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Historiography: 1. Bloomsburg Special Collections

What are Primary Sources

For history students, primary sources are materials that were produced during the period you are researching or by people who witnessed or were involved in events. What constitutes a primary source may depend on the context in which you use it.  For example, Winston Churchill's A History of the English-Speaking Peoples would be a secondary source if you were studying the history of England but a primary source if you were studying the life and writings of Churchill.  Thus, many types of materials can be used as primary sources, but you will generally want to look for things like letters, diaries, speeches, company records, government documents, newspapers, films, photographs, artifacts, etc.

Sources in the Bloomsburg Special Collections

Some of the specific collections that are part of Special Collections at Bloomsburg Library:

  • Art exhibition catalog collection of nearly 10,000 items
  • Subject Area Concentrations of books on the following topics: Circuses and Animal Training, Coal Mining & the Molly Maguires, Tiffany & Stained Glass Windows, and Trains & Trolleys.
  • Automobile Collection consisting primarily of runs of various periodicals and several books
  • The Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble Collection, comprising programs, posters, publications and production books of this acclaimed theatre group since its inception in 1978.
  • Covered Bridge Collection of books and ephemera about covered bridges
  • Elinor Keefer Collection of all Caldecott and Newbery award winners
  • The Joseph P. Tustin Papers, including the original diaries of Hessian Revolutionary War officer Captain Johann Ewald.  The diaries date from 1776-1784, and cover his service with the British Army during the war.  They also include many colored pen-and-ink maps drawn by Ewald, most done while in the field.  See the maps here.
  • Radical Labor Publications Collection containing over 1000 pamphlets, booklets. brochures, and newsletters by members of communist, socialist, and labor organizations dating from the 1920s to the 1960s. A listing by author and title has been provided for over 900 of these publications.  Digital images of a number of newsletters, including the American Bulletin, Counterattack, Socialist Monthly, and Negro Labor News Service can be viewed here.
  • The David Greenwald Radical Student Publications Collection containing primarily fliers but also brochures, catalogs, pamphlets, small posters and speeches documenting a variety of issues that students and young people in the Berkeley and San Francisco Bay area faced from 1966 to 1972. These include the Vietnam War, the draft, mind-expanding drugs, race, politics, educational issues on the University of California campus and concerts by local rock groups.

 Full-Text Historical Resources

  • Contemporary newspaper articles on the Bloomsburg Mollie Maguires: Patrick Hester, Patrick Tully, and Peter McHugh, who were tried, convicted, and hung in 1878 for the murder of Alexander Rea ten years before.  The newspaper coverage includes the Chicago Tribune, Columbia County Republican, the Columbian, the Miners Journal, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and the Williamsport Sun and can be seen here.

To search for sources in Special Collections:

A number of the indexes and finding aids to Bloomsburg's archival holdings are paper-based and must be consulted on the 3rd floor Special Collections of Harvey A. Andurss Library.

To find documents in special collections:

    * Go to Primo, Online Catalog
    * Under Search Limits, change location: "Special Collections" (from the drop down list).
    * Go back to search screen and enter your search term(s), like "football," and click Search Catalog.


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