Graduate Student Resources

Primary Docs Databases

scroll    Look for the scroll (that indicates primary sources) beside the databases listed in the directory linked below.


Center for Research Libraries

The Center for Research Libraries supports advanced research and teaching.  UNF Library is a member of CRL.  That means that you have access to thousands of research books and documents through fast interlibrary loan. CRL collects unique and little-known humanities, science, and social science documents.

There are also thousands of digital copies that you can read online.

Government Documents

Primary Documents

What are Primary Sources?

  • Yale University Library provides an excellent description of primary sources:

    "Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later. Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original format, in microfilm/microfiche, in digital format, or in published format."

Primary documents can be

  • diaries
  • dispatches
  • law cases
  • letters
  • maps
  • newspapers
  • oral histories
  • speeches
  • senate and house hearings
  • treaties

Finding Primary Sources using the UNF Catalog

Remember that academic libraries use the Library of Congress Classification System and subject headings. Once you find a good subject heading, you can find all the items in a library on that topic.

So -- be sure to look at the full record and use keywords from the subject headings to do another search or you may see the perfect subject heading that you can just click on.

  • correspondence
  • presidents and correspondence
  • soldiers and correspondence
  • diaries
  • personal narratives
  • speeches, addresses, etc.
  • campaign speeches
  • autobiography - make sure it really is an autobiography
  • memoir - make sure it really is a memoir



Magazines can be primary sources as long as you are finding articles published in your time period.  Magazines can be helpful in determining what the public was reading about the event as magazines enjoy wide circulation. 

  • 19th Century Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature 1890-1899, call number AI3 . R47 Index/Abstract Collection, 3rd floor.

Indexes mostly popular magazines. Authors and subjects are arranged in one alphabet. The list of periodicals indexed is on the inside front cover. Use the UNF catalog to see if the Library has the journal and the year you need.

  • Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature 1900 - current, call number AI3 .R48 Index/Abstract Collection, 3rd floor.

Readers' Guide indexes more popular magazines but it does cover some history journals. Authors and subjects are arranged in one alphabet. Book reviews are in a separate section after the main section. The list of periodicals indexed is on the inside front cover. Use the UNF catalog to see if the Library has the journal and the year you need.


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The Carpenter Library aspires to be the intellectual center of its community, to foster innovations that lead to the discovery of knowledge, and to further the research and scholarly endeavors of its users.

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