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Immigration: Finding Primary Sources

Selection of library resources covering the topic of immigration to the United States..

Finding Primary Sources

This page holds a selection of open access digital collections and subscription-based library databases with primary sources.

Using the search term "primary sources" in a database is not likely to generate the desired results in most cases. Instead, you will need to search for sources by name or keyword. Try these tips:

  • Perform background research on your topic. Make a list of names of people, places, events, dates, organizations, etc. related to your topic. These words will be your search terms as you look through historical content in databases.
  • Take a look at the descriptions of the databases below. Try your search terms in various databases that may cover your topic or time period.
  • Not finding sources on your topic with the options below? Ask a librarian for help. We are here to support your learning!

Open Primary Source Collections - General

New York Public Library

Image credit: "Immigrants landing at Castle Garden" via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Primary Source Options in Library Databases

Image credit: "Caltilda Downes: Barbados Passport" via New York Public Library Digital Collections

Open Primary Source Collections by Topic or Region

Newspaper Collections by Subscription

Additional Fordham Resources

Image credit: Cover of Angel Island: The Ellis Island of the West (1917) via the California Historical Society/Online Archive of California.

Reference & Instruction Department

Reference & Instruction Department
Fordham University Libraries

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