Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are characterized by their content, regardless of their format.
Primary sources can be found in various collections, including libraries, museums, and online. In Montreal, good sources include the McGill Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, the McGill Archives, the McCord Museum and the BANQ.
1) A Guide to Archival Resources at McGill University
*A good place to start* Published by the McGill University Archives, the three volume set brings together descriptions of documentary resources held by McGill University collecting repositories including: McGill University Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections, Osler Library, Notman Photographic Archives, Montreal Neurological Institute, Blacker-Wood Library of Zoology and Ornithology, Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art, and the McCord Museum. Access the guide online or find a copy in the library.
To search all catalogued material in Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), search the library catalogue. For those items that are not yet catalogued, please review our collection descriptions, then visit RBSC for more information regarding on-site finding aids. The following are selected RBSC collections related to Canadian History:
The McCord Museum also provides access to selected collections through their online database.
As you look at books and journals on your topic, make note of where the authors did their research - a good reference will include information about the archive, library, or museum where they consulted the primary documents. With that information, have a look at the websites of those institutions to see what has been made available online.