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Archive of letters from normal everyday people of the 18th, 19th and early 20th century (Napoleonic wars, the American Civil War, the Great Depression, World War I and II). Themes: love and romance, religion, family, friends, legal and business matters.
Full 71-week run of the World War I edition. Background: American forces were dispersed throughout the Western Front, often mixed at the unit level with British, French, and Italian forces. The newspaper's mission was to provide these scattered troops with a sense of unity and an understanding of their part in the overall war effort. It featured news from home, sports news, poetry, and cartoons.
Contains 32 digital collections focused on a wide variety of topics and regions, including the Civil War, Westward Expansion, the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Search all collections, browse by collection or search within individual collections.
The Digital National Security Archive contains the most comprehensive set of declassified government documents available. The resource now includes 35 collections consisting of over 80,000 meticulously indexed documents, with more than 500,000 total pages.
Personal narratives and memoirs Political pamphlets and speeches, sermons and poems, legislative journals and popular magazines documenting the American Revolution from the earliest protests in 1765 through the peace treaty of 1783.
Slavery in America Personal narratives, pamphlets, addresses, political speeches, monographs, sermons, plays, songs, poetic and fictional works published between the 17th and late 19th centuries documenting key aspects of the history of slavery in America.
A collection of videos and clips from historical broadcasts.
Tips on Searching for Published Primary Sources
Subject headings are standardized phrases (or, "controlled vocabularies" in more technical terms) that are assigned to every book, e-book, and journal article in a library's collection. Although they may seem a little intimidating at first, using subject headings when you search for the best source materials on a given topic can end up saving you a lot of time! Try clicking on the subject headings listed below to get a sense of how they work. When you feel ready, consider using them yourself in future research by copying and pasting them into the library's catalog!
Additionally, if you find a great book or e-book in the library's catalog, click on the "Description" tab in the book's record and scroll to the list of "Subjects." Try clicking on the most relevant subject heading you see to find other great books!
A primary source can tell you a lot about a specific event, person, or period but they must still be checked for relevance and legitimacy.
Consider what your sources reveal and what they don't.
Purpose and motives of the author
Why do you think the author wrote this?
Who is the author and what might be his/her place in society?
What evidence in the source tells you this?
Argument and strategy used to achieve these goals
What kind of case is the author trying to make?
Is the author credible? Why?
Who was the intended audience at the time this was created? Was it meant to be public or private? If so, whom was it meant for? For example, a letter to from a soldier to a mother or wife might mask the atrocities of war. How might the content differ if he wrote to a father or brother instead?
Presuppositions and values (both in the text, and our own)
What presumptions and preconceptions do you (as a reader) bring to this text? For example, are there parts that you find objectionable, racist, sexist, but readers of that time period might have found acceptable?
How might the difference between our modern values and those of the author influence the way you understand the text?
What does this text tell you without outright telling you?
How might this text support an argument you've found in a secondary source?
Relate your source to other texts
What patterns/ideas regularly appear throughout your sources?
What major differences appear in them?
Can these be supported by other primary or secondary sources?
Primary Sources in the Norwich Archives
The Norwich University Archives, located on the 5th floor of the Kreitzberg Library, houses a non-circulating collection of primary sources that document the history of Norwich and the accomplishments of its alumni, faculty, staff, and other people associated with the university.
Our reading room is open to the public from 12:00 to 4:00 Monday through Friday or by appointment at other times. Feel free to call, email, or stop by and ask about how our collections can support your research!