Skip to Main Content

HIS 445: Winston Churchill, Anglo-America, & the "Special Relationship" [Spring 2023]

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:

Churchill's writings and papers

Key resources: Britain

National Archives of the United Kingdom -- many Churchill-era papers are digitized and available for free download

British Foreign Office United States correspondence, 1938-1945: guide to the Scholarly Resources microfilm edition of the Public Record Office collection, text, F.O. 371.  Wilmington, Del. : Scholarly Resources, c1979.  E183.8.G7 B73 MICROFORM SET AVAILABLE FROM CENTER FOR RESEARCH LIBRARIES VIA INTER-LIBRARY LOAN.

British Foreign Office United States correspondence, 1946-1948 [microform]
56 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms E183.8.G7B74
"These files contain the dispatches, instructions, reports, memoranda, and other communications that flowed between the Foreign Office and the British embassy and consulates in the United States. The documents give a detailed view of British diplomacy at work and offer much information, gathered by a highly trained diplomatic corps, on internal political, economic, and social affairs in the United States. This microfilm edition, published through exclusive arrangement with the British Public Record Office, faithfully reproduces the organization and content of the Foreign Office Files."

Foreign Office files--United States of America. Series one, USA, politics and diplomacy, 1960-1974 [microform] : (Public Record Office class FO 371, American Department, United States and FCO files from 1967 onwards).
Incomplete contents: pt. 1. The John F. Kennedy years, 1960-1963 : PRO class FO 371/148576-148649, 156435-156516, 162578-162648, 168405-168491 -- pt. 2. The Lyndon B. Johnson years, 1964-1968 : PRO class FO 371/174260-174346, 179557-179622, 184995-185056, and FCO 7/738-884 (reels 27-56).
Firestone Microforms Services (Film) MICROFILM 12020

British documents on foreign affairs--reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. Part II, From the First to the Second World War. Series C, North America, 1919-1939 / general editors, Kenneth Bourne and D. Cameron Watt ; editor D.K. Adams.
Firestone Library (F) Oversize JZ633 .B753 1986q

United States

Foreign relations of the United States 
A major source of primary material on US foreign relations is:
Foreign relations of the United States. Department of State, United States of America. Washington : US G.P.O.
Firestone Library: Non Circulating (Fnc) KZ231 .U534

Some volumes from the 1950s and 1960s are also available on microfiche at:
Government Documents Collection (DOCS) Call Number: S 1.1

There are several online versions of parts or all of this series:

"The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major US foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the State Department's Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now comprises more than 350 individual volumes. The volumes published over the last two decades increasingly contain declassified records from all the foreign affairs agencies." [from the State Dept. website]

On the history of FRUS, see also

ProQuest Congressional

Indexes publications of the U.S. Congress such as hearings, committee reports, documents and prints. Material is available in microfiche and/or electronic. Essential tool for doing legislative history research. Includes Congressional Research Reports from 1916 to the present, U.S. Serial Set from 1789-1969, Annals of Congress from 1789-1824, Register of Debates from 1824-1837, Congressional Globe from 1833-1873, and Congressional Record from 1873-1997.

Also includes the U.S. Serials Set, a collection of U.S. Government publications compiled under the directive of Congress. Includes Congressional reports and documents as well as executive agency and departmental reports ordered to be printed by Congress.

Public papers of the presidents of the United States. Washington: Federal Register Division, National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1929-2005, 2009
Firestone Library: Non Circulating (Fnc): J80 .U577; also online at (For FDR see

Executive Orders and Presidential Proclamations (1789-present) in ProQuest Congressional

Executive Branch Documents (1789-1939) in ProQuest Congressional

New Deal and World War II: President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Office Files and Records of Federal Agencies, 1933-1945 in ProQuest History Vault

Foreign Broadcast Information Service

FBIS, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, is a service provided by the US government that translates foreign news broadcasts into English. The service began during WWII and is ongoing. In addition, JPRS, the Joint Publications Research Service, was an auxiliary service to FBIS from 1953-1995.

Access to FBIS Daily Reports:
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports (1941-1996)
For 1994 onwards, use World News Connection
FBIS Daily Reports 1952-1992 can also be found at RECAP Microfilm S01854, RECAP PrEx 7.10:FBIS-APA, RECAP PrEx 7.10:FBIS-EEU, and RECAP PrEx 7.10:FBIS-SOV; for 1946-1951 in print in RECAP [14102.914.2 and 14102.914].

Council on Foreign Relations

Princeton's Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library holds the records of the Council on Foreign Relations, "a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and national membership organization dedicated to improving understanding of international affairs by promoting a range of ideas and opinions on United States foreign policy. The Council has had a significant impact in the development of twentieth century United States foreign policy." See Council on Foreign Relations Records, 1918-2006: Finding Aid for more information. Note that the records are closed for 25 years from the date of their creation.

Records of the Council on Foreign Relations, 1921-1951 [microform]
RECAP Microfiche 1637
517 fiches
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms E744 .R426 2007
This is a microform edition of portions of the Council’s records from 1921-1951. Includes Conferences, Study Groups, Meetings, and the War and Peace Project.

U.S. Department of State

See for more information

U.S. Military Intelligence Reports, 1911-1944 in ProQuest History Vault

U.S. Diplomatic Post Records, 1914-1945 in ProQuest History Vault

British newspapers

  • English
  • Current issues in Periodicals Reading Room
  • Times London(Lexis-Nexis Academic) (July 1, 1985+) see Newspapers at Princeton
  • Palmer's Full Text Online & Index to the Times (1790-1905)
  • Official Index to The Times (1906-1980)
  • RECAP MICROFILM S00827 (1788-2009)
  • Note: back issues of the Times of London are available through two different services. The first includes full text, and the second combines full text with an online version of the print index (Palmer's). Note that some readers prefer to consult the paper version of the index, which is shelved in Firestone Microforms Services (FilmB): AI21.T5.

U.S. newspapers

First, if what you need in an American paper published before about 1990, is it in one of the large collections of historical newspapers?

Periodicals (Britain and U.S.)

News, Policy and Politics Magazine Archive
Consists of the backfile of 15 major magazines (including the Newsweek archive), spanning areas including current events, international relations, and public policy. Covers history, political science, law and economics. 1918-2015

Periodicals Index Online 
Periodicals Index Online is an index to a very substantial collection of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences. Either through PIO, or separately, the reader can also access two full-text collections, British Periodicals and Periodicals Archive Online, which provide searchable full-text and page images of hundreds of periodicals of the 19th and early 20th centuries.


Readers' Guide  (1890+; Select Full Text 1992+)
Indexing and abstracting of the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States and Canada, plus the full text of selected periodicals from the late 20th century.

PAIS: Public Affairs Information Service  (1915+) Citations to articles, books, reports, and select government documents on U.S. and international public policy issue. Generally considered to be a comprehensive index to policy literature.

Related guides