HU 3900: Inquiry Seminar - History of Popular Science

Finding Primary Sources

Researchers often use firsthand accounts of specific events, or direct investigations to understand events from the viewpoint of people living during that time period. Primary materials can be diaries, news stories from that time period, personal journals, interviews, oral histories, letters, manuscripts, and a variety of visual documents such as photogrpahs and maps. For popular reaction to events/issues, try searching the Letters to the Editor in a newspaper such as the New York Times.

New York Times

New York Times

The Robert A. Foisie School of Business is sponsoring free access for everyone with a WPI email address to for the 2017-18 academic year.  This exciting service will provide you with an e-subscription to The New York Times to stay connected with the events of the day.  In addition, you will have access to the extensive NYT database dating back to 1851 – a tremendous research tool.  Several faculty in the School of Business are incorporating The Times into their courses and we trust this service will add value in a variety of ways across campus.

To set up your account, go to:  (If on campus or otherwise within the WPI IP range)  (If off campus and outside the WPI IP range)

Once you have activated your account you can log in no matter where you are at​

You can also access New York Times articles from 1851 to 2013 via the New York Times Historical database from ProQuest:

Primary Source Examples

WPI Archives

The Gordon Library Archives are a great resource for primary sources. To learn more about the Archives' collections or to schedule a visit to the Archives, please call 508-831-6112 or e-mail