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History 311: The Age of Reformation: Primary Sources

This library guide is intended for students enrolled in Prof. Katherine Smith's History 311 course.

Art, Architecture, & Images

Images of art and architecture from the Reformation and Counter-Reformation may be useful as primary source materials, depending on your topic and approach.  For example, if you are exploring witch trials, or church rituals, or fashion norms, such images potentially could be very rich sources to analyze.

More Online Collections

Text Collections

Digital text collections and thematic anthologies (print or ebook format) provide a way to conduct a broader survey of available primary source materials.

You can search Primo with Library of Congress Subject Headings to find anthologies of primary sources. The "formula" is basically "large topic" + [optional geographic or chronological subheadings] + [optional disciplinary subheading] + "sources."  Here are some examples:

Reformation -- Sources

Counter-Reformation -- Sources

Gender identity -- Europe -- History -- Sources

Witchcraft -- Europe -- History -- Sources

Calvinism -- Europe -- History -- Sources

Anabaptists -- History -- Sources

Europe -- History -- 1492-1648 -- Sources



Scholarly Editions

English translations of many primary source materials relating to early modern Europe exist on the Web.  In most cases, the translations available online for free are those that are out of copyright (published prior to 1923).  It is good practice to see if a more recent scholarly edition and/or scholarly translation exists. 

For example, several English translations of Malleus maleficarum, a late fifteenth-century treatise on witchcraft, exist, but a more recent scholarly edition by Christopher Mackay likely would be most helpful if you were to use this as a primary source:

Mackay includes an introductory essay, extensive annotations, notes on translation, and information on the works the author cites.  Using this scholarly edition would help you contextualize this primary source.