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Books & Films
To find book primary sources, use library catalogs like Barton and MIT's WorldCat.
- Do subject searches for topic + genre:
- Subheadings such as "correspondence," "history sources," "personal narratives," "pictorial works," "biography," and "speeches" can point to primary sources.
- Pair these subheadings with keywords or topical subject headings in Barton to identify relevant sources in the MIT Libraries.
- See this table for other possible subheadings.
- For example, do this advanced search to get historical first-hand accounts from people in Shanghai:
- Keyword = Shanghai
- Subject words = "Personal narratives"
- Do advanced searches in Barton for relevant subjects and keywords with publication date limits.
- For example, do this advanced search to find books about Shanghai published during the Sino-Japanese War and World War II:
- Keywords = Shanghai
- Year from = 1937
- Year to = 1945
- To find fiction or films in Barton, you can use the subheadings "Fiction" and "Feature films."
- For example, do this advanced search:
- Subject words = Fiction
- With one of these:
- Subject words = Shanghai
- Place of publication = Shanghai
- Keyword = Shaghai [this broad search will search the whole record and would pick up "Shanghai" in the table of contents]
- You could also search for films in Kanopy, a film streaming company that the MIT Libraries subscribe to.
Online Primary Sources - MIT subscriptions
Archives Unbound: Municipal Minutes
The Minutes of the Shanghai Municipal Council, 1854-1943
Archives Unbound: Municipal Gazette
Shanghai Municipal Council: The Municipal Gazette, 1908-1940
Archives Unbound: Policing the Shanghai International Settlement, 1894-1945
Records from the British-run police force in Shanghai's former International Settlement (an area administered by an international group of merchants and bankers). Includes information about political demonstrations, strikes, labor and social unrest, foreign and domestic subversive activities, and areas of dispute between the International Settlement and the Chinese government. The most extensive coverage documents the years 1929-1945.
Chinese Newspapers Collection (1832-1953)
English-language historical Chinese newspapers, including:
The North-China Herald (1850-1941)
The China Critic (1939-1946)
China Monthly Review (1950-1953)
The China Press (1925-1938)
The China Weekly Review (1923-1950)
The Chinese Recorder (1912-1941)
Millard's Review of the Far East (1917-1921)
The Shanghai Gazette (1919-1921)
The Shanghai Times (1914-1921)
Chinese Students’ Monthly Online
The Chinese Students Monthly was the first magazine published by Chinese students in the United States. This English-language magazine was published by The Chinese Students' Alliance, a nationwide organization of Chinese students studying in the United States. 1906 - 1931.
People's Daily (Renmin Ribao)
The official daily newspaper of the central government of the People's Republic of China. 1946 - present. In Chinese.
People's Liberation Army Daily [PLA Daily] [Jiefangjun Bao]
PLA Daily (Jiefangjun Bao) is the official newspaper of the military of the Peopleâs Republic of China. This Chinese language database is searchable from 1956-present using an English interface. 1956- present.
China Academic Journals
Indexing and fulltext content of articles in scholarly Chinese-language journals in political science, military affairs, law, economics, and management. 1994-present.
China Data Online
Statistics and reports on China's population, economy, and industries at the county or city level. Data is fairly recent (back to the 1980s).
A subscription based digital library of over one million images related to art, architecture, the humanities and social sciences
Contemporary World Music
Steaming music can be browsed by place or cultural group.
Illustrated London News Historical Archive 1842-2003
Digital archive of the world's first pictorial newspaper. Covers British and world events. Full-color facsimile and searchable text. 1842-2003.
A full-text scholarly journal archive, back to vol. 1, issue 1, in many fields.
National Geographic Archive, 1884-present
Every issue of the magazine in full color, browsable and searchable.
Polling The Nations
Database of questions from public opinion polls around the world. Search question text and get poll results. 1986 - present.
Please click on 'logout' when finished to release access to another user, as only one user is allowed access at a time.
Smithsonian Global Sound
Musical recordings in a diverse range of styles from around the world. Search or browse by country of origin, cultural group, instrument, artist, language and more.
Poole's Index to Periodical Literature (1802-1902)
A print index that covers general periodical literature.
Humanities Reference AI3.P822 1893.
Indexing, abstracting, and some links to full-text for many general interest magazines, in both Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890 - 1982) and Readers' Guide Abstracts (1983 to present). Great source for 20th-century historical primary sources.
