Database of the Month: World History & U. S. History in Context

A very popular question at the Reference Desk is “Where can I find primary sources?”

Today we want to highlight two full text databases, World History in Context & U. S. History in Context, which help find and provide primary sources.database logos

  • World History In Context – reaches back to the ancient world to provide a chronicle of cultures and societies that have shaped history. Content includes articles, videos, charts, images, infographics and primary sources. Sources are organized into different topic areas such as: Biographies – Countries, Cultures, and Civilizations – Economics – Events, Periods, and Cultural Trends – Political Constructs, Movements and Organizations – Religions – Wars and Conflicts.
  • U.S. History In Context – covers the most-significant people, events, and topics in U.S. history. Content includes major reference works, millions of news and periodical articles, and most significantly, more than 5,000 rare and vital primary source documents (from slave journals to presidential papers). Sources are organized into different topic areas such as: African American Perspectives – American Colonies – Biographies – Court Cases and the Supreme Court – Economics – Events, Decades, and Cultural Trends – Government Documents – Hispanic Americans – National History Day Topic – Native Americans – Political Constructs, Movements, and Organizations – Wars and Conflicts.

You can cross-search both collections using the Advanced search. After going into either of the databases, click on Advanced to the right of the search box to bring up the advanced search interface, then choose the “Both U. S. & World History” radio button.

Search Example:


Before clicking on the orange Search button, you can also limit to content type (i.e. primary sources) to focus your results even further. 

These are just two of the many resources the Bentley Library provides which include primary sources. Contact a Reference Librarian for additional recommendations.

Connect to the Database

Please visit our Databases A-Z page and click either World History in Context or U. S. History in Context to begin your search.


Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to a useful website or Library database, highlighting key features you should know about. If you would like more information about these resources (or any of the library’s databases), please contact us for research assistance. If you would like a demonstration of this resource for a class, please schedule a research instruction class using the instruction request form.