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Tutt Library Research Guides


FG308 Advanced Topics in Feminism & Gender Studies: Black Feminist Thought: Primary Sources

Primary Sources

In the study of texts, a primary source is the text itself (the novel, essay, film, play, poem, television program, etc.), rather than critical works about the text.

In creating a biography or historical piece (writing, theatrical performance, film, etc.), the primary source can be direct quotes from the subject (via interview, letter(s), email, etc.), and eyewitness accounts which can be corroborated by another reliable source (i.e., documentary film, audio or video recording from a radio or newscast, etc.)

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman Drawing from Women and Social Movements, 1600-2000

An engraving of Harriet Tubman from How Did Women Participate in the Underground Railroad? -- available in Women and Social Movements, 1600-2000

About CC Special Collections

Colorado College Special Collections maintains collections of rare books, special editions, manuscripts, and published and archival material on Colorado, Colorado Springs, and Colorado College.

  • Rare Books and Special Editions. About 6,000 items, including about two dozen examples of early printed books, the Alfred R. Justice Chess Collection, the Charles Dickens Collection, a small but growing collection of artists’ books, and about 160 individual, original leaves from manuscript and printed books dating from the 10th to the 20th century.
  • Manuscript Collections. More than 350 collections of personal papers, records, photographs, correspondence, diaries, and other unique materials originally belonging to a particular person or organization, usually connected to Colorado College or Colorado Springs, including the Helen Hunt Jackson Papers and the Colorado Springs Century Chest Collection.
  • Ephemera Collections. Colorado Springs playbills and programs, Pikes Peak area tourist brochures, bumper stickers, Colorado restaurant and event menus, the Colorado College Zine Collection, and other printed materials.
  • Colorado Collection. Nearly 12,000 books, periodicals, photographs, papers, and oral history materials focusing on the American West, especially Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, including the Cobos Collection.

Visit Special Collections

Open weekdays from 9:00 - noon; 1:00 - 5:00

Contact Special Collections

Search the Special Collections catalog. 

Evaluating Primary Sources

Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages from Cornell University offers an excellent guide for evaluating primary sources. 

Use a Secondary Source to Find a Primary Source

A bibliography from a secondary source is a great way to find primary sources.

What is a Primary Source?

This documentary use of film and written/audio accounts demonstrates various kinds of primary and secondary sources

New York Public Library Women's History Blog

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Primary Sources: Selected Feminist Archives & Collections

  • Discovering Women's History Online: a fairly comprehensive database of digitized archival material from a variety of sources.
  • Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture (Duke University): preserves and makes available published and unpublished materials that reflect the public and private lives of women, past and present.
  • Archives of Women in Science and Engineering (Iowa State Univ.):    The archive solicits, collects, arranges, and describes the personal papers of women scientists and engineers as well as the records of national and regional women’s organizations in these fields.
  • Schlesinger Library (Harvard):    The library's principal holdings are especially rich in the areas of women's rights movements, feminism, health, social reform, education, professional life, volunteer and civic efforts, family relationships, and travel.
  • Sophia Smith Collection (Smith College):    An internationally recognized repository of manuscripts, archives, photographs, periodicals, and other primary sources in women's history.
  • Voices of Feminism Oral History Project: The Voices of Feminism Oral History Project documents the persistence and diversity of organizing for women in the United States in the latter half of the 20th century. Narrators include labor, peace, and anti-racism activists; artists and writers; lesbian rights advocates; grassroots anti-violence and anti-poverty organizers; and women of color reproductive justice leaders. Interviews average 5-6 hours and cover childhood, personal life, and political work.
  • The Women's Library (London Metropolitan University):    Collections cover a variety of topics, such as women's rights, suffrage, sexuality, health, education, employment, reproductive rights, the family, and the home. The emphasis is primarily on women in Britain, but some international material is included.
  • Women and Social Movements in the United States 1600-2000: Scholar's edition. Coverage: 1600 - 2000. Growing collection of documents related to women and social movements in U.S. history.  Includes primary source documents, images, dictionary of movements, biographical dictionary, chronology, reviews, notes, and teaching tools.  Organized for in-depth browsing and searching.
  • Women's Studies: Core Books from the University of Wisconsin Digital Collection, with a link to Women's Audio Visuals in English.

Searching for Primary Sources

To find primary sources, try using these terms in keyword searches:

  • Autobiography
  • Capitivity narratives
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Document
  • Letters
  • Memoirs
  • Oral History
  • Papers
  • Personal narratives
  • Photographs
  • Records
  • Sources
  • Speeches

Keyword Searches

slavery and speeches
women and diaries
colorado and oral history

Author Searches

Lincoln, Abraham
Temperance Society
United Nations

Online Archives of Primary Sources for Black History Research

Women's Narratives: Ethnic, Global, and Multicultural Perspectives

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