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Primary Sources: World History

Find historical primary sources for your research, both online and in print

Finding Primary Sources for Research in World History

On this page you can find primary source material - both websites and books in the WSA Library - on World History.

 

French Revolution Board Game, 1789, with events from the Storming of the Bastille to the National Convention - Britannica ImageQuestFor help with learning how to use online primary sources, see:

World History Sources

Look for primary sources in WSA databases.

For websites covering a multiple time periods and geographical locations, see:

Primary Source Books and Websites for World History Research

Primary sources on specific time periods:

Ancient History 
Medieval History and Renaissance Period (100 CE through 17th century)
The French Revolution (1789-1794)

19th CenturyPaying Cuban troops who fought for the US in the Spanish American War, Guantanamo, Cuba, July 1899 - Britannica ImageQuest
Modern History - 20th and 21st centuries

     World War I
     World War II

Primary sources on specific countries or regions:

African History
Asian History

British History
European History
Latin American History
Middle Eastern History

Weimar National Assembly at the National Theatre in Weimar, 1919. Britannica ImageQuestPrimary sources on specific topics:

Anthropology
History of Children and Youth
History of Religions
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Persons' History
Maps and Geography
Slavery in the World: History, Culture, & the Law
Women's History

World History Sources

Features of this website include:

  • Finding World History - Scholarly reviews of online primary source archives, including teaching potential
  • Unpacking Evidence - Eight guides to analyzing primary sources: music, images, objects, maps, newspapers, travel narratives, official documents, and personal accounts; each guide includes:
    • an introductory essay
    • a list of questions to ask when working with a particular type of evidence
    • interactive quizzes
    • a sample analysis of one source
    • an annotated bibliography
    • an annotated list of relevant websites
  • Analyzing Documents - Eight multimedia case studies model strategies for interpreting particular types of primary sources (music, images, objects, maps, newspapers, travel narratives, official documents, personal accounts) and placing them in historical context; learn how historians use sources, what questions they pose, and where else they go for information.

Primary Source Websites and Books for Research in World History - Multiple Time Periods and Geographical Locations

These websites have primary sources documents from a range of time periods and regions of the world.  Take care when using Internet sites for primary sources, since most sources contain both primary and secondary texts.  Be sure you have properly identified your document.

WSA Library books with primary sources

Ancient History Primary Sources

Websites with primary sources

Artstor

Gale Virtual Reference Library books with primary sources

WSA Library books with primary sources

Medieval and Renaissance History Primary Sources

Websites with primary sources

Artstor

Gale Virtual Reference Library books with primary sources

WSA Library books with primary sources

The French Revolution (1789-1794)

Websites with primary sources

WSA Library book with primary sources

19th Century Primary Sources

WSA database with primary sources on 19th Century world history: JSTOR (in JSTOR's 19th Century British Pamphlets collection).

Throughout the 19th century, pamphlets were an important means of public debate, covering the key political, social, technological, and environmental issues of their day. 19th Century British Pamphlets contains the most significant British pamphlets from the 19th century held in research libraries in the United Kingdom. The JSTOR collection includes more than 26,000 digitized pamphlets, with over one million pages total, and brings together a group of primary sources for the study of sociopolitical and economic factors impacting 19th-century Britain.

WSA Library book with primary sources

20th & 21st Century Primary Sources

Websites with primary sources

WSA Library book with primary sources

World War I

Websites with primary sources

Gale Virtual Reference Library book with primary source material

WSA Library book with primary sources

World War II

Websites with primary sources

Gale Virtual Reference Library book with primary source material

WSA Library books with primary source material

African History Primary Sources

WSA database with primary sources on Africa: JSTOR

Websites with primary sources

Asian History Primary Sources

Websites with primary sources

WSA database with primary sources on Asia:  Artstor

WSA Library books with primary sources

WSA Databases

See the box below for suggestions on what keywords to use when searching WSA databases for primary sources.

What Keywords Should I Use?

Using the General Keyword search box - type in your topic plus one of the following words or phrases:

     Archive Source*  
     
Correspondence
     Diar
* (this retrieves both
         Diary and Diaries)
     History Archive*

     History Document*
     History Source
*
     Interview*
     Letter*
     
Personal Narrative*
     Primary source*

      Speech*
 

Note: Use of the * at the end of a word will search for both singular and plural forms.

Gale Virtual Library History eBook Collection

British History Primary Sources

Websites with primary sources

WSA databases with primary sources on British history:  Churchill Archive and JSTOR (in JSTOR's 19th Century British Pamphlets collection).

European History Primary Sources

Websites with primary sources

WSA Library books with primary sources

Latin American Primary Sources

WSA Library books with primary sources

WSA database with primary sources on Latin America: Artstor

Middle Eastern Primary Sources

Websites with primary sources

Artstor

Anthropology

Children & Youth History Primary Sources

History of Religions

Websites with primary sources

Artstor

WSA Library books

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer History Primary Sources

Maps and Geography

Slavery in the World: History, Culture & Law

Women' History Primary Sources

Websites with primary sources

Artstor

         

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