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Pacific Northwest Labor History, Civil Rights History, Antiwar & Radical History Projects

Most of the databases linked from this page are restricted to UW students, staff and faculty. To connect to these databases from home you will need to first click on the Off-Campus Access button in the upper-right hand corner and login.

For research help, please contact Theresa Mudrock, the history librarian, at


What & Why

Encyclopedias can provide background information and can be used to identify key people, events and dates which can then be used as search terms for finding additional information. More importantly, because encyclopedias often cover the major issues surrounding the subject, they can help you narrow your research from a broad "who, what, where, when" topic to a "how or why" question. Many also provide a jumpstart on your research by listing related readings.

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Two searchable collections of encyclopedias are UW Restricted Gale Virtual Reference and UW Restricted Oxford Reference Online.

Books - Secondary

What & Why

Non-fictional books can provide both an overview and indepth analysis of a topic, event or person. Many books will include footnotes and bibliography that can lead you to other research/writings on the topic.

Book reviews can be useful when evaluating a book or to get a quick synopsis. Use the databases listed under "Academic Articles" to find book reviews.

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  • UW Libraries Catalog - holdings of the UW Libraries. Best used for known-item searching especially journal titles and ebooks and when you want to find just what is available on campus or in a specific branch of the UW Libraries.
  • Beta Catalog/WorldCat Local - Beta version of the catalog that simultaneously searches the UW Libraries Catalog and other libraries in the region and worldwide, also includes some citations to articles. Best used for topical searches and for requesting books from other libraries.

Academic/Scholarly Articles

What & Why

Academic articles, those published in scholarly journals, are the bedrock of most academic disciplines. In the field of historical research, they are considered secondary sources. They provide an indepth analysis of narrow topics. Prior to publishing, articles are vetted through a process called peer-review. Most articles include footnotes which can lead you to other material on a topic.

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  • UW Restricted Academic Search Complete - general database to find articles on all subjects
  • UW Restricted America History & Life - best database for finding articles about American and Canadian history
  • UW Restricted JSTOR - back issues of 100s of academic journals including more than 40 full-text history-related journals

Books - Primary

What & Why

In addition to the many books that can be considered secondary sources; the UW Libraries has books that are primary sources. These include books written during the period for your topic (i.e., during the 1930s), books written by participants, published collections of correspondence and other personal writings, memoirs and reprints of primary source material. Most of the material dealing with the Pacific Northwest, both published and unpublished, is kept in Special Collections.

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Search tactics:
  • Limit your search by publication date.
  • Search for books written by key people or organizations.
  • Use special subject terms that designate primary sources:
    sources, personal narratives, diaries, correspondence, interviews

  • Example:
      filipino* and interviews
    • seattle and personal narratives


What & Why

Newspapers are a primary source providing a first rough draft of events. Since most newspapers are local in scope, there is good coverage of local issues.

Most of the older newspapers do not include indexing. Usually you will need to browse through issues of a newspaper to discover its content.

The Microform and Newspaper Collections on the ground floor of Suzzallo library has a strong collection of local newspapers.

Help: Analyzing Newspapers & Newspapers

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What & Why

Magazines are similar to newspapers. Popular magazines (news, fashion, sports, etc.) provide a good feel for the period. Unlike newspapers, there is indexing to identify specific articles on topics. Since most magazines are national in scope, there is limited coverage of local topics.

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Government Documents

government document  
What & Why

The UW Libraries has an extensive collection of federal, state and local government documents. These documents are usually primary sources and can include census material, annual reports from governmental agencies and congressional hearings.

Most government material is housed in the Government Publications section on the ground floor of Suzzallo Library. Librarians there can help you find material you need.

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What & Why

Manuscript material is unique, unpublished material and can include diaries and letters plus organizational material such as meeting minutes. Usually it is best to do preliminary research in published material first (secondary and primary) before delving into manuscripts.

Special Collections, located in the basement of Allen Library south, holds the manuscript materials in the UW Libraries. See Comprehensive guide to the manuscripts collection and to the personal papers in the University archives for a partial listing of the available collections (Suzzallo Reference & Special Collections Z6621 .W37 1980).

Help: Making Sense of Letters & Diaries

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Selected Manuscript Collections at the UW Libraries

Organizations:   People:

Collections on Microfilm at the UW Libraries

  • Alaska Packer's Association records [720 microfiche]
    Microform-Newspapers M-1327
  • American Federation of Labor and the Unions: National and International Union Records from the Samuel Gompers Era, 1877-1937 [149 reels]
    Microform-Newspapers A6683
  • American Labor Unions Constitutions and Proceedings: Part I, 1836-1974 [197 reels]
    Microform-Newspapers A5081
  • American Radicalism Collection [236 reels - esp. Part 3: Race, Gender, and the Struggle for Justice and Equal Rights ] (housed at UW Tacoma, TAC-459, guide available in mcnews, reels can be requested by emailing - they will be sent to mcnews)
  • Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Papers - Western Regional Office, 1962-1965 [5 reels]
    Microform-Newspapers A8104
  • Papers of the NAACP [383 reels]
    Microform-Newspapers A8473
  • Records of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, 1895-1992 [50 reels]
    Microform-Newspapers A9702
  • Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Series A, Subject correspondence files [72 reels]
    Microform-Newspapers A8555
  • Records of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 1895-1992 [41 reels]
    Microform-Newspapers A9701
  • U.S. Military Intelligence Reports: Surveillance of Radicals in the U.S., 1917-1941 [34 reels]
    Microform-Newspapers A8286

History Subject Page :: Special Collections :: Chicago Style Guide
Theresa Mudrock -

Created by: t.mudrock
Last modified: Friday September 26, 2008 (mudrock)