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We are excited to share our new Library catalog and search tool! We hope that you will find it easy to search and explore our collections. If you need help, have questions, or want to share feedback, visit the Ask a Librarian page.

French and Francophone Studies

This is a guide to research in the language, literatures, and cultures of the French-speaking world.

What is a Primary Source

"Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later. Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original format, in microfilm/microfiche, in digital format, or in published format."--Yale University Library.

Finding Primary Sources

Search by keyword for your topic in the online catalog and add one of these words

  • charters
  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • early works
  • interviews
  • manuscripts
  • oratory
  • pamphlets
  • personal narratives
  • sources
  • speeches
  • letters
  • documents

Search for a subject such as France--History--20th century and add the subdivision Sources.

Primary Source Databases


Early Canadiana Online
Digital versions of texts of works from Canada's heritage. Includes Canadian
Women's History, Champlain Society Publications, Colonial Government
Journals, English Canadian Literature, and more.

France in America (Library of Congress American Memory)


Gerritsen Collection: Women's History Online, 1542-1945
Contains primary source materials in women's history that span four centuries and fifteen languages.

Union catalog of digital resources.

Key 19th C. Journals


La Belle Assemblee, or Court and Fashionable Magazine (available in British Periodicals)

Bow Bells (available in British Periodicals)

Century Magazine (AP2.C4)

Every Saturday: an Illustrated Weekly Journal (AP2.E93)

Harper's Magazine (AP2.H3)

Harper's Weekly (AP2.H32)

Ladies' Repository (fewer illustrations) (AP2.L15)

Life (AP2.L547)

L'Illustration (AP20.I3)

Die Gartenlaube (AP30.G24)

Diogenes (AP101.D5)

Puck (AP101.P7)

Punch (AP101.P8)

Kladderadatsch (AP105.K6)

Godey's Magazine (Special Collections/Grille and online in American Periodical Series)

Journal des Demoiselles (online in Gerritsen Collection but WITHOUT the plates!)