Finding Women's History Primary Sources
This research guide provides an introduction to selected print and electronic resources for finding primary sources in women's history.
British Isles Online Primary Resources
This is a guide to the major electronic resources M.S.U. Libraries has bought or is subscribing to about/from the British Isles. Some are described below, some not.
Murray and Hong Special Collections
M.S.U. Libraries’ Murray and Hong Special Collections contains the sub-collections Juvenile Literature (Boys’ and Girls’ Books), Sunday school Books, Comic Art, and Cookery. Many early cookbooks contain sections on household management and children. Some cookbooks and Sunday school books are available online. We also have an Eighteenth -century British Collection. Use the online catalog to search Special Collections’ location and try such subject headings as: Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, children’s literature, girls—books and reading, boys—books and reading, girls comic books, girls—conduct of life, girls—fiction, adventure story comic books, strips, etc, cookery, cookery [state], cookery [country], cookery [continent], cookery—early works to 1800.
Early English Books Online (EEBO) This link opens in a new window
**Now on the ProQuest interface**
EEBO, Early English Books Online, provides digital access to citations and facsimile full texts made from several microfilm sets. The works included were printed in England or other English-speaking places from the 1470s to 1700. The database may be searched by author, title, keywords, L.C. subject headings, imprint, date, type of illustration, film reel ID number, STC number, source library, language, or combination of these. There are browse indexes for authors' names, titles, and subject headings. Use these for best retrieval.
Some of the full text items in EEBO have been marked up so as to be searchable by individual words in their texts by the TCP, Text Creation Partnership Project, at the University of Michigan, which is supported by M.S.U. and other libraries. Use the EEBO TCP entry in MSU Libraries' Electronic Resources to access this version of the database. Here it is possible to enter modern spellings of words and retrieve words from ye olden days.
Not every item for which bibliographical details are present in EEBO has full text available here. In these cases, one must use the microfilm reel referred to in the entry by reel and position number. M.S.U. Libraries has the three microfilm sets mentioned: STC I, STC II, and the Thomason Tracts.
STC I (this is the call number) contains items printed up through 1640.
STC II (this is the call number) contains items printed from 1641-1700.
14458 (this is the call number) contains items in the Thomason Tracts, a set of broadsides from the English Civil War, 1640-1660.
The microforms are now located in the library's Remote Storage.
ESTC is a publicly available online bibliographical database containing library locations for the actual early printed works from the 1470s to 1800.
These are the printed bibliographies from which the film sets were made:
For help using EEBO contact Agnes Widder, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pollard and Redgrave, Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640, Consulting Reference Z 2002 .A27 c. 2 and oversize Z 2002 .A27 1976.
- Wing, Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English Books Printed in Other Countries, 1641-1700, Consulting Reference Z 2002 .W52 v. 1-3 and Main Z 2002 .W52 1994.
- Thomason Tracts, 1640-1661..., Main Z 2018 .T49 1981.
Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO) This link opens in a new window
Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) contains digital versions of 150,000 works published or printed from 1701-1800 in England, and other English-speaking places around the world (including the rest of the British Isles, the American colonies, and the early United States).
Look here to find full texts of primary source materials in history, geography, literature, language, religion, philosophy, social science, fine arts, music, architecture, medicine, science, technology, and law, as well as general reference works from the 18th century.
The database also includes works in other western European languages which were published or printed in England or other English-speaking places during this time.
Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans 1639-1800 This link opens in a new window
Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800 is the definitive resource for information about every aspect of life in 17th- and 18th-century America, from agriculture and auctions through foreign affairs, diplomacy, literature, music, religion, the Revolutionary War, temperance, witchcraft, and just about any other topic imaginable. This resource consists of more than 37,000 books, pamphlets, and broadsides.
Early American Imprints, Series I: Supplement from the Library Company of Philadelphia, 1670-1800 This link opens in a new window
Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans-the definitive resource for researching every aspect of 17th- and 18th-century America-has been dramatically expanded. From the acclaimed holdings of the Library Company of Philadelphia comes a broad range of recently uncovered books, pamphlets and broadsides, most of which were not included in either Charles Evans' monumental work or Roger Bristol's supplement. Printed during a 130-year period spanning the colonial era and the formation of the new nation, these nearly 1,000 rare and unique items represent a remarkable enrichment of the Readex digital edition of Early American Imprints.
Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819 This link opens in a new window
Covering every aspect of American life during the early decades of the United States, Early American Imprints, Series II (1801-1819) provides full-text access to the 36,000 American books, pamphlets and broadsides published in the first nineteen years of the nineteenth century. The continuation of Readex's Early American Imprints: Series I, this rich primary source database, based on the authoritative bibliography by Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker and now supplemented by thousands of new items, allows students and scholars to explore the development of the American nation as never before. Designed for researchers of varying skill levels, the intuitive interface of this long-awaited digital edition offers both simple and advanced searching as well as in-depth browsing within sixteen carefully indexed subject categories.
From Aaron Burr to Zebulon Pike, from abolitionism to Tippecanoe, this unique Web-based collection thoroughly chronicles the people, ideas and events behind the early political, social, cultural and geographic growth of the United States. Researchers can study the emergence of American arts and literature, follow the progression of American economic, religious and scientific thought, track the westward expansion, and much more. Specific topics covered include the Adams-Onis Treaty, Bible societies, canals, the Embargo Act, fur trade, Hartford Convention, Lewis & Clark expedition, Louisiana Purchase, nationalism, Panic of 1819, romanticism, Seminole War, Treaty of Ghent, 12th Amendment, U.S. Military Academy, War of 1812, widows and wives, and thousands of others. Also included are the works of many European authors reprinted for the American public.
In addition to its books, pamphlets and broadsides, this comprehensive collection features many state papers and government materials, including published reports; presidential letters and messages; congressional, state and territorial resolutions.
Early American Imprints, Series II: Supplement from the Library Company of Philadelphia, 1801-1819 This link opens in a new window
Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw- Shoemaker-the definitive resource for researching the opening decades of 19th-century America-has been dramatically expanded. From the acclaimed holdings of the Library Company of Philadelphia comes a broad range of recently uncovered books, pamphlets and broadsides, most of which were not included in Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker's American Bibliography. Printed during the Early Republic, spanning the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson and passage of the Indian Civilization Act, these nearly 1,000 rare and unique items represent a remarkable enrichment of the Readex digital edition of Early American Imprints.
Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker Supplement 2 From The American Antiquarian Society 1801-1819 This link opens in a new window
Books, pamphlets, and broadsides published during the early 19th century from the bibliography by Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker; Published in cooperation with the American Antiquarian Society
Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker Supplement 3 From The American Antiquarian Society 1801-1819 This link opens in a new window
Books, pamphlets, and broadsides published during the early 19th century from the bibliography by Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker; Published in cooperation with the American Antiquarian Society
Sabin Americana, 1500-1926 This link opens in a new window
Joseph Sabin’s Bibliotheca Americana: A Dictionary of Books Relating to America from Its Discovery to the Present Time has been heralded as a cornerstone in the study of the history of the Western Hemisphere. Gale’s Sabin Americana, 1500-1926 takes the works currently captured from that bibliography and makes them available online. These works are about the Americas, but published elsewhere.
Defining Gender (1450-1910) This link opens in a new window
Defining Gender, 1450-1910 provides access to a vast body of original British source material that will enrich the teaching and research experience of those studying history, literature, sociology and education from a gendered perspective.
Gender: Identity and Social Change This link opens in a new window
Contains primary sources documenting the changing representations and lived experiences of gender roles and relations from the 19th c. to the present, covering sources for the study of wmoen's suffrage, the feminist movement, the men's movement, employment, education, the body, the family, and government and politics. The materials come from Trinity College (Cambridge), Michigan State University Libraries (our own Special Collections), Hagley Museum (Delaware), Bryn Mawr College, Rylands Library (U. of Manchester), Mary Evans Picture Library (London), Glenbow Museum (Calgary), U. of Melbourne.
Church Missionary Society Periodicals, Modules I and II This link opens in a new window
From its roots as an Anglican evangelical movement driven by lay persons, this resource encompasses publications from the CMS and the latterly integrated South American Missionary Society. Documenting missionary work from the 19th to the 21st century, the periodicals include news, journals and reports offering a unique perspective on global history and cultural encounter.
Module I is comprised of periodicals published by the Church Missionary Society and South American Missionary Society from 1804-2009.
Module II contains periodicals and annual reports published by the Church Missionary Society and its auxiliaries, and the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society, from 1816-1986.
Documents are indexed by places (region, city, and mission station), countries, names and key search terms.
Eighteenth Century Journals, Part I-V This link opens in a new window
Eighteenth-Century Journals contains rare English journals printed between c1685 and 1815, illuminating all aspects of eighteenth-century social, political and literary life. Many are ephemeral, lasting only for a handful of issues, others run for several years. Topics covered are extremely wide-ranging and include: colonial life; provincial and rural affairs; the French and American revolutions; reviews of literature and fashion throughout Europe; political debates; and London coffee house gossip and discussion.
American Periodicals Series This link opens in a new window
"This database contains periodicals published between 1740 and 1940, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines and many other historically-significant periodicals."
Periodicals Archive Online This link opens in a new window
Periodicals Archive Online is the new name for PCI Full Text - an archive of hundreds of digitised journals published in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
It provides researchers with access to more than 200 years of scholarship, spread across a wide variety of subject areas.
Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals 1824-1900 This link opens in a new window
The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900 is an index to the most significant 45, British, 19th-century periodicals. Our access is through the C19: Nineteenth Century portal or gateway. Search results link to full-text articles in many, if not most, cases. To search in more periodicals try PIO/PAO, Periodicals Index Online.
The print set Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900 in hard copy (Main Z 2005 .H6) is a 5-volume work that provides tables of contents of these periodicals from 1824 to 1900. MSU Libraries owns about half of the periodicals covered in either hard copy (books) or microfilm/microfiche.
Victorian periodicals include book reviews, articles on current events, articles on governmental and foreign affairs, travel accounts, non-fiction topical articles, poetry, fiction (both short stories and whole novels, serialized), articles about scientific discoveries, reviews of theater and musical productions, and reviews of art exhibitions.
C19: The Nineteenth Century Index This link opens in a new window
C19: The Nineteenth Century Index is a gateway, or portal, into a variety of primary sources for 19th Century studies, especially of the British Isles. Each resource or database may also be accessed/searched individually in the Electronic Resources pages: Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals,1824-1900,American Periodicals Series, Periodicals Index Online, NSTC, House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, Palmer's Index to the Times, Archives USA, U.S Congressional Serial Set. Results of searches in the Times newspaper, 1800-1870 link to full-text, as do most searches in Wellesley Index, APS, PIO, and House of Commons Parliamentary Papers. For results from NSTC searches, use our online catalog to see if we own the book.
New York Times (1851-2008)
Covers politics, society, events. Search by topic or by date. Limit results by type of material, such as advertisements, classified ads, editorials, letters to editor, front page articles, obituaries, birth, or marriage notices, stand alone photos, legal notices, etc.
Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers This link opens in a new window
Over 400 U.S. newspapers, published between 1800 and 1900. Papers selected cover a broad spectrum, with a comprehensive geographical and chronological range. Also includes commissioned scholarly essays on topics and events such as the Confederacy, immigration, and elections.
Times Digital Archive, 1785 - 2019 This link opens in a new window
Researchers can search through the complete digital edition of The Times (London), using keyword searching and hit-term highlighting to retrieve full facsimile images of either a specific article or a complete page. The entire newspaper is captured, with all articles, advertisements, and illustrations/photos divided into categories to facilitate searching. For online access to the London Times 12006 onwards, check the online catalog using a periodical title search for Times. It is available via a number of indexing providers: Infotrac and others. It is also available on microfilm in the PRR/Microforms unit.
Sunday Times Historical Archive, 1822-2016 This link opens in a new window
Sunday edition of the London Times from 1822-2016, one of the world's most important English language newspapers. For the daily edition see Times Digital Archive 1785-2019, another electronic resource.
British Newspapers 1600-1950 This link opens in a new window
Indexing and links to full texts of newspaper articles in London and English provincial newspapers. Also covers a few Continental newspapers.
North American Women's Letters and Diaries This link opens in a new window
When complete, North American Women's Letters and Diaries will be the largest collection of women's diaries and correspondence ever assembled. Spanning more than 300 years, it will bring the personal experiences of 1,500 women to researchers, students, and general readers.
