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Spanish Language, Literature and Culture

What are Primary Sources?

In the humanities, a primary source could be defined as something that was created either during the time period being studied or afterward by individuals reflecting on their involvement in the events of that time.

 Formats of Primary Sources

  • Personal records or documents: diaries, journals, letters, manuscripts, speeches, emails, blog posts, and papers
  • Autobiographies and memoirs
  • Government documents and records, proceedings & meeting minutes, internal memos
  • Published materials: books, magazine and journal articles, reports, blog posts, wiki entries, newspaper articles written at the time
  • Visual Materials/Creative Works: photographs, paintings, sculptures, films, video recordings, plays, scripts
  • Artifacts: physical objects from that time, such as clothes, furniture, toys, and buildings

 Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalogue

Try a keyword search in the library catalogue combining your subject with words that identify a particular genre:

  • correspondence, letters, papers
  • diaries, journals, manuscripts
  • personal narratives, oral histories
  • interviews, transcripts
  • sources
  • travel writing, travelogue

Digital Collections


  • Archives Unbound -  diverse range of topically-focused collections of historical documents in digital format. Collections of interest to Hispanic Studies scholars include: 
    • Feminism in Cuba: nineteenth through twentieth century
    • La guerra civil Española
    • Sur , 1931-1991 : SUR, one of the most important and influential literary magazines published in Latin America in the twentieth century, is now available as a full-text searchable, digital archive. SUR, 1931-1991 contains images of the complete run of the magazine - including covers, photographs and advertisements.
  • Biblioteca Virtual de Prensa Histórica - digital archives of historic Spanish newspapers, newsletters, and journals
  • LIBRO: Library of Iberian Resources Online - texts & sources in translation on peninsular history from the 5th to 17th centuries.
  • The European Digital Library - digitized materials from National Libraries across Europe, including the Biblioteca Nacional de España
  • Latino Literature: Poetry, Drama, and Fiction - Full text of novels, short stories, poetry, and plays. About 25% is in Spanish.


Siglo de Oro

Latin America

  • Sabin Americana, 1500-1926
    Based on Joseph Sabin's landmark bibliography, this collection contains works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900's. Included are books, pamphlets, serials and other documents that provide original accounts of exploration, trade, colonialism, slavery and abolition, the western movement, First Nations, military actions and much more. 


  • European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750
    A comprehensive guide to printed records about the Americas written in Europe before 1750. Covers the history of European exploration as well as portrayals of native American peoples. A wide range of subject areas are covered; from natural disasters to disease outbreaks and slavery.


  • Confidential Print: Latin America, 1833-1969
    The Confidential Print series, issued by the British Government between c. 1820 and 1970, is a fundamental building block for political, social and economic research. Preserves important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices, ranging from single-page letters or telegrams to comprehensive dispatches, investigative reports and texts of treaties. 
    This collection consists of the Confidential Print for Central and South America and the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Topics covered include slavery and the slave trade, immigration, relations with indigenous peoples, wars and territorial disputes, the fall of the Brazilian monarchy, British business and financial interests, industrial development, the building of the Panama Canal.


  • Confidential Print: North America, 1824-1961
    This collection consists of the Confidential Print for the United States, Canada and the English-speaking Caribbean, with some coverage of Central and South America, and covers such topics as slavery, Prohibition, the First and Second World Wars, racial segregation, territorial disputes, the League of Nations, McCarthyism and the nuclear bomb. The bulk of the material covers the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century.


Spain 1936 - present

For more, see the Spain: 1936 to the Present section of the EuroDocs: Online Sources for European History portal.