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.

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources for Research

Calisphere: a World of Primary Sources

Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 200,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations across California.

NYPL Digital Library

NYPL Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library's vast collections, including illuminated  manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more.                                                      

Finding Primary Sources at the National Archives

Thousands of online primary source documents from the National Archives. Contains link to DocsTeach Resources for Teachers, including  online selection of thousands of primary source documents to bring the past to life as classroom teaching tools from the billions preserved at the National Archives. Use the site to  find written documents, images, maps, charts, graphs, audio and video in the collection that spans the course of American history.

Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an all-digital library that aggregates metadata — or information describing an item — and thumbnails for millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. DPLA brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.

Library of Congress American Memory

American Memory is a gateway to the Library of Congress’s digitized American historical materials, organized into more than 100 thematic collections. Original formats include manuscripts, prints, photographs, posters, maps, sound recordings, motion pictures, books, pamphlets, and sheet music. Each collection provides explanatory features to make the materials easy to find, use, and understand. Collections may be browsed individually, searched individually (including full-text searching for many written items), or searched across multiple collections. 1400s-present.

Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution is administered by the United States Government and is located in Washington D.C.  It offers access to primary sources and other resources on a wide variety of topics, including military and political history. Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research facilities. It has  8.8 million digitized records available online.