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History: Europe: Primary Sources

Books -- Early English language primary sources


Attempts have been made to identify and list all early books published in English. These "catalogs" list the books by author, and note the libraries which report having a copy of the book.

  • English Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland and Ireland, and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640. ("Pollard & Redgrave") - 1475-1640. (Crumb Ref Z 2002.P77 1976). Crumb Library has most of the microfilm collection for this time period.
  • Short-Title Catalog. ("Wing") - 1641-1700. (Crumb Ref Z 2002.W52). Crumb Library does not own the microfilm of this set.
  • English Short Title Catalogue (1473-1800) online here
    More about using the English Short Title Catalogue.


To view and/or photocopy the works on microfilm, use the microfilm reader/printers located nearby.

Diaries, Correspondence, and other Papers: private papers of sufficient interest may be published for the use of historians and other interested parties. These are listed in BearCat. Use "keywords" such as "correspondence", "diaries". Some examples (with call numbers in Crumb):

  • The Diaries of John Evelyn. (DA 447.E9A44)
  • The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montague. (DA 501.M7A48)
  • The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell. (DA 426.A15 1970)

Collections of Historical Documents in Crumb


These include selected documents and papers of historical interest. The term used in the catalog to describe these is usually "Sources". For ex, "Great Britain History Sources" as a Subject Heading search will turn up many compilations of primary sources. Some examples

  England and Ireland

  • Holinshed's Chronicles. (DA 130.H74)
  • Family, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1500-1800. (HQ 615.S76 1977)
  • Documents illustrating the history of civilization in medieval England(1066-1500). (DA 170.D3 1926a) 1926.
  • Irish Historical Documents Since 1800. (DA 950.I69 1991) Ed. Alan O'Day.
  • Ireland: a documentary record. /James Carty (DA 938.C32) 3 vols. 1957-1959.
  • Irish historical documents, 1172-1922. ed. Edmund Curtis (DA 905.C8 1968b)
  • Irish political documents, 1916-1949. ed. Arthur Mitchell (DA 959.I69 1985)
  • Northern Ireland political literature: 1968-1972. Edited from the collection in the Linenhall Library, Belfast, 1974. 82 fiche. (WD 1)
  • Sources for early modern Irish history. 1534-1641. R. W. Dudley (DA 905.E38 1985)
  • The Urban experience : a sourcebook : English, Scottish, and Welsh towns, 1450-1700. (HT 133 .U683 1983)



  • European Society in the Eighteenth Century. (HN 373.F64 1969b)
  • Source book for medieval economic history. (HC 41.C3 1965) Orig. publ in 1936.
  • Select documents of European History. (D 101.L3 1929)
  • Documents of European economic history.(HC 240.P5952) 3 vols.
  • Nationalism, industrialization, and democracy, 1815-1914. (D 351.B37)
  • Breakdown and rebirth, 1914 to the present. (D 411.B36)
  • Documents on the political history of the European continent, 1815-1939. (D5.K4)
  • Documents of German History. (DD 3.S55 1975)
  • Dokumente der deutschen Politik und Geschichte von 1848 bis zur Gegenwart. (DD 201.H63)
  • Deutsche Reichs geschichte in Dokumenten 1849-1934. (DD 201.H62)
  • Dokumente zur Deutschlandpolitik.(DD 257.4.A514)

Primary Sources via library catalogs

Some of the terms used in library catalogs for collections of primary source documents:

SOURCES - this is the most general term used for a collection of primary documents of various kinds, or a guide to locating primary sources. Example catalog search: united states history sources

PERSONAL NARRATIVES - a general subject heading for first-hand accounts

CORRESPONDENCE - collections of letters



ARCHIVES - This usually leads to guides or directories of archival collecrtions. Example catalog search: new york state archives




Books and articles may also reproduce primary sources, either as appendixes or within the text. And they may be excellent sources for learning about what primary sources are known to exist.

Historical Newspapers

Newspapers are published everywhere in many languages. Back issues are almost always available only as microfilm. The most comprehensive list of foreign newspapers is Newspapers in Microform: Foreign Countries Ref PN 4855.A1L5 1948-83. Most newspapers available in microfilm can be obtained through Interlibrary Loan. Few newspapers have indexes to their contents, but some of the most important ones do.

  • The Times. (London) 1788- 1997 (Microfilm AP4.T5
    • Palmer's Index to the Times of London. 1790-1905. On microfilm - at the end of the Times (London) (Microfilm AP 4.T52).
    • Official Index to the Times of London. 1785-86, 1906-date. (Ref AI 21.T46)
  • The New York Times. 1851-date (Microfilm AP 2.N657)
    • New York Times Index. 1851-date. (Ref AI 21.N45)

Newspapers are being digitized as well. For more links to newspapers, see these pages for newspapers online, or on microfilm.


Writing and illustrations in periodicals are important historical artifacts. Wide circulation magazines in England date from around the end of the 17th century. Examples to be found in Crumb Library are:

  • Defoe's Review, 1704-1713 (DA 490.D33)
  • Spectator, 1711-1714 (PR 1365.S7 1965). Spectator Text Project, 1709-1714 (DJVU plug-in needed)
  • Internet Library of Early Journals - 1731 -1869. Includes substantial runs of: Gentleman's Magazine; The Annual Register; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society; Notes and Queries; The Builder ; Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine
  • All Ireland Review, 1900 -1906. (Microfilm AP 4.A4)
  • Beltaine. ed. by W. B. Yeats. 1899 -1900. (PN 2602.D843)
  • Yellow book. (London, England). 1894 -1897 (Spec. Coll. AP 4.Y4)
  • Revue des deux mondes. (Paris, France) 1885 -1893, 1930-1940 (AP 20.R3)
  • Early Periodicals at SUNY Potsdam is a searchable database of printed, microfilm, and online sources

Indexes to the contents of magazines came much later. Listed here are indexes which cover popular interest and news magazines (rather than professional historical journals), which enable you to look for articles by subject:

  • Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature. 1890-date (Ref.AI 3.R48)
  • Poole's Index to Periodical Literature. 1802-1881 (Ref.AI 3.P7)
  • Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals. 1824-1900 (Ref AI 3.W45)

Government Documents

Call numbers below are for Crumb Library. For microforms, ask at the Reference Desk.

  • Parliament. Great Britain.  Hansard's Parliamentary Debates - 1803-2005
  • Parliamentary History of England, 1066-1803. 36 volumes (J 301.H5)
  • Debates of the House of Commons, from the year 1667 to 1694. Collected by Anichitell Grey. 59 microfiche cards. (Wa/JN1)

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