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English Research Guide

Find research and resources relevant to English Studies, including literature and linguistics, creative writing, and rhetoric, composition and pedagogy.

Find Primary Sources

Finding Primary Source Literature at UH Libraries

Use the UH Libraries' catalog to find primary sources in the library. You can select your "Format" to narrow your search.

Use the following tools to find full text, digitized copies of drama, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction prose. For a full list of databases providing full text access to primary source literature, including titles searchable in Literature Online, click here.

Finding Other Primary Sources at UH Libraries

Use the UH Libraries' catalog to find primary sources in the library. You can select your "Material Type" to help narrow your search.

Use the following tools to find full text, digitized primary sources like diaries, letters, images and ephemera. 

Special Collections at UH

The Special Collections department is on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library is home to a wealth of primary source material, including books, maps, ephemera (postcards, posters, playbills), art works, oral histories, etc.

1910 photograph of boats along bank of Buffalo Bayou

Buffalo Bayou 1910 (UH Special Collections)

Digital Library at UH

UH Libraries' Digital Library showcases digital collections of materials documenting the history of the University of Houston, City of Houston, State of Texas, and other historically and culturally significant materials.

Panorama of downtown Houston from 1910
Panorama of dowtown Houston (1910) - Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.

Finding Primary Sources on the Web

As libraries digitize their special collections, primary sources are more readily available online. Below are just a few web sources for primary materials.

Other Texas Libraries & Resources

Here are a few local and state libraries you might want to explore:

Types of Primary Sources for Literature Research


Manuscripts


Manuscripts are useful because they provide insight into the production of works as well as document the lives of significant literary figures.


The term "manuscript" literally means "written by hand" and encompasses a broad array of documents and records of numerous formats and types, including letters & correspondence, diaries & journals, memoirs & autobiographies, papers relating to published and unpublished literary works, as well as handwritten notes.


Front page of the Irish Times newspaperNewspapers

Newspapers are useful because they contain original reviews of works as well as accounts of what was occuring when the work was published. Ultimately, newspapers are invaluable for their immediacy, recording history as it happened.

Covers of historical serials
Periodicals
Periodicals are useful because they contain orginal reviews of works as well as earlier, serialized versions of works which may offer textual variations.

Collection of ephemeral materials
Ephemera

Ephemera is useful because its sheer variety (posters, maps, advertisements, trade cards, programs, etc.) provides a glimpse into a historical period's cultural, economic, and social customs & traditions.

chart courtesy of Kristina De Voe at Temple University Libraries

Knowing the Difference between Primary and Secondary Sources

For more information on Primary and Secondary sources, consult these guides.