"Primary sources - material produced by the person being studied or in the time period under consideration, rather than by someone thinking about the subject later - are a cornerstone of good academic practice." - Pop cultural critic Lily Rothman
Executive Editor. "I Dare You To Search 'Miley, Skidmore' On Twitter." Skidmore Unofficial. Skidmore College, 28 March 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2016.
Library of Congress digital collections of primary sources
This collection of life histories consists of approximately 2,900 documents, compiled and transcribed by more than 300 writers from 24 states, working on the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program that was part of the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936 to 1940. Typically 2,000-15,000 words in length, the documents vary in form from narratives to dialogues to reports to case histories. They chronicle vivid life stories of Americans who lived at the turn of the century and include tales of meeting Billy the Kid, surviving the 1871 Chicago fire, pioneer journeys out West, grueling factory work, and the immigrant experience.
The papers of statesman, publisher, scientist, and diplomat Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) consist of approximately 8,000 items spanning the years 1726 to 1907, with most dating from the 1770s and 1780s. The collection's principal strength is its documentation of Franklin's diplomatic roles as a colonial representative in London (1757-1762 and 1764-1775) and France (1776-1785), where he sought to win recognition and funding from European countries during the American Revolution, negotiated the treaty with Britain that ended the war, and served as the first United States minister to France. The papers also document Franklin's work as a scientist, inventor, and observer of the natural world, and his relations with family, friends, and scientific and political colleagues.
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA). At the conclusion of the Slave Narrative project, a set of edited transcripts was assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress presents the papers of the nineteenth-century African American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher. The online collection, containing approximately 7,400 items (38,000 images), spans the years 1841-1964, with the bulk of the material dating from 1862 to 1865. Many of Douglass’s earlier writings were destroyed when his house in Rochester, New York, burned in 1872.
The records of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) span the years from 1839 to 1961 but are most numerous for the period 1890 to 1930. The collection consists of approximately 26,700 items (52,078 images), most of which were digitized from 73 microfilm reels. These records reflect NAWSA's multifaceted history, including the activities of precursor organizations involved in the abolition and women's rights movements, state and federal campaigns for women's suffrage, the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and international women's suffrage organizing.
The papers of Rosa Parks (1913-2005) span the years 1866-2006, with the bulk of the material dating from 1955 to 2000. The collection, which contains approximately 7,500 items in the Manuscript Division, as well as 2,500 photographs in the Prints and Photographs Division, documents many aspects of Parks's private life and public activism on behalf of civil rights for African Americans. The collection is a gift made to the Library in 2016 through the generosity of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The Library received the materials in late 2014, formally opened them to researchers in the Library’s reading rooms in February 2015, and now has digitized them for optimal access by the public.
Fully searchable, cover-to-cover reproductions of early American newspapers including titles from all 50 present states. Includes: Early American Newspapers, Series 1 (1690-1876), Early American Newspapers, Series 2 (1758-1900) and Early American Newspapers, Series 3 (1829-1922).