British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries This link opens in a new window
British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries includes the immediate experiences of approximately 500 women, as revealed in over 100,000 pages of diaries and letters. Particular care has been taken to index this material so that it can be searched more thoroughly than ever before. The collection now includes primary materials spanning more than 300 years. Each source has been carefully chosen using leading bibliographies. The collection also includes biographies and an extensive annotated bibliography of the sources in the database.
North American Slave Narratives
North American Slave Narratives is a collection of more than 250 memoirs, autobiographies, & narratives from individuals who were slaves. These firsthand accounts describe the conditions of slavery and a number of slave escapes to freedom. Courtesy of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600 - 2000 This link opens in a new window
Women and Social Movements is intended to serve as a resource for students and scholars of U.S. history and U.S. women's history. Organized around the history of women in social movements in the U.S. between 1700 and 2000, the website seeks to advance scholarly debates and understanding at the same time that it makes the insights of women's history accessible to teachers and students at universities, colleges, and high schools. The database includes more than 25,000 pages of documents pertaining to Women and Social Movements, a dictionary of social movements and organizations, a chronology of U.S. women's history, and teaching tools with lesson ideas and document-based questions related to the website's document projects
Women and Social Movements International: 1840 to Present This link opens in a new window
Women and Social Movements International: 1840 to Present provides full-text access to primary source materials collected from over 300 repositories. Sources cover a wide range of subject themes, including (among many others) gender and agriculture, gender and international economic development, gender and global human rights, women and global political activism, and international family planning.
Gerritsen Women's History Collection of Aletta H. Jacobs This link opens in a new window
This definitive cross-cultural resource for information on women's history contains material published from 1543-1945 in the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand, and Continental Europe. It includes 265 periodical titles and over 4,400 monographs and pamphlets. Most materials are in English, although there is also a significant number of items in German and French.
London Low Life This link opens in a new window
London Low Life is a full-text searchable resource, containing colour digital images of rare books, ephemera, maps and other materials relating to 18th, 19th and early 20th century London. It is designed for both teaching and study, from undergraduate to research students and beyond.
In addition to the digital documents, London Low Life contains a wealth of secondary resources, including a chronology, interactive maps, essays, online galleries and links to other useful websites.
Migration to New Worlds This link opens in a new window
Migration to New Worlds explores the movement of peoples from Great Britain, Ireland, mainland Europe and Asia to the New World and Australasia. Split across two modules, and including collections from 26 archives, libraries and museums, Migration to New Worlds brings together the movement and memories of millions across two centuries of mass migration.
Migration to New Worlds: The Century of Immigration concentrates on the period 1800 to 1924 and covers all aspects of the migration experience, from motives and departures to arrival and permanent settlement.
New! Migration to New Worlds: The Modern Era begins with the activities of the New Zealand Company during the 1840s and presents thousands of unique original sources focusing on the growth of colonisation companies during the nineteenth century, the activities of immigration and welfare societies, and the plight of refugees and displaced persons throughout the twentieth century as migrants fled their homelands to escape global conflict.
Children and Youth in History
Children and Youth in History website is designed to help researchers learn about young people throughout history by providing access to information about the lived experiences of children and youth from multiple perspectives as well as changing notions about childhood and adolescence in past cultures and civilizations. Contains a primary Source Database with 200 resources along with guidance on how to use those sources critically and tools for annotating and organizing the sources.
History of Science, Women and Health Microfilm 28950-- 23 reels Remote Storage
Drawn from History of Women and the European Women's Periodical Collections. Guide in Microcopy Guides Section HQ 1180 .H58 2000. To get it from Remote Storage, do a call number search in Books and Media. Enter the call number like this: 28950 Microfilm. In the entry there will be a place to click "Get This". Fill out the form to have film brought to the Main Library.
Women's Autobiographies from Cambridge University Library 28973 -- 22 reels Remote Storage
Guide in Microcopy Guides at CT 3230 .W66 2004. Details the lives, thoughts, and relationships of women from different social backgrounds in England, Scotland, Wales, USA, and France. This project gives an insight into women's place in society, domestically and publicly, for the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Part 2 provides accounts and recollections of family history, differing regional cultures, childhood memoirs, inequality of education, different types of work undertaken by women and the wages received, women as voluntary workers and women's aspirations. To get it from Remote Storage, do a call number search in Books and Media. Enter the call number like this: 28973 Microfilm. In the entry there will be a place to click "Get This". Fill out the form to have film brought to the Main Library.