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ENGL 4325/5325- Victorian Literature

Finding Primary Sources in the Catalog


“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 They may be published or unpublished, printed or handwritten, on microfilm or fiche or online.

Start your search in the UT Tyler catalog with a subject or keyword subject, then enter one of the following words as a separate subject, then click on search.  

 • Correspondence     • Diaries

 • Interviews    • Personal narratives

 • 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.


Databases with Full-Text Books

Subject Headings

All books, whether in print or online, are assigned subject headings, usually by the Library of Congress.  These subject headings are useful in identifying specific resources even when the title of the book may not be all that helpful.  Sometimes, however, the subject heading might not be the one that immediately springs to mind.  Here are a few hints:

England--History--19th century

Great Britain (includes England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland since 1707)

English literature-- 19th century  

Romanticism-- Great Britain


Women and literature -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century. 

Social change -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century. 

Great Britain -- History -- Victoria, 1837-1901. 

Church of England -- History -- 19th century. 

Education -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century. 

If all else fails, do a keyword or title search in either the UT Tyler Library Catalog or in WorldCat, find at least one book on your topic, look at the bottom of the record to the subject headings, and click on those hotlinks to find other books on the same subject.

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