The UT Tyler Libraries Catalog includes circulating books, reference books, books on microfilm and microfiche, state documents, and thousands of e-books.
“A primary source is firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. The nature and value of a source cannot be determined without reference to the topic and questions it is meant to answer. The same document, or other piece of evidence, may be a primary source in one investigation and secondary in another. The search for primary sources does not, therefore, automatically include or exclude any category of records or documents.” (Yale University Library)
Primary sources may include diaries, letters, speeches, interviews, autobiographies, personal narratives, eyewitness accounts, memoirs, or government documents. They may be published or unpublished, printed or handwritten, on microfilm or fiche or online. There is no easy click to pull up all primary sources on a topic, because almost anything can be a primary source, depending on how it is used.
Even if you find the ideal newspaper article or diary, look at it very critically, especially if it seems out of the norm. Newspaper articles can be exaggerated, politically motivated, or just plain made up. Diaries have a point of view, and may have later been edited heavily by either the author or editor.
Start your search in the UT Tyler catalog by typing in either a subject or keyword in the first box, then enter one of the following words as a separate subject in the second box. Add a place in the third bos if you like, then click on Search.
Sources [will pull up collections of documents]
You may also want to try for certain keywords in the title, usually the subtitle, such as "documentary history," "letters," or "papers." You will almost certainly get some false hits, but you can weed through them.
Nearly all books dealing with Southern history in general will have subject headings in library catalogs (including WorldCat) starting with Southern States. Subdivisions include the following, although the UT Tyler Library will not have books under all subdivisions:
--Description and travel, 1951-1980
--Description and travel, 1981-
--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
--History--War of 1812
(note that the Civil War period is listed under the subject heading Confederate States of America)
--Intellectual life--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
--Politics and government--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
--Politics and government--1775-1865
--Politics and government--1865-
--Politics and government--1865-1950
--Politics and government--1951-
--Social conditions--Case studies
--Social conditions--18th century
--Social life and customs
--Social life and customs--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
--Social life and customs--1775-1865
--Social life and customs--1865-
Southern States can also be used as a geographic part of a subject, such as African Americans--Civil rights--Southern States. Type your topic in the first box of an advanced search, and Southern States in the second box.
You may want to limit your topic to a specific state. In that case start with [State]--History as a subject, such as:
Texas--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.
And if you want to get down to the county or city level, use this subject heading as a model:
Smith County (Tex.)--History
Of course if you just put in Smith County you may also get Deaf Smith County, and if you just put in Tyler (Tex.) you will also get Tyler County. Such is the fun of dealing with Texas geographical names!
If you're still not sure of a topic for your paper, look around in the stacks and see what books we have.
The books on the American South that can be checked out are on the third floor of the library.
Antebellum US history--E415.6-440.5
Slavery in the United States and Anti-Slavery Movements--E441-453
Women in the Old South--HQ1438