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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

History: US Primary Sources

This guide will direct you to useful research sources and tools for Historical Research

Census Records

THe Bethlehem Public Library makes available a database called HERITAGE QUEST. This product provides a searchable database for the images of the Census Enumerator records from 1790 through 1930.This allows you to search over 25,000 family and local histories.  Users must have a Bethlehem library card account. Lehigh students are eligible for public library cards. Visit their website and search for Heritage Quest on the list of reference databases.

Other PA libraries may also make this source available. Check your local library.

U. S. National Archives

U.S. Government Reports as Primary Sources

Primary Sources Databases

Finding Primary Sources in the popular literature of the day: You may be able to find articles, speeches, and personal accounts that qualify as primary sources in the magazines, newspapers and popular literature of the day. Lehigh's library also makes available a significant number of online sources that provide the searchable full text of historic materials and publications. These resources are for use by the Lehigh Community only. Be sure to look at the Newspaper tab in this guide for other resources.

Primary Sources on the Web

Libraries, Archives, Museums and other institutions are digitizing enormous amounts of primary source materials from their collections and making them freely available on the internet. It is always useful to conduct a web search, using Google or other search tools to locate primary sources.

Archives and Manuscript Collections

Featured Resources

Haithi Trust

A great source to use if you are looking for books published before 1924 is HathiTrust. Over a million books (also some magazines and Parliamentary Papers) free of copyright are available full-text and can be downloaded as pdfs. Plus you can search through the entire text to find the information you seek.

The Advanced Catalog Search provides options to search for specific titles, authors and keywords and to limit your search by fulltext availability (full view only) and publication date.

Hathi Trust's collection includes books published in Britain, the United States and other countries.