Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
SUNY Geneseo Fraser Hall Library Subject Guides

HIST 415 Environmental History in the Modern U.S. -- Professor Kleiman: Finding Articles & Books on Environmental History

Advice on Searching for Primary Sources

You will get limited results if you try to search for "primary sources" in library databases since the Library of Congress does not use that subject heading.  Try searching these subject headings instead:

personal narratives
memoirs or autobiographies

letters or correspondences
oral histories

DOCUMENTARY HISTORIES:  There are collections of documents relating to various subjects, such as Agriculture in the United States: A Documentary History.  Search IDS for these by typing your subject along with the phrase "documentary history" in quotes. 

DOCUMENTARY FILMS:  Be wary of "documentaries" (films) because sometimes they are primary sources but sometimes they provide analysis that is secondary.

PUBLICATION DATES:  Be aware that publication dates can be misleading. A new edition of a book published in 1952 is still a primary source even though its publication date is 2009.  Look for a books original publication date, which is sometimes listed as well.

Research Help

Scholarly Journal Articles

The databases below have both scholarly and non-scholarly articles so use with care.

Decorative Image of Multiple Journals

Using Google Newspaper Archive

After getting into Google Newspaper Archive (, follow these directions:


Image of Google News search with a topic types into the search bar

Look through your results to find articles. If there are too many articles that are not from your time period, you can try to add the year to your search strategy, or add more words describing the event you are researching.

Alternatively, you can search through the text of a specific newspaper by locating the title in the alphabetical list. Just make sure that the date you are looking for is in the range given for the paper.

Image of multiple newspapers, with the date range below the title circled.


A note about archives  -- As you search databases and the web for primary sources, you might come across materials in archives . Look closely at archive's web pages to see if they have digitized any documents. Also take note if the "Finding Aid" is online; you can use the Finding Aid to identify specific documents and contact the archives to see if they will scan the item and send it to you. Another thing to look for is microfilm; if any of the material is on microfilm, we may be able to get it for you on interlibrary loan.