Search for movies, documentaries, etc.
Online Primary Sources - Free Web Sites
East Asia Image Collections (Lafayette College)
Photographs, negatives, postcards, and slides of imperial Japan (1868-1945), its Asian empire (1895-1945) and occupied Japan (1947-52), including images of Taiwan, Japan, China, Korea, Manchuria, and Indonesia.
Great Kanto Earthquake (Brown University)
Over 100 photographs taken in Yokohama, Kyoto, Shanghai, and Hawaii, as well as many photographs purchased in Japan that document the 1923 earthquake's devastation. Also includes newspaper clippings, telegrams, postcards, and travel keepsakes.
"The Historic Shanghai blog is an effort to create a space dedicated to exploring the city’s fascinating heritage. A place where interested people – wherever in the world – can obtain information, exchange experiences and gain insights."
Internet East Asian History Sourcebook
Collection of primary sources gathered by Paul Halsall, Fordham University.
Time Archive (1923-present)
Back issues of the popular news magazine. (Hint: you can use the free online search to identify articles and then copy from the print version in Hayden or request through ILB to see the original article in context.)
"Virtual Shanghai is a research and resource platform on the history of Shanghai from the mid-nineteenth century to nowadays. It incorporates four sets of documents: essays, original documents, photographs, and maps."
Visualizing Cultures (MIT)
Images focusing on Japan in the modern world and early-modern China. Thematic image collections are introduced by essays.
World's Transportation Commission Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)
Nearly 900 images by American photographer William Henry Jackson. In addition to railroads, elephants, camels, horses, sleds and sleighs, sedan chairs, rickshaws, and other types of transportation, Jackson photographed city views, street and harbor scenes, landscapes, local inhabitants, and Commission members as they traveled through North Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania.
Digital Primary Sources from the Boston Public Library
With a BPL card or e-card, you can access a wealth of online historical primary sources.
17th & 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers
The newspapers and news pamphlets gathered by the Reverend Charles Burney (1757-1817) represent the largest single collection of 17th and 18th century English news media available from the British Library.
19th Century British Newspapers
Full runs of 48 newspapers specially selected by the British Library to best represent nineteenth century Britain.
19th Century US Newspapers
Full-text content and images from numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S.
Making of the Modern World, 1450-1850
Over 62,400 books, serials, pamphlets, essays and more. Tracks the development of the modern, western world through the lens of trade and wealth. In English and other languages.
Contains works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900's. Included are books, pamphlets, serials and other documents that provide original accounts of exploration, trade, colonialism, slavery and abolition, the western movement, Native Americans, military actions and much more.
Times [of London] Digital Archive, 1785-1985
Two hundred years of "the world's newspaper of record," the Times of London, is offered in searchable full text, including news articles, editorials, obituaries, and advertising. Either individual articles or entire pages can be viewed as facsimile images.
Primary Sources at Harvard
This is one of the top libraries in East Asian studies, and it's accessible to MIT students with a Harvard College Library Special Borrowers Card.
Harvard Libraries E-Resources
Harvard has a trove of online databases of primary source material, including historical newspapers, government documents, letters and diaries, and much more. With your Harvard Special Borrower card
, you can visit Harvard libraries and use these databases on the premises (sorry, you can't use them remotely). Take a look at the list of history and Asian studies databases for anything promising for your primary source research!
China: Culture and Society
Encompasses a wide variety of writings on the people and cultures of China and foreign involvement in China from the mid-18th to the early 20th centuries. The collection’s core consists of digitized versions of rare pamphlets from the Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia at Cornell University Library. Materials include: addresses and speeches; annual reports; assessments; catalogs; essays; examinations; guides and manuals; inquiries and studies; journals; lecture notes; letters; magazine articles; minutes of meetings; notes and records.
China: Trade, Politics and Culture 1793-1980
Digital manuscripts of two centuries of monumental social and political upheaval in China. Images include color paintings, maps and drawings by English and Chinese artists, as well as photographs, sketches and ephemeral items, depicting Chinese people, places, customs and events, history or art relating to China and the West,1793-1980. Scholarly essays, collections, and interactive and zoomable maps.
Tip: Follow the Footnotes!
It's not cheating to check the footnotes and bibliographies in your secondary and reference sources (books, journal articles, and encyclopedias) to identify primary sources for your own work. Following footnotes is an approach used by many scholars to identify not only relevant seconary literature, but also primary source bases.