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Renaissance Women Writers: Primary Sources

Primary Sources

A primary source is a document, recording or other source of information created at the time being studied, by an authoritative source, usually one with direct personal knowledge of the events being described.

Primary sources include diaries, letters, family records, statistics, speeches, interviews, autobiographies, film, government documents, or original scientific research.

Primary sources can be found in Woodruff's Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL).

You can also find many primary source materials via discoverE.

Interlibrary Loan

Using Interlibrary Loan (ILL), you can:

  • borrow books and more from other libraries
  • get copies of articles that Emory doesn't own

You will be notified when your materials arrive (most materials are obtained within 2 weeks).

Primary Source Databases

Emory University makes a good deal of primary sources available to students in a digital format. To see the complete list of primary source databases available to students, click here

Below you will find a select list of databases that are particularly appropriate for your coursework. This list is not exhaustive.

Primary sources in electornic format

Early English Books Online

From the first book printed in English by William Caxton, through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War, Early English Books Online (EEBO) will contain over 125,000 titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640), Wing's Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700), and the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661).

Literature Online (dates vary)

A fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose, plus biographies, bibliographies and key criticism and reference resources.

Google Book Search

Google Book Search provides access to full-text primary sources in the public domain.

Perdita Manuscripts: Women Writers, 1500-1700

 Perdita means "lost woman" and the purpose of the Perdita Project has been to find early modern women authors who were "lost" because their writing exists only in manuscript form. Over 230 entries have been selected and digitized. In addition to the digital facsimiles, the site includes biographical and bibliographical information and essays by specialists in the field. 

Women Writers Online and Renaissance Women Online

Women Writers Online, the electronic textbase of the Brown University Women Writers Project (WWP), includes women's writing in English before 1830. Pre-Victorian and Renaissance writings covering religion, history, poetry, and literature are included.

17th and 18th Century Poetry from the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

These literary manuscripts include presentation volumes, commonplace books, and volumes of household accounts, which give context for the poetry and are valuable sources for social and cultural history.

Primary sources on microfilm

Woodruff library has a number of microfilm collections which are related to the topics covered in this class. Below is just a small list of some of the larger collections.The Microform Gateway is a good way to gain exposure to the kinds of materials available in microform.

Women advising women.

Microfilm 3546

The primary sources in this microfilm collection provide a wealth of material for a broad range of topics. Coverage ranges from 1631-1837. There are 1,151 individual titles available in this collection, including, but not limited to almanacs, broadsides, journals and pamphlets. There is an online guide available here. There is also a set of printed guides available in Microforms Reference, call number MICFILM 3546 GUIDE.

Medieval and Early Modern Women
Micfilm 4046

This project brings together a unique collection of manuscripts from the 12th to the 17th centuries describing women's lives, their status, and their literary achievements. Online guide available here.

Subject Guide

Chella Vaidyanathan's picture
Chella Vaidyanathan
Emory University
Robert W. Woodruff Library
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