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Modern Britain: Primary Sources


Finding Primary Sources in the Catalog

Primary sources:
Use SOURCES as sub-heading, eg:
Great Britain -- History – World War, 1939-1945-- Sources
Use DIARIES as a sub-heading or keyword (or see Matthews, British Diaries, in Reference)

Other useful keywords:  Papers, correspondence, biography, pamphlets, manuscripts, maps,

Online (Duke users only)

  • The Times Digital Archive
    Search The Times (London) from 1785-1985 in full-text; provides facsimile reproductions of full pages or specific articles.  HINT: search in full-text rather than keyword to get the best retrieval.
  • Guardian and The Observer
    The Guardian (1821-2003) and its sister paper, The Observer (1791-2003) provide online access to facts, firsthand accounts, and opinions of the day about the most significant and fascinating political, business, sports, literary, and entertainment
  • Annual Register
    The Annual Register is a year-by-year record of British and world events, published annually since 1758.
  • House of Commons Parliamentary Papers
    Full text of the Sessional Papers from 1801 to the present.
  • Periodicals Index Online
    Indexes periodicals from their first issues to 1995.   Now contains hundreds of full-text periodicals.
  • Empire Online
     British Empire full-text documents from the 15th century to the 20th century. .
  • India, Raj and Empire
    provides documents from the manuscript collections of the National Library of Scotland pertaining to the History of South Asia between the foundation of the East India Company in 1615 and the granting of independence to India
  • Illustrated London News Historical Archive 1842-2003
    online access to the entire run of the ILN from its first publication on 14 May 1842 to its last in 2003.
  • Economist Historical Archive 1843-2006
  • Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice, 1490-2007
    documents key aspects of the history of slavery worldwide over six centuries.
  • London Low Life  
    provides colour digital images of rare books, ephemera, maps and other materials relating to 19th and early 20th century London.

Primary Sources in the Library

Rare Book, Manuscripts and Special Collections LIbrary
Includes many British manuscripts and books.   They are listed in the online catalog, but see also the Finding Aids for more details on the manuscript collections.


Record Society Publications: See online catalog
Indexed in Bibliography of British and Irish History

English Historical Documents.
  Perkins/Bostock Library | Stacks  | DA26 .E555 1953 

Calendars of State Papers Domestic and Foreign: Check the online catalog also full text at British History Online.

British documents on foreign affairs--reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print
  JZ632.B747  (see online catalog for details.)

Great Britain. Foreign Office. Documents on British foreign policy, 1919-1939. London, H.M. Stationery Off., 1946-1985
DA566.7 .A18 1946

 Documents on British policy overseas DA588 .D63 1984