Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Remote access to resources marked with a blue lock symbol is limited to UCSD students, faculty and staff.
Primary source research often strikes fear into students, who may not understand what primary sources are or how to find them. This guide concentrates on the "how to find them" part of the equation, linking to hundreds of free primary source collections on the web as well as collections to which UCSD subscribes.
Other primary source assistance at the UCSD Library includes: a short YouTube video that explains what primary sources are UC Library Search for finding primary documents (or other materials) in the library; search tips on the "Need More?" tab of this guide; and, you can always ask a librarian for help.
Adam Matthew Explorer This link opens in a new window
Browse or search across 13 collections of primary source material. Subject areas include Native Americans, colonial America, women & gender, Jewish life, immigration, and more.
Decommissioned. Content migrated to the Library of Congress Digital Collections site below.
Digital documents relevant to the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy and government from ancient times to the 21st century.
Digital Public Library of America
Portal to resources from U.S. libraries, archives, and museums. Browse by place, time, subject, or contributing partner.
A major collection of scanned texts relating to empire studies, divided into 5 sections: Cultural Contacts 1492-1969; Empire Writing/the Literature of Empire; The Visible Empire; Religion; and Race, class, imperialism and colonialism 1607-2007.
EuroDocs: Online Sources for European History
One of the best places to start for all time periods of European history. Extensive collection of primary sources and links to other sites. Browse by broad era (prehistory/ancient, medieval/renaissance, modern) or by country.
Gale Primary Sources
Allows searching across several Gale databases to locate primary source material.
Hanover Historical Texts Collection
Presents texts from ancient to modern times. Material touches on the Crusaders, Italian Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, French Revolution, and many other topics.
Digital primary sources drawn mostly from U.S. archival collections. Collections are arranged into subject modules: Civil Rights and the Black Freedom Struggle; Southern Life, Slavery, and the Civil War; American Indians and the American West; American Politics & Society; International Relations & Military Conflicts; Revolutionary War & Early America; Women's Studies; Workers, Labor Unions, & Radical Politics.
Internet History Sourcebooks
The Internet History Sourcebooks are collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts. Topics include Ancient, Medieval and Modern histories. Also presents material grouped by subject: Africa, East Asia, Global, Indian, Islamic, Jewish, Lesbian/Gay, Science and Women's history.
Library of Congress Digital Collections
Written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.
Making of the Modern World
Provides full-text and full-page-image access to books from the 1460-1850 period, and pre-1906 serials. It focuses on economics interpreted in the widest sense, including political science, history, sociology, and special collections on banking, finance, transportation and manufacturing.
The March of Time
Streaming video of Time Inc.'s unique and controversial newsreel series, airing between 1935-1967. Covers a wide range of topics and geographic areas.
Online Library of Liberty
Full texts of almost 1500 classic works on art, economics, history, law, literature, music, philosophy, political theory, religion, science, sociology, war and peace.
ProQuest History Vault
Dozens of digital primary sources collections drawn primarily from U.S. archival repositories.
Allows searching across 22 databases, including African American Periodicals, America's Historical Imprints, America's Historical Newspapers, American State Papers, FBIS Daily Reports, U.S. Congressional Serial Set, and World Newspaper Archive.
World Digital Library
Large, well-organized collection of print and visual primary sources from ancient to current times. Material may be browsed by place, time, topic, type of resource, or contributing institution.
Use the Ask-A-Librarian reference service or visit/call the Research Assistance Desk (858-822-0450) from 10am-4pm Monday through Friday.