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AAS 326: Topics in African American Culture & LIfe: Early African American Literature

Newspapers and Periodicals


Personal Papers



Legal materials

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. 

For Context