Seminar in U.S. Political History: Freedom in the Age of Revolution

This guide contains suggested databases for primary source research for this class. Don't limit yourselves to the ones on this page - it's just a starting point. There are collections of primary sources from the revolutionary era freely available online, as well as in published books available through Randall Library. I've included a brief description below on how to find the latter, but please feel free to contact me if you would like additional help finding these sources!

Semester and Year: 
Spring 2017
Course number: 
HST 444/526
Houpt, David

Finding Published Primary Sources

There are several good ways to locate published primary sources on the American Revolution through the Randall Library catalog (to get there from the library homepage, click on the link that says UNCW Library Catalog below the main search box).

  1. If you know the name of the author you are looking for, change the dropdown from Keyword to Author and type in the name (e.g. Paine, Thomas). The same goes for an individual title (e.g. Common Sense), except you'd obviously change the dropdown to Title instead.
  2. If you're searching more generally, try using the word document* (with the asterisk) as one of your keywords. For example, you might search "American Revolution" AND document*. Often, published collections of primary sources are called documents or documentary histories, and the asterisk allows you to search for any term starting with the root "document."


Search the Library Catalog

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Primary Source Databases

American Periodicals

Contains periodicals published between 1740 and 1940, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines and many other historically-significant periodicals. It includes American Periodicals Series and American Periodicals from the Center for Research Libraries.

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African-American Poetry

Contains nearly 3,000 poems from African-American poets in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

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American Poetry

Over 40,000 poems by American poets from the Colonial Period to the early 20th century.

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History Vault

Researchers can access digitized letters, papers, photographs, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries, and many more primary source materials taken from the University Publications of America (UPA) Collections. Our collections include Civil Rights and the Black Freedom Struggle, Southern Life and Slavery, American Politics and Society and Women’s Studies.

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I'd suggest the "Southern Life and African American History" collection in this database.
North American Women's Letters and Diaries

Resource includes the immediate experiences of 1,325 women and 150,000 pages of diaries and letters. The collection also includes biographies and an extensive annotated bibliography of the sources in the database.

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Pennsylvania Gazette

Published in Philadelphia The Pennsylvania Gazette is considered The New York Times of the 18th century. It provides the reader with a first hand view of colonial America, the American Revolution and the New Republic, and offers important social, political and cultural perspectives of each of the periods.

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Sabin Americana

Based on Joseph Sabin's landmark bibliography, this collection contains works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900's. Included are books, pamphlets, serials and other documents that provide original accounts of exploration, trade, colonialism, slavery and abolition, the western movement, Native Americans, military actions and much more.

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Women and Social Movements in the United States - Scholar's Edition

Women and Social Movements in the United States brings together primary documents, books, images, scholarly essays, book reviews, Web site reviews, and teaching tools, all documenting the multiplicity of women’s activism in public life.

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History Librarian

Kiana Webster

Social Sciences & History Librarian
Phone Number: 

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