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Research Guides

HIS378 America in the 1960s

Things to keep in mind when searching for and working with primary sources

  • Start with what you already have—draw from course materials and secondary sources to identify citations to primary sources, key words, and historical figures. 
  • There isn’t going to be only one place to search for them.
  • Each database and search tool will be unique and will take time and experimentation to use effectively.
  • Consider language in your search for primary sources (i.e. historical or outdated language, place name changes, and untranslated sources).
  • Not everyone’s primary sources were collected—the historical record is incomplete and leaves out many voices.
  • Working with primary sources related to colonized or other marginalized peoples may be very upsetting, please take care. 
  • Ask for help! Primary sources can be very challenging to find, and U of T Librarians are here to help you in your search. 

Recommended Primary Source Databases and Resources:

Finding other primary source databases using Subjects A-Z

For primary source resources see Subjects A-Z and filter by subject and research type 

Why should you use subject specific databases?

  • The library catalogue may produce too many search results

  • You want to search for more specific time periods

Finding primary sources in LibrarySearch

Use the Library website to find Newspapers

For newspaper databases and tips on searching for newspapers take a look at this guide: Newspapers Current and Historical

Recommended Newspaper Databases

Tips for using a newspaper database to search for obituaries

If you want to locate a specific newspaper, look it up by its title in the LibrarySearch. Enter the subject in the library search box. 


  • Click on "Advanced Search" and select "title" from the drop down menu
  • Click on "Advanced Search" to perform a Boolean search or search across multiple fields.
  • On the search result page, under "format", filter to "newspapers"


Search for books, articles, media, and other formats using LibrarySearch, the University of Toronto Library's one-stop discovery system for all our library resources

Welcome to the new catalogue

Try searching for newspapers 




Use the Library website to find American Government Information

Recommended Databases

You may also be interested in researching FRUS volumes (Foreign Relations of the United States) 


Use the Library website to find Diaries and Letters 

Search by combining keywords for different kinds of primary sources with keywords for your topic. For example, "women's rights united states diaries," "civil right united states correspondence," or " Vietnam War United States letters."

In the following database use the advance search option to choose the date written/recorded you are interested in. 

In advanced search in many databases you can also select the document type to  specify you are searching for letters or diaries in primary source databases in Subjects A-Z


Use the Library website to find Maps

  • The vast majority of map titles in the Map & Data Library collection are indexed in the University of Toronto Library online catalogue. 
  • Click on the "Advanced search" icon. The Advanced Search option allows you to limit your search to the collections of the Map & Data Library and/or to cartographic materials only.

Then next to "Search Scope" select Map and Data Library and enter the map you are searching for in the "Search filters"


On the left-hand side of the results, there are filter options. For maps, select "Maps" under "Filter your results". Then click Apply Filter.

For more information contact the Map and Data Library 


Use the Library website to find Magazines



Use the Library website to find Advertisements 

Tips for using a newspaper databases to search for advertisements

Recommended Database


Use the Library website to find Artwork and Images


You can also consult the Images and Visual Resource Collections library guide for more information

Recommended Resources

Finding scholarly resources to provide context for primary sources

Why should you use secondary sources with primary sources?

  • Secondary sources complement primary sources: a secondary source can bring clarification and deeper understanding to a primary source.
  • A historian who has expertise in a specific time period can provide contextual information through a secondary source that allows a student to maximize his/her appreciation of the primary source's value.
  • If you are researching a subject that you do not know a lot about, doing background reading in a secondary source can introduce you to some of the primary sources that are relevant to the subject area.

Recommended Resources

Use the Library website to find Secondary Sources

In Library Search you can also filter your search to include only articles

On the left-hand side of the results, there are filter options. For articles, select "articles" and or "peer reviewed articles" under "Filter your results". Then click Apply Filter. Filtering your results is also a great way to find databases which focus specifically on the 1960s in America.


Music Resources

Citation resources for Chicago

Getting Help from the Library


This guide is currently maintained by Jesse Carliner. Please send any suggestions, comments, and reports of broken links to 

  • Fall 2023 update: Samantha Zani, TALint student