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Theatre: Finding Primary Sources

Primary Sources & Theatre in Context

This page highlights how to find primary sources relating to Theatre. Since locating primary sources can tricky depending on the topic, please reach out to one of the librarians listed on this guide if you need research help.

 Research Tip

Collecting biographical and background information on your topic is recommended before searching for primary sources. Make a list of names of people, places, events, dates, organizations, etc. related to your topic. Many of these details will be your keywords as you look through historical content in databases.

Library Databases with Plays & Primary Sources

Sample Search limited by Primary Source Content


Fordham provides access to many current and historical newspaper collections. Find the full list of options here.

Selected Newspaper Collections:

Government Documents

Government documents pertinent to Theatre may be laws, congressional testimonies, information about the Federal Theatre Project, federal funding information, and more.

General Open Access Digital Collections

Specific Playwrights & Collections

Podcast Interview Searching

Library Catalog & Primary Sources

Try searching the Library Catalog to locate primary sources in book format (i.e. writings by playwrights, individual plays, anthologies, etc.):

  • Search by the name of the play in the Title field (i.e. "A Doll's House")
  • Search by playwright name in the Author field (i.e. Ibsen, Henrik)

See the Finding Books page for additional tips.

Federal Theatre Project poster for "One Third of a Nation" opening on 17 October 1938 at the Walnut Theatre in Philadelphia.

Image credit: "One Third of a Nation" poster from the Philadelphia opening in 1938 via the Library of Congress Digital Collections.

Film & Video

Additional New York Public Library Resources

Flyer for The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre - 20th Anniversary

Image credit: Flyer for The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre - 20th Anniversary via Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Library & Archive.

Reference & Instruction Department

Reference & Instruction Department
Fordham University Libraries

Walsh Library  ♦  Rose Hill Campus  ♦  718-817-3586   
Quinn Library  ♦  Lincoln Center Campus  ♦  212-636-6050   
Fordham Westchester Library  ♦  Fordham Westchester Campus  ♦  914-367-3061   ♦   text 71-TXTX-1284 ♦ 
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