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A primary source is a work that was written [created] at a time that is contemporary or nearly contemporary with the period or subject being studied. Primary sources are the direct evidence or first hand accounts of historical events without secondary analysis or interpretation. Some examples of primary sources include diaries, letters, memos, photographs, records of organizations, articles written at the time about a particular event, and artifacts (art, buildings, furniture, clothing, toys, tools, etc.).
· Primary Sources in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Selected List of Primary Sources Available Online
Scholars in the humanities have access to more and more content available in digital format. UBC Library has purchased many of these databases rich in primary resources and continues to expand its holdings in this area. For example, try searching adam matthew or alexander street press under Indexes and databases.
Twentieth Century North American Drama
wentieth Century North American Drama contains 2,000 plays from the United States and Canada. In addition to providing a comprehensive full-text resource for researchers in the performing arts, the collection offers a unique window into the economic, historical, social, and political psyche of two countries. Scholars and students who use the database will have a new way to study the signal events of the twentieth century including the Depression, the role of women, the Cold War, and more through the plays and performances of writers who lived through these decades.
More than 1800 works by over 500 named authors and over 300 anonymous works, from the Shrewsbury Fragments of the late 13th century through the Elizabethan and Jacobean period to the end of the 19th century.
North American Women's Drama
Covers contemporary drama, including the works of performance artists and includes 19th c melodramas and topics from domestic entrapment to life on the frontier to the Underground Railroad, the campaign for voting rights, including propaganda plays, as well as the growing crusade for women's access to higher education and inclusion in various professions.
North American Indian Drama
includes the full text of more than 256 plays by 49 playwrights. Many of the works are rare, hard-to-find, or out of print. Nearly a quarter of the collection will consist of previously unpublished plays.
Asian American Drama
Represents the various ethnicities within the Asian American community. Along with many works by writers of Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Chinese descent, the collection includes plays by writers of Hawaiian, Indian, Thai, Korean, Persian, and Malaysian ancestry.
Black Drama : 1850 to present
Full text of 1,200 plays written from the mid-1800s to the present by more than 150 playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African diaspora countries.
Shakespeare / Editions and Adaptations of Shakespeare
Includes eleven major editions from the First Folio to the Cambridge edition of 1863-66; 24 original printings of individual plays; selected apocryphal plays; over 100 adaptations, sequels and burlesques.
Early English Books Online (EEBO)
Provides digital access to facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700 - from the first book printed in English by William Caxton, through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War.
Literary Manuscripts: 17th and 18th Century Poetry from the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds
This resource offers complete facsimile images of 190 manuscripts of 17th and 18th century verse held in the celebrated Brotherton Collection at the University of Leeds.
Literary Manuscripts: Victorian Manuscripts from the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of The New York Public Library
Manuscripts from a broad range of authors including Matthew Arnold, The Brontës, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Wilkie Collins, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin, Alfred Tennyson, and William Makepeace Thackeray make this an essential research tool for all scholars and students researching Victorian literature.
Perdita Manuscripts: Women Writers, 1500-1700
The manuscripts in this site were written or compiled by women in the British Isles during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and they have been sourced from archives and libraries across the United Kingdom and the United States.
Defining gender, 1450-1910
The collection features 110 documents (books and periodicals) from the early modern period to the nineteenth century. Supporting material includes introductory essays, biographies, and chronologies. Key topics covered are: Conduct & Politeness, Domesticity & the Family, Consumption & Leisure, Education & Sensibility, and The Body.
British Literary Manuscripts
British Literary Manuscripts Online presents facsimile images of literary manuscripts, including letters and diaries, drafts of poems, plays, novels, and other literary works, and similar materials.
The Parker Library's holdings of Old English texts account for a substantial proportion of all extant manuscripts in Anglo-Saxon, including the earliest copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (c. 890), unique copies of Old English poems and other texts, and King Alfred's translation of Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care. The Parker Library also contains key Anglo-Norman and Middle English texts ranging from the Ancrene Wisse and the Brut Chronicle to one of the finest copies of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. Other subjects represented in the collection are theology, music, medieval travelogues and maps, apocalypses, bestiaries, royal ceremonies, historical chronicles and Bibles.
The Library has an excellent collection of full-text newspapers which provide researchers with quick access to historical newspaper articles. For a complete listing of newspapers, see the guide: Newspapers and News Sources.