text content and images from numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S.
A digital library of 19th century books and periodicals – Atlantic Monthly, North American Review, Scribner’s, Living Age and more. There are two different collections available: University of Michigan – Making of America and Cornell University – Making of America.
Periodicals Archive OnlineCoverage: 1665-2000Online periodical archive containing the digitized backfiles of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences.
Periodicals Index OnlineCoverage: 1665-1995Electronic index to the contents of thousands of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences, including both scholarly and popular titles. Every article is indexed.
Readers' Guide RetrospectiveCoverage: 1890 - 1982The premier index to popular periodicals. No full text links, but Tutt owns a large percentage of the magazines/journals indexed by this resource. Continued by Readers Guide Abstracts.
Primary Source Databases and Archives
The American Civil WarCoverage: 1848 - 1897100,000+ pages of diaries, letters and memoirs by 2000+ authors. Includes many previously unpublished manuscripts. Organized for detailed browsing and searching. Some materials are cross-searchable under Social and Cultural History.
American MemoryCoverage: historicalDigitized collections from the Library of Congress. Oral histories, letters, photographs, documents. Search by keyword.
The American WestCoverage: 1700's-1900'sSelected manuscripts, maps, ephemeral material and rare printed sources from the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana at the Newberry Library, Chicago.
Black Thought And CultureCoverage: 1700 - 2006Black Thought and Culture contains 1,200+ sources covering the non-fiction published works of leading African Americans. Includes non-fiction works, interviews, journal articles, speeches, essays, pamphlets, letters and other fugitive material. Also includes the Black Panther newspaper from 1967-1980. Allows for advanced browsing and searching by author, race, gender, year, subject, nationality, etc. Some materials are cross-searchable under Social and Cultural History.
In The First PersonCoverage: mostly 19th and 20th centuryFind primary-source, first person accounts such as oral histories, diaries, etc. Indexes Alexander Street databases (via CC subscription) and material freely available on the Web.
National Archives And Records AdministrationCoverage: historicalDescription and many links to digital copies of the documents, photographs and maps housed in the National Archives and regional branches.
North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries, And Oral HistoriesCoverage: 1784 - 2004100,00 pages of letters, diaries, oral histories, interviews and other personal narratives by 2,000+ authors. Some audio recordings are available. Material is organized for advanced browsing and searching. Some materials are cross-searchable under Social and Cultural History.
North American Women's Letters And DiariesCoverage: 1675 - 2002150,000+ pages of diaries and letters from over 1,300 women, supplemented with biographies and bibliographies. Browse and search by detailed factors like author, race, occupation, age at first childbirth, year written, and geographical setting. Cross-searchable under Social and Cultural History.
Women And Social Movements In The United States 1600-2000Coverage: 1600 - 2000Growing collection of documents related to women and social movements in U.S. history. Includes primary source documents, images, dictionary of movements, biographical dictionary, chronology, reviews, notes, and teaching tools. Organized for in-depth browsing and searching.
Women Writers OnlineCoverage: 1400 - 1850Contains fulltext of nearly 400 works of early modern women writers.
Contact the Reference Desk, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., x6662, IM=tuttlibrarian
Contact Daryl Alder, Interim Interdisciplinary Programs Librarian, x6669, Tutt Library 201