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History: Primary Sources

In this guide, you will find a lot of History resources, from databases to books.

Local Resources

CSUEB University Libraries Archives "The University Archives collects, preserves, and makes available records that document the institutional history and memory of California State University, East Bay. The archives supports the educational and research goals of the university." 

CSUEB University Libraries Special Collections "The Special Collections at CSUEB are home to early printed volumes, original letters by great authors, papers documenting the history of our region, and much, much more. Rare photographs, fine press materials, and unique items can all be found within the University Library’s collections."

Hayward Area Historical Society "Research and Archives holds archival material related to the Hayward area (Hayward, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Fairview, Ashland and Cherryland) as well as some information on the broader Bay Region and California. Types of materials include: business records, magazines, maps, newspapers, records from local organizations, personal papers, photographs, school yearbooks, scrapbooks, telephone books, city directories, general history and reference books, pamphlet files and some oral histories."

Oakland History Room (Oakland Public Library) "The Oakland History Room is an important center for the study of the history and current development of the East Bay. Its collection contains a wide variety of materials relating to the history of Oakland and the larger Bay Area, including books, magazines, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, photographs, postcards, sheet music, trade catalogs, and scrapbooks."

Berkeley Historical Society "The Berkeley Historical Society, founded in the summer of 1978 from the ad-hoc Berkeley Centennial Celebration Committee, is a non-profit group dedicated to researching, preserving and sharing Berkeley’s history. Through lectures and exhibits an appreciation for the uniqueness of the city and the diversity of cultures that comprise the rich mosaic of Berkeley has been fostered and recognized." 

Getting Started

Primary sources are the evidence of history by eyewitnesses or people very close to events. This includes everything from letters to photographs to government documents, depending on your topic. You can search the CSUEB library catalog by combining your subject (e.g. Hayward) with a kind of evidence (e.g. diary).

UC Berkeley has a very good page on what primary sources are and how to find them; very useful if the CSUEB libraries do not have what you are seeking!

Online Archive of California is part of the UCB Digital Library project.  Provides links to other digital projects such as:  American Heritage Virtual Archive, California Heritage Collection, Free Speech Movement Collections, Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive, and the Museums in the Online Archive of California.

Calisphere Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 200,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations across California.

Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) A research program of the University of California, Berkeley, working within The Bancroft Library. ROHO conducts, teaches, analyzes, and archives oral and video history documents in a broad variety of subject areas critical to the history of California and the United States.

California Digital Newspaper Collection The California Digital Newspaper Collection contains over 400,000 pages of significant historical California newspapers published from 1846-1922, including the first California newspaper, the Californian, and the first daily California newspaper, the Daily Alta California. It also contains issues of several current California newspapers that are part of a pilot project to preserve and provide access to contemporary papers.

California Heritage Collection, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley Online archive of more than 30,000 images illustrating California's history and culture, from the collections of the Bancroft Library. Selected from nearly two hundred individual collections, this unique resource uses the latest online archiving techniques to highlight the rich themes of California's history.

 

Other Sources

The Library of Congress' page on Finding Primary Sources provides information onhow to use the thousands of resources in their digital collections. Many of their resources can be used freely, with attribution/citation.

American Colonist's Library
Primary source documents pertaining to early American history.

AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History
Provides links to documents by date (from 800 to 2005).

EURODOCS: Online Sources for Eurporean History
Provides links to documents ("Selected transcriptions, facsimiles, oand translations).

National Archives (San Francisco) "The holdings of the National Archives at San Francisco include over 70,000 cubic feet of original records dating from the 1850s to the 1980s, with a limited number of records as recent as the early 2000s. These records were generated by the Federal courts and more than 100 Federal agency field offices." 

Perseus Digital Library Their goal is to "... make the full record of humanity - linguistic sources, physical artifacts, historical spaces - as intellectually accessible as possible to every human being, regardless of linguistic or cultural background." Subject areas include: the Greco-Roman world, classical Greek and Latin, Early modern English, the American Civil War, the History and Topography of London, and the History of Mechanics.