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Core Sources in Russian, Former Soviet Union, and Eastern European History

This InfoGuide contains primary source resources and research strategies in Eastern European, Russian, and former Soviet Union History, including Russia and other Soviet republics, the Balkans, Poland, East Germany, and other Eastern European nations.

Library Catalogs

To find books in a catalog, try searching for your keywords and one of these LC Subject Headings for primary sources.

--correspondence; --description and travel; --interviews; --maps; --narratives; --collections; sources; --pictorial works; --diaries; --biography, --quotations; --discovery and exploration

Major Collections

Using Books as Primary Sources

To find books in a catalog, try searching for your keywords and one of these LC Subject Headings for primary sources.

  • correspondence
  • personal narratives  
  • interviews
  • sources
  • pictorial works
  • diaries
  • maps
  • biography
  • narratives
  • quotations
  • collections

From one vantage point, books are the quintessential secondary source: scholars use primary source materials such as letters and diaries to write books, which are in turn secondary sources. However, books can also be a rich source of primary source material. In some instances, as in the case of published memoirs, autobiographies, and published documents, it is easy to determine when a book functions as a primary source.

But even secondary source materials can function as primary sources. Take, for instance, Lytton Strachey’s famous history of nineteenth century England, Eminent Victorians, first published in 1918. On one hand, Eminent Victorians is a secondary source, a history of English society and culture in the 1800s based on Strachey's research and analysis of primary sources. On the other hand, a present-day scholar could treat Eminent Victorians itself as a primary source, using it to to analyze the mores and attitudes of Lytton Strachey and the early twentieth century English intelligentsia of which he was a part.