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English Research Guide

Searching for Primary Sources from the Early Modern Period

Primary sources can provide unique details about the Early Modern Period. These items are produced during this time period by those who lived through it. For example, you might look at sources such as plays, poems, letters, texts, ballads, and other works produced between 1500-1800 to a glimpse into this time period. Remember that primary sources are produced by people who lived during a specific time period.  

Archives are a great location for primary sources. Archives preserve rare and unique items from the past. You may come across one-of-a-kind collections, photographs, manuscripts, pamphlets, and other items that aren't found anywhere else. Below is a list of archives that may prove useful to you as you search for primary sources. For additional help, consult a librarian to assist you   

General Resources:


Botanical Resources:


Animal Resources:


Human/Body Resources:

Searching for Secondary Sources from The Early Modern Period

Unlike primary sources, secondary sources are not produced by the people who lived during a specific time period. These resources are typically produced years later and include commentary or analysis that was not possible at the time.

You can access secondary sources available at the HSU Library through the OneSearch catalog. You might, for example, try a search using one of the following combinations:

 early modern period AND poems

early modern period AND plays

17th century AND ballads

Note that you will want to use the Boolean AND when you use multiple terms. OR can be used when you have two similar or related terms (ex: poems OR poetry) and NOT can be used to exclude items.

Secondary sources can be found in our library catalog or databases. For a list of English-specific databases, visit the Finding Articles tab on this research guide.    

InterLibrary Loan

You may come across sources in the library databases or OneSearch that do not allow for immediate access. If that happens, use InterLibrary Loan. This is a free service that provides you with access to sources from other libraries. Start your research early so that if you need to access an item that the HSU Library does not have, you will have time to allow for ILL to get the item to you. Do NOT pay for peer-reviewed articles. ILL can get articles to you at no charge.