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History Research Guide

A general reference guide for History faculty, staff and students. This includes resources for historiography and historical research.

Finding Primary Texts

Primary sources are first-hand accounts of historical events, written or produced at the time of study.

These can be either published or unpublished, and can be found in many formats, such as manuscripts, books, microfilm, photographs, video and sound recordings. Some primary sources are available in more than one format; for example, a collection of manuscript letters may also have been published in book form, or may have been digitized and made available on the Internet.

Using the MSU Online Catalog and WorldCat, you can find primary texts using the following Subject terms:

  • sources : this will find general primary texts
  • personal narratives : this will find memoirs, diaries, and autobiographies
  • correspondence : this will find letters

Primary Texts at MSU

MSU hosts a rich collection of primary texts. Look through the finding aids on the following sites and make an appointment to get dirty in the archives.

Microfilm Resources

The following resources can help you find primary and secondary microfilm, microfiche and microcard collections in the MSU Library Collections.

Other Resources

To conduct a broader search of archival materials: