TRUMAN STATE UNIVERSITY Pickler Memorial Library Truman State University

African Studies: Finding primary source material

Primary sources are generally considered to be firsthand accounts of an event or the actual documents associated with an event. 

  • Firsthand accounts can be found in diaries, memoirs, letters, speeches, autobiographies, scholarly articles giving the results of research, etc.

  • Documents might be laws, treaties, transcripts of hearings, court cases, etc.

 To find these in the Library Catalog:

Speeches, letters, journals, diaries, etc. of an individual may be found by looking for the name of that person as an author. 

            Mandela, Nelson

Books which are collections of personal stories or reminiscences of an event are listed under the event with the subdivision PERSONAL NARRATIVES.  Because it is difficult to get the subject heading exactly right, it is easiest to use keyword. 

            south africa and personal narratives
            slave trade and personal narratives          

Books which are collections of various documents from a particular country are entered under the country name with the subdivision HISTORY perhaps a time designation is next, then the subdivision SOURCES. 

Africa, West -- History -- To 1884 -- Sources.

Missions -- Sierra Leone -- History -- Sources.

Because these are complicated, you can add sources   to a keyword search.

         s:africa history and s:sources

        nigeria and s:sources

Use the S: to have your search term found in the subject field.

Take a look at some of the microform primary source collections available in Pickler Memorial Library

Microforms - African Studies

Other examples of primary sources including travel writings:

An account of the native Africans in the neighbourhood of Sierra Leone by Thomas Winterbottom - General Collection - DT516.42 .W53 1969
British Policy Towards West Africa : select documents - General Collection DT502 .B74 1992
Documents from the African Past - General Collection DT1 .D55 2001 
Colonial Discourses, Series One: Women, Travel & Empire, 1660-1914 - Microfilm PN 6071 W72 C64 1998  
Maiden voyages : Writings of Women Travelers - General Collection G465 .M336 1993 
Travels in West Africa  by Mary H. Kingsley - General Collection DT472 .K53 2003

You can ask for further assistance at the Library Servcie Desk or contact the  Reference librarian for History.

Reference Department
(660) 785-4051

Janet Romine, Reference Librarian for History
(660) 785-7418


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