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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Twentieth-Century U.S. History


Learn more about periodicals:

These digital collections can be used to find primary source material in periodicals. The article indexes listed on the Find Journal Articles page, although more often used to find secondary sources, can also be used to find primary sources.


Learn more about using newspapers as primary sources:

The Library has access to a very extensive collection of newspapers from the 17th-century to the present. To find specific newspapers or newspapers from specific places, please consult our Newspaper Database and our Guide to Historical Newspapers

Alternative Press

Non-mainstream media, often referred to as "alternative" or "underground" press publications, can be difficult to locate. Publications in this category include newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and other types of serial publications. These periodicals tend to be written from an acknowledged political perspective--for example, liberal or conservative--and they often promote a specific agenda, such a labor unionism, socialism, or communism. They might, however, report on news that is of interest to a specific community--often a marginalized one--without endorsing any defined ideology.

The digital collections below provide access to a wide selection of "alternative" publications relevant to this class. Find more alternative press material on our Alternative Press guide.

Government Documents

Find more government documents, and learn more about using government documents as sources:

Legal/Judicial Sources

Audiovisual materials

Listed here are collections of digitized and/or streaming audiovisual materials including films and television broadcasts. To find additional digitized media, as well as original media materials, you can search the library catalog and limit results by material type (either sound recordings or video/film).

Multi-format collections

These collections are huge repositories of digitized primary sources, including many collections relevant to 20th-century US history. See the "Sources by topic" tab of this guide for collections on specific themes.

Major research libraries, including the U of I Library, have digitized primary source materials relating to 20th-century US history.