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History: Pacific Northwest History


Pacific Northwest History

Information Sources


This Research Guide will help you find information in books, library databases, websites, and primary sources.

 Fort Spokane quartermaster's barn photo

Fort Spokane Quartermaster’s Barn
Source: National Park Service


Use the search box on the library webpage to find books.

If you're just wanting to browse, Pacific Northwest History books can be found in the 979s.

Books that check out are on the 2nd floor of the library.

Reference books are on the 1st floor. These include specialized encyclopedias and historical atlases. Reference books are often good starting points for research. Here are some examples:


cover of Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest 

Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest 

(R979.5 HAYES)


cover of Historical Atlas of Washington

Historical Atlas of Washington 

(R979.70223 SCOTT)


cover of New Encyclopedia of the American West

New Encyclopedia of the American West

(R978.003 NEW ENC)

Help with Research

You can get help with your research by chatting online with a librarian (available 24/7), by emailing us (, or by calling the SCC Library Reference Desk at (509) 533-8821 during our normal business hours.

Citation Guides
How to cite sources in Chicago style, plus other writing assistance information.

Library Databases

Library databases contain reliable information that is generally not available elsewhere on the Web. For this class the following databases will be particularly useful.  They can be found in the library databases section of the SCC Library homepageAccess from off-campus will require entering your student ID number. 

Primary Sources

What are Primary Sources?

 "Primary sources are the evidence of history, original records or objects created by participants or observers at the time historical events occurred or even well after events, as in memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include but are not limited to: letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, maps, speeches, interviews, documents produced by government agencies, photographs, audio or video recordings, born-digital items (e.g. emails), research data, and objects or artifacts (such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons). These sources serve as the raw materials historians use to interpret and analyze the past."

Source: Primary Sources on the Web: Finding, Evaluating, Using, Reference and User Services Association

Reference Books with Primary Sources

Located on the 1st floor of the library:

Annals of America (R973 An72o)

Early Washington Maps (Atlas Case 979.7 P926e2)

Encyclopedia of American Historical Documents (R 973.03 ENCYCLO)

Eyewitness to America: 500 Years of America in the Words of Those Who Saw It Happen (R 973 EYEWITN)

First Encounters: Native Voices on the Coming of the Europeans (R 909 FIRST E)

Historic Documents (R 973 HISTORI)

Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest (R 979.5 HAYES)

Historical Early Oregon (Atlas Case 911.795 H629e)

Milestone Documents in American History (R 973 MILESTO)

New Land, North of the Columbia: Historic Documents That Tell the Story of Washington State from Territory to Today (R 979.7 MCONAG)

Primary Sources in Books That Check Out

Ask a librarian to help you find books that have the following subheadings: correspondence, diaries, interviews, personal narratives, sources, speeches, documents.

Library Databases that include Primary Sources

Find these databases on the library's Research Databases page.

ARTstor - collection of art images, including photographs, manuscripts and maps

Salem Press - primary source documents with expert analysis and commentary

American History Online - features topic centers, biographies, primary sources, videos and slideshows, images, timelines, maps and graphs

 Websites that contain Primary Sources


Some local history journals

The library holds print copies of the journal Pacific Northwest Quarterly from 1970 onward. Use the index linked below to locate articles on a topic, then find the journal in the library periodicals room.

Oregon Historical Quarterly from 1901 to present is also housed in the library periodicals room. A link to the full Table of Contents from 1901 onward is linked below. (Some full-text articles from this journal and indexing from about 2002 is accessible through ProQuest.)

The Washington Historical Quarterly, precursor to Pacific Northwest Quarterly, is available full text from 1906 issues to 1935 though the UW digital archive.