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Native American Studies: Search Newspapers & Magazines

Advice on Searching for Primary Sources

First, don't restrict yourself to library databases. Primary source collections are often found free online, depending on the subject you are researching.

Second, when you use library databases you will get limited results if you try to search for "primary sources" because the Library of Congress does not use that subject heading. If a "Primary Sources" category is not available (JSTOR provides one that is very useful!) Try searching these subject headings instead:

  • sources
  • personal narratives
  • documents
  • speeches
  • memoirs or autobiographies
  • diaries
  • letters or correspondences
  • oral histories

SOME ADVICE ON AUTOBIOGRAPHIES:  You will get limited results searching for the word "autobiography" since the Library of Congress does not use that subject heading.  Try searching for "biography" but then look to make sure that the author is also listed as a subject. That is your clue that the person is writing about him or herself, and that is a primary source.

DOCUMENTARY HISTORIES:  There are collections of documents relating to various subjects, such as Agriculture in the United States: A Documentary History.  Search WorldCat or IDS for these by typing your subject along with the phrase "documentary history" in quotes. 

DOCUMENTARY FILMS:  Be wary of "documentaries" (films) because sometimes they are primary sources but sometimes they provide analysis that is secondary.

PUBLICATION DATES:  Be aware that publication dates can be misleading. A new edition of a book published in 1952 is still a primary source even though its publication date is 2009.  Look for a books original publication date, which is usually listed as well.

Newspapers/Magazines from the 18th & 19th Century

Decorative Element

Newspapers & Magazines from Pre-18th Century 

Decorative Element


There were newspapers and broadsheets published before 1700; most of them can be found reprinted in books or online. Do a search in IDS Search using your topic and terms like documents, sources, publications, articles, periodicals, newspapers. Try GoogleBooks as well.