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Puerto Rican Studies Subject Guide — Finding Primary Sources

Topics and resources for Puerto Rican Studies

Finding Primary Sources

Primary sources are texts, images, audiovisual recordings, or other materials produced during the time period and in the place an essay, research paper, or project analyzes.

Primary sources can include (but are not limited to): novels, poems, films, or magazines, diaries or journal entries that a scholar uses as evidence to analyze a topic. They can also include newspaper articles written at the time of the event, diaries or journals, letters or other correspondence, transcriptions or recordings of speeches, audiovisual recordings of an event, photographs, artwork, government records, business ledgers or files, or maps. Oral history interviews about a person's firsthand experiences are another kind of primary source. Scholars examine and use primary sources as evidence to support their argument or analysis of a topic. 

Puerto Rican Digital Primary Source Collections

Puerto Rico Citizenship Archives Project (PRCAP)

The Puerto Rico Citizenship Archives Project

The Puerto Rico Citizenship Archives Project (PRCAP) is part of a public repository designed to document the legal history of the extension of citizenship to the U.S. territories. The PRCAP provides a comprehensive overview of 120+ year story of debates over the extension of citizenship to Puerto Rico. It also provides public access to the key historical documents shaping this history. English and Spanish

Biblioteca Digital Puertorriqueña / Puerto Rican Digital Library

University of Puerto Rico LogoThe Biblioteca Digital Puertorriqueña includes caricatures, posters, labor movement documents, photographs (including photographs from the newspaper El Mundo), drawings, prints, and rare books from the University of Puerto Rico Library. Spanish

Chronicling America

Chronicling America LogoThe Chronicling America collection, supported by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for Humanities,  includes six digitized Puerto Rican newspapers from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. English with Spanish materials

Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (CENTRO)

Cento logoThe Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (CENTRO) is the largest university-based research institute, library, and archive dedicated to the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. The digital collection includes more than 2,000 photographs, documents, artifacts, art, maps, oral histories, moving images, audio clips, and other material pertaining to the Puerto Rican diaspora. English and Spanish materials

Archivo Virtual del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña

Archivo Virtual del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña LogoThe Archivo Virtual del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña includes audio and video of Puerto Rican music, as well as posters, film and journal issues.

Caribbean Digital Primary Source Collections

Digital Library of the Caribbean

Digital Library of the Caribbean LogoThe Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) comprises collections that speak to the similarities and differences in histories, cultures, languages and governmental systems. Types of collections include but are not limited to: newspapers, archives of Caribbean leaders and governments, official documents, documentation and numeric data for ecosystems, scientific scholarship, historic and contemporary maps, oral and popular histories, travel accounts, literature and poetry, musical expressions, and artifacts. English, Spanish, and French

Catalog of Digital Historical Newspapers (NewspaperCat)

NewspaperCat LogoThe Catalog of Digital Historical Newspapers (NewspaperCat) is a tool that facilitates the discovery of online digitized historical newspaper content from newspapers published in the United States and the Caribbean. NewspaperCat was funded by a grant from the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida. English with Spanish and French materials

Latin American Digital Primary Source Collections

Biblioteca Digital Hispánica

Logo of the Biblioteca Digital HispánicaThe Hispanic Digital Library of the Biblioteca Nacional de España provides access free of charge to thousands of digitized documents, including books printed from the 15th to the 20th century, manuscripts, drawings, engravings, pamphlets, posters, photographs, maps, atlases, music scores, historic newspapers and magazines and audio recordings. It includes materials not only from Spain but also from Latin America. Mostly Spanish, navigation available in English, Catalan, Euskara, Galician, and French

Biblioteca Hispánica

Image from the Bibloteca HispánicaThe Bibloteca Hispánica includes humanities and social science collections focused on Latin America and the Philippines. It includes materials on Spanish colonization in the Americas, Catholic Spanish kings, and conversion to Catholicism in the Americas. The oldest text in the collection is Coronica de las indias: la historia general de las indias, published in Salamanca in 1547. Spanish

