Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

History 190S: A Global History of Domestic Violence and Spousal Murder: Primary Sources

Online searching for primary sources

Subject headings in the online catalog can be subdivided into narrower topics by the assignment of standard subheadings. For example, "History" is a subheading that may be used with the name of any country (United States--History) or group (Women --United States --History). You can browse an alphabetical listing by selecting "Subject begins with..." in the "search type" drop-down menu, and then entering a subject heading point in the search box. For help finding books in the stacks, use the guide to Book Locations.

To find primary materials, try one of these subheadings following your subject:
-- Correspondence
-- Letters
-- Diaries
-- Memoirs
-- Personal Narratives
-- Sources

For example:
Abortion -- Correspondence
United States -- History -- Civil War -- Personal Narratives

Collections of Primary Materials at Duke

Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture
Located within Duke’s Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscript Library, the Sallie Bingham Center is a broad-based women’s history archives and library. Notable collection strengths include Southern women, girl culture, domestic culture, women authors and publishers, lay and ordained church women, women artists, the history of feminist theory and activism, women's sexuality and gender expression, and women of color.

Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscript Library
Duke's Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscript Library holdings total more than twelve million manuscripts and close to a quarter million printed items. These collections support research in a variety of disciplines and programs, including African-American studies, anthropology, classics, economics, history, literature, political science, religion, sociology, and women's studies.

Primary Sources in North America & Great Britain

Go to U.S. History Librarian, Kelley Lawton's, research guide to finding Primary Sources in North America here

Go to British History Librarian, Carson Holloways's, research databases guide here

For help with U.S. history sources, you can contact Kelley Lawton and for British history sources, you can contact Carson Holloway

Newspaper Databases

Go to U.S. History guide here or British History guide here

America's Historical Newspapers
Full-text digital images of American newspapers published from 1690-1922.

American Periodicals Series
Provides access to scanned articles from over 1000 magazines and journals first published from 1740 to 1900.  Coverage extends to 1940.

Readers' Guide Retrospective
Indexes articles from over 300 magazines. Coverage is 1890 to 1982.

Primary Resources in Online Databases

North American Immigrant Diaries
Provides access to thousands of pages of personal narratives, including letters, diaries, pamphlets, autobiographies, and oral histories. Coverage begins in 1840 with the main focus on the period from 1890-1920.

British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries
A database of women's diaries and letters who lived in the British Isles or Ireland. Search or browse by author, place, year, source, personal or historical event.

Everyday Life and Women in America, c. 1800-1920
Includes full text and images of monographs, periodicals, pamphlets and broadsides from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke and the New York Public Library addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home life, health, and popular pastimes.

In the First Person
Indexes letters, diaries, oral histories, memoirs, and autobiographies within scholarly materials that are freely available on the Web and Alexander Street databases.

North American Women's Letters and Diaries
Contains over 2,000 letters and diaries from North American women from colonial times to the 1950s. It includes records from close to 1,500 women. Several of these sources have not been published.

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000
Examines United States women's social movements from colonial times to present through primary source documents. Browsable by social movement, project question, author, document genre (advertisement, diary, etc), and subject.

Women Writers Online
Provides the full text of more than 200 English-language texts written by women between 1526 and 1827. The texts can be browsed or searched. Includes letters, poems, novels, histories, drama, speeches, ecclesiastical writings, and advice books.

Subject Guide

Danette Pachtner's picture
Danette Pachtner
My location:
Lilly Library
Room 108
East Campus
Email me:
Call me:
My areas:
Film, Video & Digital Media; Women's Studies; Southgate Residence Hall

Need Help?