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Chinese American History: Primary Sources & Search Tips

An overview of resources on Chinese American History at Fordham University Libraries and beyond.

Finding Primary Sources

Primary sources are original records created during the time period or subject under review. Examples can include objects, newspaper articles, images, books, government records, laws, treaties, memoirs, oral histories, data, manuscripts, maps, pamphlets, speeches, diaries, letters, film footage, physical objects, and much more.

Primary sources are not located in specific databases. They can be located in many places which makes the search complicated.

 The boxes below offer search tips for locating specific types of primary sources with library databases.

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Primary Sources & Books

Books can help researchers find primary sources, can contain primary sources, or can be primary sources. This box breaks down examples:

 

► Some books at Fordham Libraries will offer compilations of information to help locate specific primary sources:

 

► Some books are collections of full or partial primary source documents along with commentary from scholars:

► Cookbooks and art books feature primary sources inside them such as recipes or photographs of people, places, food, artwork, fashion, and other historical artefacts.

 

► Some books are primary sources by themselves since if they document first-person accounts of events (i.e. memoirs) or serve as artefacts from a specific time and place (i.e. directories).

Laws & Court Cases

 Most databases archiving legislative history work best when searching for a specific law or court case rather than searching generally for cases with descriptive keywords.

→ Before searching for a specific law or court case, do background research to determine jurisdiction, key dates, people involved, and any citation information or numbers [i.e. Wong Wing vUnited States, 163 U.S. 228 (1896) or Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Pub. L. 89–236].

Databases to search for laws & cases:

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