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Civil War: Online Database Sources


To begin, you'll need to get an overview of your topic. A general or specialized reference source (an Encyclopedia, Almanac, or Atlas etc.) can be a great place to start. Consider your search terms carefully.  Make a list of them. Make sure you have thought of broader and more narrow terms.  Also remember to think about synonyms or variant spellings for your search words.  Different search words will get different results!  The more search word possibilities you have the better are your chances of success.  

Once you have a general idea of what's at stake in your topic (context, major players, historical significance, etc.), you'll be ready to look at it in a little more depth.  Books (in print or digital) will give you depth and breadth.  

Primary Sources - Custom Search Engine

When historians talk about evidence, they often mean primary sources. Primary sources (diaries, letters, speeches, newspaper accounts, artifacts, etc. created during the time period being studied) can offer rich and unique insights into your topic.  Thousands of primary documents have been digitized and can be found online on university, government and museum websites.  The Bentley Library also has collections of these documents in print and ebook sources. Check out the "primary sources" research guide and/or use the custom search engine below.

American History Primary Sources Custom Search Engine