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HIS410 U.S. History, Antebellum and Civil War 1830-1865: Primary Sources

Types of Primary Sources

  • Autobiography
  • Diaries/Journals
  • Letters
  • Speeches
  • Government Documents
  • Magazines/Newspaper Articles
  • Manuscripts
  • Treaties

Primary Sources in Reference Books

Primary Sources in Library Databases

Internet Primary Sources

Abraham Lincoln Papers – Library of Congress – An extensive collection of Lincoln's incoming and outgoing correspondence, drafts of speeches, and notes.

African-American Mosaic: Abolition – Library of Congress – Antislavery petitions and other sources that document the struggle to abolish slavery.

American Slave Narratives – University of Virginia – An online anthology of interviews conducted with former slaves, who describe their experiences on plantations, in cities, and on small farms. [Note: the Library has a complete collection of these narratives on microfilm]

Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877 – Library of Congress – A selection of interviews, photos, and maps that provide an overview of the North and the South in the Civil War and the life of the soldier.

Civil War in the American South – Association of Southeastern Research Libraries – Primary sources.

Civil War Women – Duke University – Profiles of three Civil War-era women through their diaries and papers.

Documenting the American South – University of North Carolina – Thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, letters, oral history interviews, and songs that highlight southern history, literature, and culture. One of the collections features the Southern homefront during the Civil War.

The Valley of the Shadow – University of Virginia – An extensive archive of sources depicting two communities, one Northern and one Southern, at the time of the Civil War; includes newspapers, letters, diaries, photographs, maps, and census records.