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Special Collections: Primary Sources

Shenandoah Sources Online

Primary Sources

Special Collections holdings include personal papers and records from local individuals and families, organizations and businesses, as well as from various divisions and departments of JMU itself. Most of these manuscript collections have been cataloged and will appear in the results of any search of the JMU Library Catalog that would bring up related subjects, terms, or authors.

You can limit the results of any search of the JMU Library Catalog for Special Collections holdings under the Location facet, or you can search the catalog directly from the Special Collections homepage, which will also limit the search to materials that are held in Special Collections.

Manuscript collections and JMU archives are described in archival finding aids. Search or browse archival description at the Archives & Manuscript Collections Database.

Virginia Heritage Project - Finding aids for the major archival collections in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

ArchiveGrid - Finding aids for archival collections worldwide.


List of Databases - JMU Library databases that include digitized primary sources.

Diaries & Letters Online - Database of digitized sources.

Civil War Letters & Diaries Online - Database of digitized sources.

American Memory Project - Digital archive of historical texts and objects.

Eurodocs - Online sources for European History.

Historical Publications

Historians describe the records and personal accounts of a time as the primary sources to be used for historical research.

For many projects, the first newspaper accounts and later memoirs of the people involved might also be considered primary sources to be analyzed by scholars.

Newspapers at JMU - Historic periodicals in Special Collections. Some of these are available on microfilm in Carrier Library.

Newspaper Project at the Library of Virginia - Where to find historic newspapers from towns in Virginia.

Chronicling America - Digitized newspapers at the Library of Congress.

British Newspaper Archive - Full-text search allows you to find articles, but you will have to get them from another source if you want to avoid paying for them.