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Primary Sources for the Humanities: Global

If you need help, please contact Baharak Yousefi, Librarian for History, International Studies, Liberal Studies, & Political Science at 778.782.5033 or or Ask a librarian.

General resources

The Avalon Project
An excellent resource managed by Yale Law Library. Contains digitized historical documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government.

Digital National Security Archive
Created in collaboration with the National Security Archive, this database contains the most comprehensive set of declassified government documents covering all critical world events from post World War II through the 21st century.

Electronic Text Center - University of Virginia Libraries
The Electronic Text Center's holdings include approximately 70,000 on- and off-line humanities texts in many languages, and hundreds of thousands of images, including book illustrations, covers, manuscripts, newspaper pages, museum objects, etc.).

Empire Online
A collection of over 70,000 images of original manuscripts and printed material, 1492-1969, taken from libraries and archives around the world, including Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Oceania, and South Asia.

Ethnographic Video Online
The largest, most comprehensive resource for the study of human culture and behavior – more than 750 hours and 1,000 films. The collection covers every region of the world and features the work of many of the most influential documentary filmmakers of the 20th century, including interviews, previously unreleased raw footage, field notes, study guides, and more.

Google News Archive

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports 1974-1996
Translated transcripts of foreign broadcasts and news from around the world.

History: Military - Primary Sources
A research guide to primary and secondary sources for military history from the University of Washington Libraries. The site includes links to primary sources for both World Wars, The American Civil War, and the Vietnam War.

Making of the Modern World
Images from 61,000 works of literature on economics and business published from 1450 through 1850. Includes facsimiles of rare books and primary source materials such as political pamphlets and broadsides, government publications, proclamations, and a wide range of ephemera.

Medieval Travel Writing
A collection of medieval manuscripts from libraries around the world and dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries. The main focus is accounts of journeys to the Holy Land, India and China.

Periodical Archives Online
An online archive of digitized, full-image journal articles that offers unprecedented access to international, scholarly literature in the humanities and social sciences disciplines from 1802-1995. 

David Rumsey Map Collection
This collection of over 28,000 items focuses on rare 18th and 19th century North American and South American maps and cartographic materials. Historic maps of the World, Europe, Asia, and Africa are also represented.

Repositories of Primary Sources
A listing of over 5000 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, photographs, and other primary sources.

Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice, 1490-2007
This resource brings together primary source documents from archives and libraries across the Atlantic world, including original manuscripts and rare printed material on trans-Atlantic slavery and abolition.

Smithsonian Global Sound
Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries is an online encyclopedia of the world's musical and aural traditions. The collection includes over 35,000 recordings owned by the non-profit Smithsonian Folkways Recordings label and the archival audio collections of the legendary Folkways Records, Cook, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk, Monitor, Paredon and other labels.

World Art Treasures
A collection of 100,000 images devoted to art, from the collection of Jacques-Edouard Berger (1945-1993), a leader of cultural trips to Europe, Egypt, Near and Far East, and the United states.

World War I Document Archive
An online archive of primary documents from World War I with an international focus.


Africa - World Digital Library
A collection of over 150 African primary sources including documents, photographs, maps, and books.

History: Africa - Primary Sources
A research guide to primary and secondary sources in African history from the University of Washington Libraries. The site is organized into regions (West Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, and Central Africa) and also includes country specific resources. The collection includes photographs, sound recordings, raw data about the slave trade, and letters.

Internet African History Sourcebook
An African history portal with links to both primary and secondary sources.

Sub-Saharan African History
This University of Washington Libraries website provides access to various African primary source collections.

Stanford University's Africa (South of the Sahara) Primary Source Research Guide
This Stanford University Library website is a very rich resource for primary documents relating to African History.


America, Asia and the Pacific - Meiji Japan
Papers of Edward Sylvester Morse documenting life in 19th century Japan before it was transformed by Western modernization.

China: Trade, Politics and Culture, 1793-1980
Manuscript material relating to activities and observations of individuals from the UK and US in China from 1793-1980, together with rare periodicals, colour paintings, maps, photographs and drawings.

Foreign Office Files for China 1949-1980
This resource includes the complete British Foreign Office Files dealing with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan between 1949-1980.

