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Start your Research with Library Databases

History Reference Center (EBSCO)

U.S. and world history from over 1600 reference books, encyclopedias and non-fiction books; history periodicals and documents, biographies, photos, maps and video.

World History in Context

Global history reference and scholarly articles, primary sources, images, maps and charts.

U.S. History in Context

A complete overview of America's past that covers the most-studied events, decades, conflicts, wars, political and cultural movements, and people.

Daily Life Through History (US & World)

Social history database focusing on day-to-day lives of ordinary people, past and present. Includes thousands of sources including primary sources, illustrations and maps.


Full-text archives of 1400 scholarly journals in the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences.

American Mosaic (ABC-CLIO databases cross-search)

The American Mosaic allows cross-searching of ABC-CLIO databases: Daily Life through History, Pop Culture Universe, The African American Experience, The Latino American Experience, and The American Indian Experience.

Find Books & eBooks

World History Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia of World History
The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome
American History, Race and the Struggle for Equality: An Unfinished Journey
Revolts, protests, demonstrations, and rebellions in American history: an encyclopedia
The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History.
An African American and Latinx history of the United States
Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs : A Popular History of Ancient Egypt
With Amusement for All : A History of American Popular Culture Since 1830
How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll : An Alternative History of American Popular Music
A Brief History of Mexico

Watch Films

History in Video

U.S. and world history documentaries, commercial and government newsreels, public affairs and archival footage.

American History in Video

Largest collection of video online for the study of American history; 1479 video titles, including documentaries from PBS and archival footage.

60 Minutes Archive (1997-2014)

The 60 MINUTES: 1997–2014 collection provides access to the CBS News archives streaming video.

History: Films on Demand

Educational films and documentaries grouped into subject-specific categories.

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are documents, images, recordings, or any other physical objects created during the time period being researched.  They are essential to the study of history because they allow a researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during a historical event or time period. 

In the field of History, primary sources include (but are not limited to):

  • Books written during the period for your topic (e.g. during the 1780s)
  • Books written by key participants of an event
  • Published collections of correspondence and other personal writings
  • Memoirs and reprints of primary source material
  • Newspapers from the time (these provide a first rough draft of events)
  • Popular magazines from the time  (news, fashion, sports, etc.)
  • Official government publications from the time
  • Manuscript material such as unpublished letters, diaries and organizational and company records
  • Photographs, drawings, and other images from the time
  • Works of art and artifacts from the time
  • Maps from the time

Secondary sources are created by someone who did not personally experience first-hand or participate in the events or conditions being researched.  Instead secondary sources interpret and analyzes primary sources. 

Some common types of secondary sources in the field of History are:

  • Textbooks
  • Journal articles
  • Histories
  • Criticisms
  • Commentaries
  • Encyclopedias

Search Databases for Primary Sources

American Civil War: Letters and Diaries

Civil war era diaries, letters and memoirs of over 2000 authors, including politicians, slaves, landowners, and wives.

American Revolution

Digital archive documenting the American revolution and war, from protests in 1765 through the peace treaty of 1783.


High-quality images for the study of art history, architecture, world culture & history, archaeology, fashion, photography and more.

Daily Life Through History (US & World)

Social history database focusing on day-to-day lives of ordinary people, past and present.

Gale Primary Sources

Gale Primary Sources cross-searches four collections: Archives of Sexuality & Gender; Indigenous Peoples: North America; Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers; The Times Digital Archive.

Sabin Americana, 1500–1926

A primary source archive exploring the first 400 years of America.

Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online

Letters & diaries and other personal histories from U.S., Canada, Britain & Ireland.

Latino American Experience: The American Mosaic

The first-ever database dedicated to the history and culture of Latinos in the United States.

American Indian Experience: The American Mosaic

A full-text digital resource covering the histories and contemporary cultures of the indigenous peoples of the United States.

African American Experience: The American Mosaic

A full-text digital resource exploring the history and culture of African Americans, as well as the greater Black Diaspora. Includes a wealth of primary sources.

Women's Studies Archive: Women's Issues and Identities

A primary source archive focusing on the social, political, and professional achievements of women throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century.

World Scholar: Latin America and The Caribbean

World Scholar: Latin America and The Caribbean is a new resource for regional studies, combining primary and secondary sources.

19th Century US Newspapers

19th century, full-text content and images from numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S.

Find Books & eBooks about California & San Diego History

San Diego Yesterday
Surfing in San Diego
Chicano San Diego
Sacred Sites: the secret history of southern California (eBook on EBSCOhost)
Married to a Daughter of the Land: Spanish-Mexican women and interethnic marriage in California, 1820-1880 (eBook on EBSCOhost)
The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War
Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican women, unionization, and the California food processing industry, 1930-1950 (eBook on EBSCOhost)
1500 California Place names - Their Origins and Meaning
Historical Atlas of California - With Original Maps
Major Problems in California History: Documents and Essays
California: A History
California Prehistory: Colonization, Culture, and Complexity (eBook via EBSCOhost)
Grave Matters : Excavating California's Buried Past
Raza Sí, Migra No: Chicano Movement Struggles for Immigrant Rights in San Diego
California Through Native Eyes
Material Dreams: Southern California through the 1920's
The Golden State in the Civil War: Thomas Starr King, the Republican party, and the birth of modern California
Contest for California: from Spanish colonization to the American conquest