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Primary Sources

Primary source research is often an important element of class work and research papers. Here are some resources available on the library’s website, as well as some outside sources to help you. All library resources are available in the library or by using your Glen Ellyn Public Library card at home, unless otherwise stated.

Library Resources

Gale Virtual Reference: Access more than 1,000 electronic reference titles.Gale Virtual Reference Library includes collections of primary sources organized by topic, such as “Suffrage in the 20th Century: Primary Sources.” Try searching your general topic, narrowing down as necessary. If too many results come up, try searching your topic plus the word “primary.” Gale resources are also available through the Glenbard West Elliott Library and the Glenbard South High School Library, so ask your school librarian for help!

Credo Reference: Search hundreds of encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, quotations, and subject-specific titles, as well as 200,000+ images and audio files, and nearly 100 videos.Credo Reference includes mainly secondary sources, but they do have some primary sources in their materials. Try searching just for your topic first, and if that is too broad, try “primary source” plus your topic. For instance, “primary sources slavery.”

ProQuest Newsstand: Fully searchable electronic copies of articles from over 1,500 state, regional, national, and international newspapers.You can access newspaper archives for the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Herald and the Wall Street Journal, as well as for newspapers around the country in ProQuest Newsstand.

HeritageQuest: Genealogical and historical sources.HeritageQuest is a genealogy oriented database with primary sources that includes census data, bank records, family histories, and more.

Ancestry: Find census, birth, marriage, and death records.Ancestry, available for in-library use only, is a genealogy-oriented database which has primary sources like birth and death records, census information, and more.

Outside Resources

National Archives
Primary sources, as well as guides and information for how to use them and find the documents you need.

Library of Congress Primary Source Document Collection
Organized by collection, topic, and more, with a link to ask a LOC librarian if you are having trouble finding what you need. You can do so via chat or online form.

Fordham University: Full Text Sources
Primary source documents grouped by time period. You can use CTRL+F to search for a specific author or document.

The Avalon Project from Yale Law School
Document collections organized by topic, as well as legal cases and a Nuremburg Trials Collection.

LIFE Historical Photo Archive from Google
Includes historical photos from earlier centuries through the present.