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ASF 389|HIST 385|WGS 385: African Women's History

Primary Sources

Primary sources are firsthand accounts of events, recorded or produced by witnesses or recorders who were present at the time of the event or experienced the conditions being documented. Primary sources are characterized by their content, not their format. A primary source can be in a database, on microfilm, in print, etc.

Secondary sources are works that interpret or analyze an event or phenomenon. It is generally at least one-step removed from the event. Examples include scholarly or popular books and articles, reference books, and textbooks.

Digital Archives (Emory-Licensed)

Non-Emory Digital Archives

The Abolition of Slavery (The UK National Archives)

African Online Digital Library: "Provides free universal access to cultural heritage materials from and about African countries and communities. It brings together tens of thousands of digitized photographs, videos, archival documents, maps, interviews and oral histories in numerous African languages, many of which are contained in curated thematic galleries and teaching resources."

Digital Collections of German Colonial Documents (Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Bremen): Digital collection of German colonial documents from the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Bremen.

Endangered Archives Programme: History of Bolama, the first capital of Portuguese Guinea (1879-1941), as reflected in the Guinean National Historical Archives (EAP266)

Europeana Newspapers: "Explore the headlines, articles, advertisements, and opinion pieces from European newspapers from 20 countries, dating from 1618 to the 1980s."

Gallica Colonial Press: Provides access to 19th and 20th century French colonial newspapers.

In Motion: The TransAtlantic Slave Trade

Internet African History Sourcebook (Fordham University)

The National Archives Abolition of Slavery

National Library of France 

Recovered Histories: "Recovered Histories captures the narratives of the enslaved, enslavers, slave ship surgeons, abolitionists, parliamentarians, clergy, planters and rebels."

Slavery and Manumission Manuscripts of Timbuktu: "Digitized versions of approximately 200 19th-century manuscripts (in Arabic) relating to slavery and manumission in Timbuktu. These provide documentation on Africans in slavery in Muslim societies."

The Slave Route: UNESCO

Women in World History - Africa (George Mason University): Provides access to a few primary sources related to African women.


African Newspapers


Africa South of the Sahara: Historical Photographs 

Africana Historical Postcard Collection (LOC): "The “Africana Historic Postcard Collection” provides a visual record of Africa and Its people during the historically intensive years of European colonialism, from 1895 to 1960, and chronicles the transformation of the cultural, political and social landscape of the African continent."

Africa Through a Lens: "Explore incredible photographs spanning over 100 years of African history, from the 1860s onwards, taken from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office photographic collection (CO 1069). The full collection can be seen on Flickr, where you can add comments and tags."

British Library Images Online

Colonialism and the African Diaspora in Postcards (University of Cologne): Provides access to digital materials from the University of Cologne's collection.

The Humhprey Winterton Collection of East African Photographs: 1880-1960: "The collection depicts the breadth of African experience; documents African life; European life in Africa in all its manifestations; and the African landscape, in particular as it changed over time. Included are photographs showing the building of East Africa’s railways, the growth of its urban centers and the development of European colonial administration. There are outstanding examples of portraiture."

Images of Colonialism (Harvard University): "Made up largely of late-19th and early-20th century trade cards and illustrated European newspapers, this collection offers insight into European perspectives on varying aspects of colonial experience by documenting how popular perceptions of Asia and Africa were created and disseminated.The collection can also be used to draw contrasts between colonial attitudes among the French, British, German, and Dutch colonizers and the realities in the colonies."

Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora: "The images in Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora have been selected from a wide range of sources, most of them dating from the period of slavery. Our growing collection currently has over 1,200 images."

European Newspapers

Google Advanced Book Search


Google Advanced Book Search

  • You can find entire books for download that are out of copyright. 
  • A great resource for finding books written during the historical time period you are interested in.