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Primary Source Collections


Local collections from Mt. Holyoke

Digitized collection from the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF).

Bibliothèque Bleue Online
Mass-produced, inexpensive books that were sold to peasants for pennies by colporteurs (peddlers), the Bibliothèque Bleue was comprised of texts ranging from the practical (recipes, almanacs, and how-to books) to the pious (hagiographies, prayer books, and other religious instruction) and to the entertaining (fiction, romans de chevalerie, songbooks, burlesque), providing a unique insight into the popular culture of 17th to mid-19th century France.

CESAR - Calendrier Electronique des Spectacles sous l’Ancien Régime
CESAR is a dynamic resource at the service of all those with an interest in the French theatre of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe
Maps the trade of the Société Typographique de Neuchâtel (STN), a celebrated Swiss publishing house that operated between 1769 and 1794.

    Primary Sources in the Library Catalog

    Search by keyword for primary sources in the 5 College catalog
    You can search the catalog to find direct references to primary source material. Here are some words to include as keywords that would identify a source as primary:

    • correspondence
    • diaries
    • early works
    • interviews
    • manuscripts
    • pamphlets
    • personal narratives
    • sources
    • speeches
    • letters
    • documents

    Mount Holyoke College Five Colleges

    For more options, use Advanced Search

    What are Primary Sources?

    Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. 

    • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS such as diaries, speeches, letters
    • CREATIVE WORKS such as poetry, music, art 
    • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS such as pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

    What about Science?  In the sciences, a primary source is the published result of experimental or observational research.

    Image Credits

    Springshare's information on Accessibility in Libguides - - MHC Accessibility Barriers Form