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World War II, 1939-1945

A guide to finding primary sources from World War II.

Special WWII Collections at FSU

The Claude Pepper Library was established in 1985 as the official repository for the Pepper Collection, a unique and multi-faceted collection of manuscripts, photographs, audio/video recordings, and memorabilia by and about U.S. Congressman Claude Pepper (1900-1989).  See the results of a search for "Claude Pepper and World War II" in FSU Special Collections Finding Aids: Claude Pepper and World War II

World War I and II Papers, FSU Special Collections & Archives

This collection consists of two groups of items. There are three army regulations post cards dated "Somewhere in France," which are acknowledgement of thanks from soldiers at the front, and they are addressed to Miss C. Tracey at Erie, Pennsylvania, 1918. The other part of this collection is a newspaper, The Stars and Stripes, extra, dated Tuesday, May 8, 1945, with headlines "Nazis Quit." With the newspaper are two arm bands of the German armed forces, one red and black and one black on yellow.


This guide identifies primary sources related to the Second World War that are available in the Florida State University Libraries. Use the tabs across the top of the page to navigate between subjects.

The bulk of the material listed here deals with the United States & Germany, though Strozier has at least some sources from most other nations which participated in the war. Please feel free to use the contact information on the right side of this page if you have questions about any of these materials, know of something which should be added to the guide, or need help tracking down something which is not listed here.

To figure out how best to navigate this research guide, click on each tab (without selecting from the drop-down menu).  This will open a general page explaining the categories beneath each tab which provides an introduction to major groups of resources.  Please do not hesitate to contact us for additional research assistance.

Additional Resources Outside of FSU

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is another excellent resource for books, periodicals, manuscripts, newspapers, and archival materials in print, microfilm, and digital formats. FSU belongs to this international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries, which allows FSU patrons to borrow CRL materials via interlibrary loan for extended periods.

One way to identify key collections is through CRL Topic Guides.  See, for example, the Topic Guide for WWII and Aftermath, as well as topic guides on various regions and countries.

Hints for Searching the FSU Catalog and Discovery Tool

To search the FSU Libraries' Catalog (the catalog or inventory of ebooks and physical items such as books, microform, etc. in FSU Libraries' collections) : click on the “Find Books, Journals, and More" link on the left-hand menu , or select "Books and More" from the pull down, search menu in the top, right-hand corner ” on the Libraries' homepage

To do a one-stop search in our discovery tool (called "Summon," which brings together the items in the library catalog and most of our electronic resources, including primary source and secondary source databases), select "Summon Search" from the Research Tab across the top, or type your search term into the "One Search" box in the center of the Libraries' homepage.

The default search for either system is Basic search and this is a good way to begin if you only have a very general subject in mind (no specific searches)

+ You can also use this type of search to search for a specific work by title or author (using the pull-down menu to choose the appropriate       field – however, please be aware that you will not have the most accurate results using this interface to search by title and author, as explained in the section on advanced searching, below)

In either the catalog or Summon, a basic search means you put in your terms and simply click on search (do not select any particular field to search in).

+ Once you get an initial list of sources, you can narrow and find more sources several ways:

1. Re-sort the result list with “Sort By” drop-down menu box on right.  When searching for primary sources, I suggest resorting             by publication date -- oldest at top.  For secondary sources, do the reverse to find the most recent publications.

2. Use “Narrow Results by” (Catalog) or "Refine your Search (Summon) menus on left – narrow by format or subject or other             parameters

3. Click on the title link for a relevant resource and look at the record for more information.  For example, click on a subject heading to find more works with that heading, or copy the heading (or headings if more than one pertain) and run an advanced search for that heading (or part of the heading if it is too specific).  You can do the same with author to get a list of all books by that author.  Click on an electronic link to open the resource if appropriate, or to look at the table of contents. 

- The advanced search option lets you do more specialized searches

+ limit the search by selecting particular fields, such as title, author, subject heading, etc.

- In the Catalog you can also search for an exact title or author by clicking on the “search begins with (browse)” radio button and

- An even more precise form of advanced searching in the Catalog can be found by using “option 3” under advanced search (From the library’s homepage, click on “advanced search” and then scroll down to “Option 3: Search lists of titles, call numbers, etc”).   Some of the advanced features this offers are:

= truncating with * (make a word a wildcard search term with multiple options – such as africa* to get Africa, African, or Africans)

= browsing lists of subject headings (in “advanced search, option 3,” you can see a list of subject headings holding a keyword.  You can’t do this in the regular catalog because searching by a subject keyword automatically brings up a list of books, rather than the headings themselves).  Select "subject" in the pull-down menu to the left of the search box to use this feature.

= searching by specific call numbers (not just Library of Congress; this is especially useful for government documents and micromaterials).  Select the appropriate type of call number from the pull-down menu to the left of the search box to use this feature.

Subject Guide

Amauri Serrano
Strozier Library
Scholars Commons
(850) 645-2708

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