Center for Research Libraries

The Center for Research Libraries collection includes digitized newspapers and magazines from Latin America. It also features an archive of domestic and foreign newspapers on microfilm, which can be borrowed through the library's Interlibrary Loan service. English, includes Spanish and Portuguese materials

Digital Archive of Latin American and Caribbean Ephemera

Digital Archive of Latin American and Caribbean EphemeraThe Digital Archive of Latin American and Caribbean Ephemera is a growing repository containing a previously unavailable subset of Princeton’s Latin American Ephemera Collection as well as newly acquired materials being digitized and added on an ongoing basis. The bulk of the materials currently found in the Digital Archive were originally created around the turn of the 20th century and after. The formats most commonly included are pamphlets, flyers, leaflets, brochures, posters, stickers, and postcards. These items were originally created by a wide array of social activists, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, political parties, public policy think tanks, and other types of organizations in order to publicize their views, positions, agendas, policies, events, and activities. English, Spanish, and Portuguese

Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice

Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice LogoThe Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice resource includes primary sources about the history of enslavement in the Atlantic world. It is designed for both teaching and research use, and includes extensive coverage of topics such as the African coast; the Middle Passage; the varieties of enslaved experiences (urban, domestic, industrial, farm, ranch and plantation); spiritualism and religion; resistance and revolts; the Underground Railroad; the abolition movement; legislation; education; the legacy of enslavement and enslavement today. English

UConn Archives and Special Collections

La Mariposa glauca de BoriquénUConn Library's Archives and Special Collections (ASC) includes several collections of rare books, journals, and government records relevant to Latin America and the Caribbean. The majority of the collections are accessible through an in-person visit to the archive, and several of these collections have been digitized. The tabs above include additional information about several relevant collections. Visit the Archives and Special Collections website for additional information about access and planning your visit

From Page of El Literal NewspaperThe Latin American Newspapers collection includes approximately 2000 titles of the Latin American and Caribbean newspapers. The collection is strongest for the late nineteenth century and contains newspapers from virtually every country of Latin America and the Caribbean. The most notable portion of the collection is represented by newspapers from Bolivia. The collection includes a short run of Dia de Gloria published in 1898 in San Juan.


José Géigel ZenónThe Puerto Rican Collection, formerly known as the Géigel Family Collection or Géigel Collection was created and maintained by the Géigel Family over three generations. The collection was started by José (Pepe) Géigel Zenón, who was a reporter and well known Puerto Rican intellectual, a relative of the writer Manuel Zenón Gandía, and a personal friend of the writer Alejandro Tapia y Rivera. His son Fernando Géigel and granddaughter Luisa Géigel continued to build the collection.

UConn acImage of Fernando J. Géigel y Sabat quired the Puerto Rican collection in the 1980s from Luisa Géigel with the help of historian Francisco Scarano who worked at the university at the time. Selections of the collection have been digitized, including Luisa Gégel's handwritten index of the books.

Additional information the collection is available on the bilingual Colección Digital Puertorriqueña/Digital Puerto Rican Collection guide.

José Geigel Zeón and Fernando Géigel Sabat, Géigel y Zenón, J., Morales Ferrer, A., and Géigel Sabat, F. Bibliografía puertorriqueña. Barcelona: Editorial Araluce, 1934.

Image of court documentThe Puerto Rico Civil Court Documents collection includes more than 10,000 pages of records produced by the Arecibo appellate court district between 1844 and 1900. It includes court cases from the towns of towns of Arecibo, Barceloneta, Camuy, Ciales, Hatillo, Manati, Morovis, Quebradillas, and Utuado.  

The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center acquired the collection in 2000. In 2012, a Latin American Materials Project (LAMP) grant funded digitization of the fragile documents, and the complete collection is viewable online.   

Microform Materials

Image of microfilm boxesMicroform Collections are located on Level B of the Babbidge Library.  These collections consist of microfilm (reels) and microfiche (sheets).  They are grouped by format and arranged alphabetically by collection title in the microform cabinets.  Microform collections are research materials that cannot be checked out from the library. See Finding Materials on Microform for additional information.