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History: 1900-1945: Books

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are those created at the same or nearly the same time as the occurrence of an event.  Secondary sources are based on primary sources and interpret or analyze an historical event. Examples of secondary sources are books, journals, and magazine articles.  Tertiary sources generally contain information that maybe a combination of both primary and secondary sources.  Examples are encyclopedias, indexes, textbooks, and chronologies.

Several good links to more information about primary sources are the following:

American Library Association Reference and User Services Association 

University of California Berkeley Research Guide

Yale University

Examples of primary sources include the following:

Artistic Works (Arts and Music) Charters      Correspondence Diaries Dissertations
Early Works Film Clips       Government           publications           and laws Interviews Letters
Manuscripts and Archives Maps       Newspapers Oral Histories Pamphlets
Personal Narratives Recordings          Realia and       artifacts Speeches Treaties            

Locating Books With Primary Sources

Secondary sources can be useful in identifying primary sources.  If you know names of persons who were involved or present in an event, search for the names of those individuals. Books cataloged in the Boreham Catalog or the World Catalog with the following subheadings may contain primary sources:

-  Anecdotes    - Biography   -  Correspondence    - Diaries   -  Documents    - Interviews   -  Letters    - Oral History    - Personal Narratives   -  Sources

         Examples:      Stalin, Joseph, 1879-1953 - Correspondence      World War, 1939-1945 - Cryptography - History - Sources

Reference Books

Catalog Searches

The Boreham Library catalog shows books and media that are available locally.  The World Catalog is a huge catalog of items, many of which are available for loan.  Search both catalogs for best results.  Note that the World Catalog is not included in any DISCOVER SEARCHES.

The links to these catalogs are "live" so that you can search directly from this page.


Keyword searches use natural search terms and are generally more comprehensive than Subject Searches.


  • great depression
  • jazz age
  • progresive era
  • roaring twenties
  • Treaty of Versailles


Subject Searches  are based on Library of Congress Subject Headings.  They are usually more precise than keyword searches.   Often subject headings are divided by subdivisions based on geography, time, format, or other category.


  • United States--  History--19th Century
  • United States - History - 1919-1933
  • New Deal
  • Jazz Age
  • Hoover, Herbert - President United States
  • World War 1914-1918


General Information


Books are useful when you need a broad overview of a topic as well as more specific information on a subject.


Books are useful when you need a broad overview of a topic as well as more specific information on a subject.  

Search the Boreham Library Catalog or the World Catalog  to locate books on a topic.  If the book is owned by Boreham Library, use the Call Number to find the book on the shelves.   If not owned by the library, you can order the book on Interlibrary Loan.  The links for the catalogs on this page are live.  Search directly from within this guide.

Many biographies are found in the 920s.  Nonfiction books are shelved on the second floor of the library.  Books can be checked out for three weeks.

Catalogs index media such as DVDs, and they also provide access to Electronic Books.   In catalog searches, you can use a "LIMIT by Material" option to retrieve materials in special formats such as electronic book, Reference, or nonfiction.



Catalog Search

Search the Boreham Library catalog

World Catalog

The World Catalog is a huge database representing holdings of libraries across the United States and some foreign countries.  Many of these holdings, especially books, are available for loan at no charge through Interlibrary Loan.  This is a "live" link to the World Catalog.  Click to search.

Google Scholar

Using Interlibrary Loan

Set up an account in ILLIAD to get loans of books and order articles when they are not available in the Boreham Library.   There is NO charge for Interlibrary Loan requests unless special charges are applied by the lending library.  Books ordered on ILL are available for pickup at the Circulation Desk of the library.  Articles ordered on ILL will be sent electronically to the email address of record.