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HIS201: History of Women in America

Guide supports research project for HIS102.

Databases with Strong Primary Source Content

In history research, primary sources are first hand accounts of historical events.  Primary sources may be found in a variety of resources such as books & ebooks, library databases, public websites & online archives, newspapers & magazines, etc. 



Historical Magazines & Newspapers

Books that include Primary Sources (selected)

Lives of American Women Series - The library owns at least 10 titles in print (online access available for some titles). Titles include:

  • Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) - photographer
  • Julia Lathrop (1858-1932) - social worker; social reformer, child welfare, & educator
  • Mary Pickford (aka Gladys Marie Smith) (1892-1979) - actor / businesswoman
  • Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964) [online print] - labor leader
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) [online | print] - first African American woman in Congress, educator, author
  • Barbara Egger Lennon - teacher, mother, labor activist
  • Betsy Mix Cowles [online | print] - antislavery, women's rights, education
  • Rebecca Dickinson (1738 - 1815) - single woman in colonial America, artisan, author
  • Alice Paul - suffragist, imprisoned activist, labor reform
  • Dolley Madison - First Lady of United States, modeled a political behavior that stressed civility and empathy, and set an example for future presidential wives to follow.


Search for Primary Sources in Books and eBooks



When searching for primary sources in books and ebooks researchers at GCC may find it useful to use the OneSearch box on the library homepage and then select the 'Find Books' tab.  The following 'subject terms' are a list of selected terms that may be useful for finding primary sources in books and ebooks.

[Limit to eBooks before you search by choosing the 'eBook' radio button or after your search by using the 'Online Items' limiter at the top of the left sidebar on the results page.] 

Click on the link to see the results of the search with the term 'women' added.  To search different topics, exchange the word 'holocaust' with a word that relates to the topic being researched if the topic is clearly associated with women (i.e. nursing); otherwise add a term to the search (such as "personal narratives" and women and military) For a more focused search be sure that 'subject' is selected from the dropdown menu prior to search (see modifed example from above). Also, the searches below are for books and eBooks at GCC. Your search may be broadened to include ALL Maricopa Community College libraries or limited to include just online / ebooks.

Other keywords that may be useful for finding primary sources include:

Of course, these searches do not produce an exhaustive list of books that contain primary source material on your topic.  Many other books and encyclopedia on your topic may contain primary sources as well.  Also, researchers need to conduct multiple searches using various terms for their topic.  For instance, searching on 'women' returns different results than searching on 'girls' or 'ladies' or 'female'; likewise searching on "women and war" will return different results than "women and military".  Also, using these terms in a 'keyword' search rather than a 'subject search' will yield more results thought they may be less focused.

Finally, it may be useful to search more broadly than your specific topic.  For instance, searching on 'genocide' rather than 'holocaust' may return results that include the holocaust among other genocides. 


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