Finding Sources

Sources for the history of policing can be found numerous classes of historical record.  This page lists a variety of such classes and offers links to resources for exploring them. We start with two general resources: HOLLIS and HathiTrust.


Searching in HathiTrust

Hathitrust is a huge general digital library similar to, and partly overlapping in content with, Google Books and Internet Archive but with some special features.  You can do a full text search over the whole collection of millions of books and journals and then effectively refine the results. Use Full Text Advanced Search. You can search for a keyword in, say, travel books (Subject term: "Description and travel") on a certain country for a specified time period.  Pre-1923 and some later material will be full text viewable as well as searchable. For copyrighted material, you can find out on what page your term occurs.


Look for specialized subject bibliographies in the HOLLIS Catalog: Search, for example, <"foreign relations" Africa  bibliography [Subject Keyword search]>.  The term Bibliography MUST be searched as a Subject keyword: Change Limit to:anywhere to Limit to: subject. 

Appendix II: Working with Primary Sources. Supplement to Marc Trachtenberg, The Craft of International History, Princeton University Press, 2006 Revised: October, 2017.

Congressional hearings on American Defense Policy 1947-1971:  An Annotated Bibliography, by Richard Burt. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1974, 377 pp.


Biographic register of the Department of State (1870-1974)
Google Books (1870, 1874)
Hathitrust (1916) (1945)
Internet Archive (1911)
--Lists diplomats and consuls together with biographies if the recently deceased.

Diaries and Other Personal Writings

Many diaries, letters and  other personal writings are available in print or full text online.

To find them in HOLLIS search: Diplomats AND (diaries OR archives OR correspondence OR Interviews).

Foreign Affairs Oral History Program (Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training)

British Diplomatic Oral History Programme

Primary sources in European diplomacy, 1914-1945: a bibliography of published memoirs and diaries, by Frederic M. Messick. NY: Greenwood Press, 1987, 221 p.
Widener | WID-LC | D443.Z99 M47 x, 1987 (In-Library Use only)

Autobiographies usually bear the Subject term Biography, and so are not distinguished from biographies. The search Autobiographies OR Autobiography yields many autobiographies, but by no means all.

Government Sources

ProQuest Congressional provides indexing for Congressional publications dating from 1790 to the present. Post-1970, full-text access is often available. Publications included are Committee Hearings, House and Senate Documents, House and Senate Reports, Senate Executive Reports, Senate Executive Treaty Documents, Legislative Histories, Serial Set Maps, Serial Set. More information from ProQuestProQuest has a Research Guide to Government Documents.

Policy Literature, Working Papers, Think Tank Reports

Policy institute, think tanks and related organizations often publish their reports themselves so they do not appear in the ordinary sources. These two sources offer access to this literature.

PolicyFile (1990-). Go to  the Subject List and choose Law Enforcement. Then check .

Think Tank Search - from the Kennedy School of Government, a customized Google search of documents produced by think tanks.

CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online) includes working papers, reports, policy briefs from numerous NGO's, together with records for books and periodical articles