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This guide is designed to help you find research and resources in the field of History.

Why Use Letters & Diaries?

Letters, diaries, and other forms of personal correspondence are excellent primary sources because they are the direct account of a person from the time period being studied. Unlike the formal language used in more official government documents, personal correspondence show an individual's point of view written in their own voice.

United States History

  • American Journeys
    • Primary sources for early American exploration and settlement from the Vikings to the mid-1840s mountain men. Access provided by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
  • American West
    • Sketches, personal accounts, and more related to American westward expansion from the 18th-20th centuries. 
  • Founders Online
    • Correspondence and documents related to the Founding Fathers of the United States, including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin. Access provided by the National Archives.
  • Journals of Lewis and Clark
    • Field notes and journal entries from the 1803 - 1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition. Also includes books, articles, images, and sound recordings from the Native American perspective. Access provided by the University of Nebraska. 
  • Race and Place: An African American Community in the Jim Crow South
    • Personal papers, newspapers, images, and other documents related to racial segregation laws from the late 1880s to the mid-twentieth century in Charlottesville, Virginia. Online access provided by the Virginia Center for Digital History.
  • Veterans History Project
    • Personal accounts from American war veterans including correspondence, diaries, and visual materials. Documents date from World War I to the present and access is provided by the Library of Congress.

World History