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HIS 400 - Dismantling Slavery: Black Activism in Latin America

The source-driven junior paper

Often, the best work arises from close engagement with a primary source. As you read, you'll think of questions or begin to shape an argument. The hard part is to find a primary source that addresses the broad general area of interest. Here are some strategies for finding primary sources:

Digitized Primary Sources—General

Digitized Primary Sources—Brazil

Digitized Primary Sources—Spanish-speaking Caribbean/South America

Digitized Primary Sources—French-speaking Caribbean/South America

Digitized Primary Sources—English-speaking Caribbean/South America

Digitized Primary Sources—Dutch-speaking Caribbean/South America

Finding Primary Sources in Books

Some primary sources are collected in books, which you can find the library catalog.

To find the papers of an individual, search for that person as an author, e.g. jackson, andrew

To find the records of an organization or government body, use the name of the organization as an author e.g. United States. Dept. of State

Include one of these words as a keyword or a subject:

  • sources
  • diaries
  • correspondence
  • [place name]—Description and travel
  • personal narrative

If you find something that looks useful, look at the detailed view of the catalog record and try to identify the "subject" assigned. For many topics in history, there's an official term used in all Anglo-American library catalogs, like:

  • Cuba--History--Revolution, 1959--Sources.
  • Argentina --History--Sources.
  • United States--Foreign relations--Cuba--Sources.
  • Coups d'état--Venezuela--History--Sources.

To find works published in a particular time and place, explore the search options. It is usually possible to  limit your search by date, language, or location of publication. 

Other resources to locate primary sources