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.
Find the pdf version of yearbooks back to 1948. Information on population, birth and death statistics for most countries of the world will be found in these volumes.
In Library, physical copy: United Nations Demographic Yearbook, HA 17 .D45 (1965-66, 68, 1971-2004) in the main collection, 3rd floor. Current information is only available online.
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.
A collection of memoirs, letters, and other primary source documents, you can search by keyword or browse by chronological or thematic categories. History in Motion has historical film clips, and Voices has speeches. Coverage ranges from antiquity to the present with an emphasis on Europe and North America.
"The DPLA contains metadata records—information describing an item—for millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Each record links to the original object on the content provider’s website." (from the DPLA FAQ)
Archived at the Library of Congress, this audio collection contains the oral histories of individuals living in the United States. The narratives have been recorded throughout the United States using MobileBooths and StoryBooths and cover a range of historical topics, depending on the life history of the individual.
Click on link above, then "Search Options", then click the tab "Digital Copies"
This resource contains digital copies that are available for viewing of sources from the United States National Archives and Record Administration. An A/V label indicates a video, often from newsreels of the time. I found no size of file information in the records and some will take a while to load. Digitized photos and documents are also found here. The Advanced Search provides an option for searching within a date range.
"The Sixties...brings the 1960s alive through diaries, letters, autobiographies and other memoirs, written and oral histories, manifestos, government documents, memorabilia, and scholarly commentary. With 150,000 pages of material at completion, this searchable collection is the definitive electronic resource for students and scholars researching this important period in American history, culture, and politics." (from The Sixties main page)
"... brings together 105,000 pages of the personal writings of women of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, displayed as high-quality images of the original manuscripts, Semantically Indexed and online for the first time. The collection is drawn entirely from the extensive holdings of the American Antiquarian Society." (from Women's Letters... main page)
Covering events from 1896-1976, this collection of newsreel episodes covers disasters, historic events, fashion, celebrities and more.
Search the Library Collection for Primary Resources
Search the Library collection for more primary source documents using LC 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
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?
These two magazine archives are online-- article pdfs include advertisements: