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HIST1992 Honors Workshop for Prospective Thesis Writers

Assistance in identifying materials for research on historical topics in the collections of the Brown University Library and elsewhere


Welcome to the Course Guide for HIST 1992: Honors Workshop for Prospective Thesis Writers. 

  • The Brown University Library collects, curates, and makes accessible a wide range of materials that can be used to design and carry out thesis research in History. From manuscripts and ephemera to early printed books and historical data sets (and so much more!), you can encounter research materials that will lead to inspired original research. 
  • Use this Guide to explore research strategies, identify primary and secondary sources, and locate/navigate archives and special collections with the goal of developing your thesis project in History.

Start Here!

  1. Explore links along the left panel to identify and access research materials and resources for thesis thinking. 
  2. Check out the DIY Research Support Guide and the BruKnow Research Guide for Library Orientation and Tutorials.
  3. Explore related Research Guides: 

    4. Schedule a one-on-one appointment with Leo to discuss your research plans

Secondary Sources: Key Databases

Maps at Brown

Map of the Panama Canal

State Historical Journals

Most state and local historical societies have now transferred the electronic backfile of their signature journals to JSTOR (linked below).  Others rely on home-grown database systems for backfile management.  If you cannot find the journal you are seeking in JSTOR, check the official website of the relevant historical society for information on where electronic copy, if any exists, might be found.


Many research collections at the Brown University Library are available for use only on microform -- a pre-digital technology for preserving, distributing and storing research materials on film, fiche or opaque card stock.  Microform collections require the use of a specialized machine reader which magnifies the image so as to render it readable.

Microform collections and machine readers are available to researchers on Level B of the Rockefeller Library.  A state of the art machine reader on Level B allows researchers to capture an image either as a printed paper copy, or as a digital image which can be stored on a USB memory stick.  Paper copies can be charged to your Brown card; for digital copies, you will need to bring your own memory stick.

Microform collections can be difficult to search successfully in the Library Catalog due to the format of the catalog record.  To identify microform collections in the holdings of the Brown University Library that are pertinent to your topic, we suggest that you try using BruKnow to search for   "[topic] microfilm."   



Some examples of primary documents that have been digitized as database collections: