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The Twentieth Century World: Primary Sources

This subject guide chronicles foundational literature and contains links to resources about pivotal global issues of the Twentieth Century.

What are Primary Sources?

"Primary sources of information are those that provide first-hand accounts of the events, practices, or conditions you are researching. In general, these are documents that were created by the witnesses or first recorders of these events at about the time they occurred, and include diaries, letters, reports, photographs, creative works, financial records, memos, and newspaper articles (to name just a few types)."   ~U. of Illinois Village Site


Online Resources

Primary Sources

Examples of Primary Sources in Forsyth Library

Old Newspapers: The New York Times is available back to 1851 on microfilm in Forsyth Library.  You can search to find citations and some full-text articles.  For those not in full-text, use the citations to locate the article on microfilm.  Library staff members will be glad to help you find and print microfilm.

Diaries, Letters & Oral Histories 

Search the Online Catalog (example:  personal narratives, world war letters oral histories, etc.)


Find a wide variety of maps in our A to Z Maps database.


Search WorldCat to find books in other libraries.  For more information on requesting books and articles, go to the Interlibrary Loan tab of this guide (for on-campus and local area students) or Distance Services for virtual students.

Primary Source Sets - Library of Congress

The National Archives

America's Historical Documents