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Historical Fiction

Resources that provide background information about people, places, settings, events and daily life.

Historical Statistics

Perhaps someone in your story needs to be knowledgeable about some facts...such as how many people died of influenza in 1918, or how many children were born in 1890.  See if your fact is recorded by checking these resources.

Primary Sources

In studies of past history, primary sources are documents written at the time of the event, or by someone who was alive during the time of the event.  If you find an article in a newspaper describing a current event, such as an article found in the Historic New York Times about the Hindenburg's explosion in 1937, that would be a primary source.  The 17th and 18th Century Burney Newspapers Collection and the Early English Books Online are sources of primary materials for the time periods they cover.  Besides looking in newspapers, the following links refer to other primary source documents.

Search the Library Collection for Primary Resources

Search the Library collection for more primary source documents using Subject Headings:

Use the "Advanced Search" in WorldCat Local, with a drop down menu selection of "Subject".
Type one of the following: diaries, personal narratives, anecdotes
In a second line, choose your drop down menu selection, and type in the text box your area of interest such as: civil war


More ... Primary Sources

Search the Library Collection for Statistics

Search the Library collection for more statistics compendia using Subject Headings similar to:

use “statistics” in “Advanced” search, drop down menu set to "Subject" 

Vital statistics—History—19th century

Education, Elementary—France—History—19th century—Statistics

Scanning old advertisements

You might obtain a great deal of information about common every day products by browsing the advertisements of a popular magazine or newspaper during your time period.  Do any of these titles cover dates within your story? 

Magazines (online)
These two magazine archives are online-- article pdfs include advertisements:

Magazines (microfilm)

These magazine titles are in microfilm and are located in the Albertsons Library retrieval facility. Ask for help at the Library Reference Desk or Circulation Desk! 

Harper’s magazine, Microfilm: v.1(1850:June)- v.253(1976:Aug.)  
   Published with various titles:  Harper’s new monthly magazine, Harper’s monthly magazine, and Harper’s magazine.

Harper’s weekly, Microfilm: v.1 (1857)-v.62 (1916:May)

The Saturday evening post, Microfilm: v.170(1898)-v.193(1921);v.233(1960)-v.277(2005) (also in print at AP2 .S2)

Scan through the digitized pages of one of the two historic online newspapers that the Library subscribes to: