Large trove of digitized books; items before 1925 are often full text and copyright free. This is a way to discover older writings, though heavily biased towards anglo-european sources.
Sample technique for finding travel logs in Open Library:
1) Select ebook books
2) search terms: Malaya travel
3) scan list for appropriate dates and icon that says "Read online"
4) Open "Read Online"
5) In "Search this book" Enter the keyword you really want to see
for instance: opium
Little pins will show up for each instance of your word and you can hover over the pin to see the word in context. The more pins in the book, the more your term appears!
Using Memoirs for Asian and Asian American History
The list of memoirs in the two documents below, one for East Asia and the other for Southeast Asia, not only provide a sample bibliography of memoirs, but in this course-related format suggests how memoirs can be grouped for curricular purposes of classroom presentations. Dr. Margaret Bodemer has compiled these lists for her memoir project in undergraduate, upper-division courses in Modern East Asia and Modern Southeast Asia History at Cal Poly.
Note: The list only includes works that have been translated into English. For the most part, with a few exceptions, the list also only includes works that are written by a person from one of the countries of Southeast Asia (Viet Nam, Cambodia, Myanmar/Burma, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Singapore, East Timor, The Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei) or East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Republic of China (Taiwan) and Okinawa) in an effort to “de-Orientalize” the teaching of Asian Studies.
Please contact Dr. Bodemer at firstname.lastname@example.org for the assignment or for further information, and especially if you have any suggestions of memoirs to add!