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History of the Pacific Northwest

Primary Sources

Primary source is a term used to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied. These can be letters written to or from the people involved in an event such as the letters and journals Lewis and Clark used to document their explorations of the northwest passage. Some collections of these documents have been digitized, allowing researchers to have access to them from anywhere. Such as this collection of papers from the Wisconsin Historical Society. This is not always the case though, and you may have to contact a library to access primary documents they own.

The following are some resources to help you find collections and primary sources on your topic:

ArchiveGrid: Searchable directory of special collections. Many link directly to the collection.

Newspaper Source: Newspapers are a good source of primary information.

New York Times: This electronic resource goes back to 1985. The New York times is a good resource for US events, and many libraries have access to older editions either electronically or in microfiche.

Northwest Digital Archives: NWDA provides access to descriptions of primary sources in the Northwestern United States, including correspondence, diaries, or photographs. Digital reproductions of primary sources are available in some cases.

Shaw Historical Library: Oregon Tech's Shaw Library hosts a number of electronic resources including the Klamath Waters Digital collection

Electronic Resources

Beyond the three electronic resources listed above you can also search these resources for historical information:


Books and other items are listed in the Library Catalog. Use the Library Catalog to find materials in the Oregon Tech Libraries' collections and through the Summit. Summit provides access to materials from 36 academic libraries in Oregon and Washington for Oregon Tech students, faculty and staff.

Try browsing for titles under these Library of congress classifications

  • D - History, General
  • D284-D309 - 18th Century History
  • D351-D400 - 19th Century History
  • D410-D725 - 20th Century History
  • E77-E99 - Indians of North America (used for Native Americans)
  • F871-F885 - Oregon History
  • F886-F900 - Washington State History

Some Electronic Books may also be available through the EBSCOhost cBook Collection.

Dawn LoweWincentsen

Dawn LoweWincentsen, Wilsonville Campus Librarian

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Last Updated August 2011