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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Find Primary Source Materials in Special Collections, Archives, and Digital Libraries

This guide for advanced researchers focuses on finding special collections, archives, and digital libraries resources on particular individuals or topics.


This guide is for advanced researchers who are focused on finding special collections, archives, and digital libraries with resources on particular topics or individuals. 

Some of the resources listed here are available in digital formats online, but others require traveling to an archive in person. If you plan to visit an archive, we recommend contacting them in advance to let them know you are coming and ask if there is anything you need to do to prepare for your visit to their collection.

Please note that this guide does not focus on collections related to the University of Illinois. Below are guides which do focus on these resources:

  • For primary sources from the catalog or U of I's special collections, consult the Undergraduate Library's Find Primary Sources guide.
  • The U of I Digital Collections guide lists where you can find digital collections related to the University, Illinois history, newspapers, literature, science, and other subjects.

Subject Specialists

Our Library has many subject librarians who can assist you with your research. You can find their contact information, as well as the U of I library focused on your subject discipline, by looking at this list of the Library's Subject Specialists.

Below are topical guides on finding primary sources in your area: