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History: Primary Sources By Region

North American Primary Sources

Some primary source materials can be found by searching MUSCAT Plus , the library catalog, using a keyword or subject search. Additional primary sources may be found in Gettysburg College's Special Collections.

  • First try a KEYWORD search which searches all words in the titles, authors, subjects, and notes of MUSCAT Plus records. You can enter words in any order. This is the broadest, safest search. Take note of Subject Headings on promising titles.
  • Next try a SUBJECT search with the subject headings from the keyword search. This searches only the subject fields of MUSCAT Plus records, and word order matters. Ask a librarian if you need help identifying the best subject heading(s) for your topic.
  • Finally try an AUTHOR search to find original writings of a person or documents published by a government or organization (these are called "corporate authors").

    Examine the subject headings carefully. The following subheadings will help you identify books and microfilm that contain primary sources:

--case studies

--early works to  1800
--early works to  1900

--pictorial works
--caricatures and
--personal narratives
--underground literature

Ex: United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives 


International Primary Sources