Harrison Brown Collection
Harrison Brown (1893-1977) was a freelance journalist, writing for The Evening Standard, The New Chronicle, The New Statesman, and the Fortnightly Review between the World Wars. This resource features a collection of photographs taken during Brown's extensive trip through Scandinavia, the USSR, Japan, Korea, and China in 1936-37.

History: Asia - Primary Sources
A research guide to primary and secondary sources in Asian history from the University of Washington Libraries.The site is organized into regions (East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia) and by country.

Hong Kong Handover Collection
This extensive collection focuses on the handover of Hong Kong's sovereignty in 1997. Included in the approximately 15,000 pages of digitized content are books, academic papers, original art works, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, ephemeral materials documenting the handover ceremony, photographs, and government documents.

People's Daily
Online access to the People's Daily, China's most authoritative newspaper. Coverage spans May 1946-present.

Komagata Maru: Continuing the Journey
A collection of primary material and educational resources on South Asian immigration to Canada created by SFU Library.

Latin America

Digital Collections: Latin America (Getty Research Institute)
A collection of Latin American primary sources, with a focus on the visual arts, from The Getty Research Institute.

dLOC - Digital Library of the Caribbean
A cooperative digital library for resources from and about the Caribbean. dLOC provides access to digitized versions of Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials held in archives, libraries, and private collections.

History: Latin America - Primary Sources
A research guide to primary and secondary sources for Latin American history from the University of Washington Libraries.The site is organized into regions including Mexico, Central America, South America, and Caribbean.

Latin America and the Caribbean - World Digital Library
A collection of over 350 Latin American primary sources including documents, photographs, maps, and books.

LANIC - Latin American Network Information Center
LANIC's mission is to facilitate access to Internet-based information to, from, or on Latin America. The LANIC website features links to many primary sources including the LANIC Etext Collection and Humanities in Latin America.

Latin American Pamphlet Digital Collection
Harvard's Widener Library collection of over 5000 digitized Latin American pamphlets published during the 19th and the early 20th centuries.

Middle East

Afghanistan Digital Library - NYU Libraries
A digitized collection of Afghan publications from the period 1871-1930.

Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean World
This collection from the University of Chicago Library features materials on the archeology, art, history, language, law, and religion of the ancient near east.

Arabic Papyrus, Parchment, and Paper
A digitized collection of 770 Arabic documents on papyrus as well as 1300 Arabic documents on paper from the J. Willard Marriott Library - University of Utah.

Confidential Print: Middle East, 1839-1969
The Confidential Print series is a collection of important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices since c.1820.

Digital Collections: Near East - Getty Research Institute
A collection of Near East primary sources from The Getty Research Institute.

Digital Library of the Middle East
Established in response to the tragic displacement of people, loss of life in conflict zones, and ongoing threats to the cultural heritage of the Middle East through destruction, looting, and illicit trafficking.

Internet Archive
Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

Internet Islamic History Sourcebook
An Islamic history portal with links to both primary and secondary sources.

Islamic Heritage Project (IHP) - Harvard University Library
Harvard University has cataloged, conserved, and digitized hundreds of Islamic manuscripts, maps, and published texts from Harvard’s renowned library and museum collections.

The Middle East 1916-2001: A Documentary Record
A collection of digitized historical documents provided by The Avalon Project.

Shahnama Project - Cambridge University
A vast collection of digitized manuscripts and images of the Shahnama, the Persian epic 'Book of Kings', completed by the poet Firdausi in AD 1010.

Medieval Travel Writing
Medieval manuscripts from libraries around the world, dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries.

Arab Image Foundation
Photographs from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora.

Islamic Heritage Project
Islamic manuscripts, maps, and published texts from Harvard’s renowned library and museum collections.

Near Eastern Manuscripts: Caro Minasian Collection Digitization Project
Arabic and Persian manuscripts, one of the most extensive post-classical Islamic manuscript collections in the United States.

Primary Sources - History: Middle East
Excellent collection of resources for primary documents and photos from the University of Washington Libraries

History of Turkey: Primary Documents
Sources on the history of Turkey from Brigham Young University