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World History Primary Sources  

Last Updated: Oct 17, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Be sure to start your research in the databases.

Go to the SJS US Library Resources page and use the following databases:

Discovery Search

Gale World History In Context

Fordham (website)

ABC-CLIO World History: Ancient

Salem Press Defining Documents


History Study Center


    Sacred Texts

    • Internet Sacred Texts
      Archive of primary texts relating to all major world religions and many other spiritual practices, including all major scriptures.
    • Monastic Matrix
      Excellent site dedicated to the study of women's religious communities from 400 to 1600CE. Includes a separate section of primary sources, which can be browsed by title/author/community/region/century.
    • Baylor - Primary Source Material in Religion and Politics
      Primary source documents on issues relating to the interaction of religion and politics, categorized by era from ancient times to the present.

    After Checking Databases check additional websites for Primary Sources

    • *Fordham University - Internet History Sourcebooks Project
      This is the place to start. Huge collections of well-organized primary texts, divided into: Ancient History, East Asian History, Global History, History of Science, Indian History, Jewish History, Medieval History, and Women's History
    • Epistolae: Medieval Women's Letters
      "Epistolæ is a collection of letters to and from women in the Middle Ages, from the 4th to the 13th century. The letters, written in Latin, are linked to the names of the women involved, with English translations and, where available, biographical sketches of the women and some description of the subject matter or the historic context of the letter."
    • *EyeWitness to History
      Your ringside seat to history - from the Ancient World to the present. History through the eyes of those who lived it
    • *World History Matters
    • Florilegium Urbanum
      Presents a selection of primary source texts illustrative of various aspects of medieval urban life. Texts are grouped under four headings: community, economy, government and lifecycle.
    • *World Digital Library
      Collection of manuscripts, books and visual resources. Select a date range of interest, then use limiters to focus your search.
    • Best History Sites
      Collection of websites to use for background information and links.
    • English Medieval Legal Documents A.D. 600-A.D 1535
      A "collaborative database on the published sources of English medieval legal documents." Links to online sources are provided when available.
    • De Re Militari
      Primary (and secondary) sources on medieval and renaissance military history. Includes the Crusades, Hundred Years' War, Anglo-Norman Warfare, and the Vikings and Norse.
    • World History Time Line
      Bringing together daily life, history, art, music, literature
      philosophy, religion, mythology, science, technology,
      world changing discoveries, important battles, great people and key events across centuries, countries and continents
    • Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies*
      Provides subject-oriented links to other websites offering primary sources of the medieval period and provides connections to databases, services, texts, and images around the world.
    • Medieval Women Scriptorium
      Collection of texts and images of medieval women.
    • Monsoon Winds to the Land of Gold
      Primary sources related to the trading networks and geographic factors that influenced the maritime spice trade from Southeast Asia to the Roman Empire and Han China during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE.
    • Silk Road Narratives: A Collection of Historical Texts
      Part of our Silk Road Seattle Project is to make available interesting historical sources which may be used in teaching and learning about the Silk Road.
    • Project Gutenberg
      Project Gutenberg offers over 50,000 free ebooks
    • Avalon Project - Yale University
      This is a digital library of documents in the areas of law, history, and diplomacy. Coverage is from ancient times to the 21st Century. Links within the digitized text link to related documents.
    • Euro Docs
      Online Sources for European History
      Selected Transcriptions, Facsimiles and Translations
    • History Channel
      Search History by topic.
    • Hyper History
    • Perseus Digital Libraries
      Primary and secondary sources, both texts and images, pertaining mostly to ancient Greece and Rome.
    • Asia for educators
      Primary Sources from Asia.
    • Middle Tennessee State -
      Teaching with Primary Sources
    • *National History Day
      National History Day--this site recommended many more additional websites for primary sources.

    Searching Tips

    Search terms to aide in finding source material: do a keyword search for your topic and add one of the words below as a second keyword: 

    • correspondence

    • diaries

    • interviews

    • manuscripts

    • narratives

    • sources

    • speeches

    • letters

    • documents

    Sweet Search Engine

    Sweet Search - Designed for Student Research

    Google Scholar

    Google Search


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