An important part of your History Day project will be finding and learning from primary sources, documents created during the time period being studied by people who lived then. The books listed below allow you to view primary sources by topic or time period. Most of these titles are located at the Columbia Public Library. Please note that many of these books are for in-library use only.
“In Their Own Words” book series
Books in this series offer a look at primary sources related to the Holocaust, the Great Depression, the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War. Books in this series may be checked out.
“Looking at Literature through Primary Sources” book series
This series uses primary sources to help students understand literature by learning about what was happening in society at the time that a work of literature took place. Titles covered by this series includes “Moby Dick” (and the 19th century whaling industry), “The Red Badge of Courage” (and the American Civil War), “Treasure Island” (and 18th century pirates), “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (and the Abolitionist Movement), “Huckleberry Finn” (and discussions of race) and “Johnny Tremain” (and the American Revolutionary War). Books in this series may be checked out.
“Primary Source History of the United States” book series
This book series gives readers a chance to review primary documents for virtually every period of U.S. History, from the first European settlement in 1492 up to the present day. Books in this series may be checked out.
“Primary Sources in American History” book series
Different books in this series cover topics including the Transcontinental Railroad, the Erie Canal, the Alamo, the Women’s Rights Movement, the Salem Witch Trials, the California Gold Rush, the Pony Express, the Homestead Act of 1862, Manifest Destiny, the Mexican-American War, the Reconstruction and the Industrial Revolution through a review of related primary sources. Books in this series may be checked out.
“Primary Sources of Political Systems” book series
This book series uses primary sources to give details about the history of various political systems and how and where they have been used. Systems covered include socialism, monarchy, colonialism, communism, dictatorship and democracy. Books in this series may be checked out.
“Twentieth-century America: A primary source collection from the Associated Press ” book set
This 10-volume set offers access to primary sources in the form of chronological news articles from every era of the 20th century. The set also has an index so that relevant articles may be found by topic as well as by date. DBRL owns multiple copies of the books in this set – some may be checked out, but others are for in-library use only.
Young Adult and Adult Non-fiction
“America in the 20th Century” book set
This 13-volume set provides information on every decade of the 20th century, and two of the volumes contain primary sources (over 50 of them) organized by decade. The set is indexed for easy reference. The books in this set are for in-library use only.
“American Home Front in World War II” book set
As opposed to focusing on the lives of soldiers and the details of battles, this book set offers a look at how World War II affected people back home. One of the three volumes is devoted entirely to primary sources. The books in this set are for in-library use only.
“Daily Life through World History in Primary Documents” book set
This 3-volume set provides access to primary documents concerning a wide span of history, from the ancient world to modern times. Organized by theme, these documents are also annotated to help reader’s understand how daily life varies around the globe and throughout recorded time. The books in this set are for in-library use only.
“Defining Moments” book series
This book series offers background and primary sources for the following topics: the Harlem Renaissance, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, American Immigration 1870-1920 and the Brown v. Board of Education court decision (which led to the desegregation of American public schools). Books in this series may be checked out.
“Great American Political Documents” book series
Each book in this series uses primary sources to explain the background and importance of such political documents as the Bill of Rights, the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution, the Iroquois Constitution and the 1629 Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Books in this series may be checked out.
“A History of the Third Reich” book set
This book set contains a volume which provides primary source documents concerning the history of the Third Reich, the German Nazi state under Adolf Hitler’s chancellorship. The books in this set are for in-library use only.
“Interpreting Primary Documents” book series
Each volume in this book series pulls together primary documents related to a range of events and time periods, including the Korean War, Colonial America, Desegregation, Westward Expansion, the Vietnam War, Bill of Rights and the Kennedy Assassination. Books in this series may be checked out.
“The Medieval and Early Modern World” book series
This book series covers cultures in various geographical locations (including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East) in eras spanning from the beginning of the Middle Ages until shortly before the Industrial Revolution commenced, using excerpts from primary sources to tell the story of these periods of history. There is another volume of additional primary sources in this series, too. Books in this series may be checked out, except for the index, which is for in-library use only.
“Milestone Documents” book series
Collections of primary sources on the topics of world religions, African-American history, world history, American leaders, and American history. The books in this series are for in-library use only.
“UXL Reference Library” book series – List of Primary Sources volumes
The UXL Reference Library book series covers many topics (19 in all), from the Crusades to the Roaring Twenties to the Vietnam War. Each topic has a volume specifically devoted to primary sources. The books in this series are for in-library use only.
“Civil War Commanders” edited by T.J. Stiles
This book pulls together various primary sources describing key battles in the Civil War, told through the points of view of both Northern and Southern military men. Civil War historian Gary Gallagher provides an introduction about the subjective nature of primary sources, and the editors try to provide the broader context into which the individual accounts are tied. This book may be checked out.
“Human Trafficking” by Kathryn Cullen-DuPont
This book covers modern day human trafficking, including a section on U.S. and international primary source documents and another section with tips for researching the topic. This book is for in-library use only.
“Journal of a Revolutionary War Woman” by Judith E. Greenberg
Annotated selections from the diary of a woman named Mary Titus Post who lived during the American Revolutionary War. This book may be checked out.
“The Klu Klux Klan: A guide to an American subculture” by Marty Gitlin
Contains primary source documents related to the society’s origin, actions, philosophy, and membership. This book may be checked out.
“Our Constitution” by Donald A. Ritchie
This book looks at the contents and history of each amendment and article, including texts of related primary source documents. DBRL owns multiple copies of this book – some may be checked out, but others are for in-library use only.
“Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents from the National Archives”
A collection of documents important to the development of the United States. This book is for in-library use only.
“Women’s Rights in the United States: A documentary history”
The only title that we own from the “Primary Documents in American History and Contemporary Issues” series, this book contains documents from colonial times up to the present day regarding women’s struggles for social, legal, educational, political, and economic rights, along with introductory narrative for each era’s documents to give historical context. This book is for in-library use only.
“The World in Ancient Times: Primary Sources and Reference Volume”
Tells the story of the ancient world by using primary sources such as “letters, diary entries, laws, fables, plays, poems, sermons, schoolbooks, proverbs, and even graffiti.” Focuses on history in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. This book is for in-library use only.