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Waidner-Spahr Library

Primary Sources: Finding Primary Sources Relating to an Individual

Primary Sources Relating to an Individual

Politicians, authors, artists, composers, activists, and other famous (and sometimes not-so-famous) individuals often have their correspondence, professional papers, diaries, memoirs, manuscripts, and other writings collected in books. The easiest way to find these documents is to search the library catalog for the person as an author. To do this:

  • Access the Catalog via the library homepage or from JumpStart:
  • Use the pulldown to change "Any Field" to “Author/Creator” and type your person’s name
  • Click "SEARCH"
  • When you complete your search, you will have a list of books written by your author or a list of books in which the author’s shorter works have been collected.


To find even more by individuals:

  • Repeat your search in WorldCat to find items that Dickinson does not own.
  • To access WorldCat, click on the “Databases” link from the from the left column of the library’s website then search for Worldcat by name or click on " W" and click on WorldCat to access the database.
  • Once in the database, type your person’s name on the first line of WorldCat’s search box, and, next to it, change Keyword to Author.
WorldCat Author Search
  • After you find a book you’d like to use, go back to the library’s website, click on the “Borrow From Other Libraries” link under Frequently Used Pages, and use PALCI EZBorrow (our Interlibrary Loan service for books) to obtain the item from one of Dickinson’s partner libraries.