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Primary Sources at Stanford

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Welcome to the wonderful world of researching with primary sources at Stanford.

These pages are designed to help you begin exploring some of the resources Stanford can offer you: the following resources may help you with a range of projects you might be involved with, from your PWR research-based arguments to your own research projects you develop during your years at Stanford, including projects for SURP, Summer Research College, and/or your honors theses. 

Below you will find samples from a variety of different sources. Follow the links to find more information about each resource, and to see which research topics lend themselves to each collection.

Stanford University Archaeology Collections

The Stanford University Archaeology Collections is a museum-style anthropology collection of archaeological, ethnographic, visual, and documentary archival materials cared for by the Stanford Archaeology Center on behalf of Stanford University. The collection includes over 30,000 artifacts possessing global scope and regional strengths and reflects the university's unique collecting history.

Learn more about the Archaeology Collections

Hoover Archives and Library

The Hoover Archives are located in the Herbert Hoover Memorial Building next to the Hoover tower.  This non-circulating collection contains over 60 million documents as well as over 100,000 political posters from around the world and provides an amazing resource for primary research. Many of the archive collections have paper or online finding aids to help you search the materials. Check out their wonderful in-depth guide on using the archives, and view a detailed selection of a subset of their collections along with ideas on how to use them.

Learn More About the Hoover Institution on their website 

Green Library Special Collections

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives is the principal repository for Stanford’s holdings of rare books, manuscripts, and other materials requiring special care and knowledge. The University Archives holds the historically valuable and legally significant records of the University and Stanford community members. Ranging in date from third century B.C. papyri to the latest Stanford Daily, the collections cover numerous subject areas, including history of science, history of Silicon Valley, classical to modern and contemporary literature, Californiana and Western history, the arts, the Mexican American experience, and of course, the history of Stanford. Take a look at this small subset of their incredibly interesting collections!

Learn More About Special Collections and the University Archives

Stanford University Music Library Archives

The Stanford Music Library houses an impressive range of recordings and archival audio—from streaming audio, to sheet music, World War II radio shows, and a range of authors reading their works.  The library is located in the Braun Music Center, in the center of campus, near the Post Office and the Law School, but a vast array of its holdings are available through its website.

Learn More about the Stanford Music Library

Art and Architecture Library

The Art and Architecture Library offers a rich collection of both online image collections and a huge range of books, including art catalogs, art treatises, art instruction and technical manuals, illuminated manuscripts facsimiles, emblem books from the 16th–18th century, and much more.  You may now take books out of the Art Library for 7 days, and you may renew online. This means that the art books you used to have to use in the library can go home with you, a policy which has been greeted with great enthusiasm by students and faculty alike.

Learn More About the Art and Architecture Library

Cantor Arts Center

The Cantor Arts Center's diverse collections span continents, cultures, and 4,000 years of art history and include the largest gathering of Rodin bronzes outside Paris, plus a large collection of outdoor art.  Students in all departments and disciplines are encouraged to use the museum as a resource for academic and informal inquiry, to support their studies and personal growth.  Staff are available to help you access objects that are not on view; information about collections, exhibitions, and research opportunities are available on the Cantor’s website.

Learn More About the Cantor Arts Center

Branner Earth Sciences Library

Branner Earth Sciences Library includes nearly 300,000 cartographic items as part of its Map Collections.  Its collections include topographic maps for nearly every country, thematic maps, detailed city maps, a strong collection of road maps for California, and a world-class earth sciences/geology section.

Learn More about Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections

Sources about Stanford and Stanford History

The history of both the Stanford family and the University offer many possibilities for your research.  A number of different online resources are available for researching topics about Stanford, including Stanford magazines, websites, newspapers, and special reports.

Learn More About Stanfordiana Collections

Sample Student Research Papers

You might find it helpful to look at some of the research papers which students have written based on their research with primary sources: