Depending on your topic and the time period you are interested in, you will use different types of primary sources: documents, letters, speeches, memoirs,literary texts, photographs, articles written at the time, etc. You also need to find the documents in English translation. Fortunately, there are several collections of documents related to the history of China that have been collated, translated, and published. In addition many primary sources have been digitized and made available on the web. Below are some examples.
The sources listed on the right are examples of what's available in the library. You can also find many primary sources on the web. Here are just a few examples:
Political Communication and Mass Education in the Early Period of the Peopole's Republic of China
The East Asian Collection
More than 500 historic photographs of China
Historical Photographs of China
More than 1000 photographs of China from the mid 19th to mid 20th century.
Hong Kong Government Reports Online (1842-1941)
Digital collection of four major government publications
Ling Long's Women's Magazine
Women's magazine published in Shanghai 1931 - 1937.
Chinese Posters Collection (from the International Institute of Social History)