Answered By: Joe Bond Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017 Views: 182
Most primary sources are created at the time an event occurred. Others, such as autobiographies, are produced much later. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, photographs, audio recordings and films.
Finding primary sources on specific topics can be tricky. Try the links below. Need help? Ask a Librarian!
Library Databases (an active Library Card is required)
Typically used for genealogical research, Ancestry contains Census records; birth, marriage and death records; immigration records; vital and church records; military records; and court, land and probate records.
- American West
Tales of frontier life, pioneers, Wild West shows, the Gold Rush, vigilantes and outlaws through primary sources.
- American Indian Histories and Cultures
Rare and significant documents including manuscripts, artworks, speeches and petitions, diaries, correspondence, linguistic and ethnographic studies, photographs, maps, photographs, rare printed books and American Indian newspapers.
An archive of academic journals in the social sciences, humanities and sciences. It is an excellent resource for primary source documents dating back to the seventeenth century.
- Academic Search Complete allows searching for primary source documents. Click ‘advanced search’ under the main search box, then in the box under ‘Publication Type’ on the right side of the screen, scroll down to select ‘Primary Source Document.’
- MasterFILE Premier also allows searching for primary source documents. Click ‘advanced search’ under the main search box, then on the lefthand side of the screen, in the box under ‘Publication Type’ select ‘Primary Source Document’ from the list of publication types.
- National Archives
Explore America's history through documents, photos and records.
- Library of Congress
Find digitized maps, photos, prints, drawings, newspapers, personal narratives, audio recordings and more.
- Smithsonian Source: Primary Source Search
Search by historical topic, like Colonial America, Westward Expansion and Civil Rights for artifacts, documents and photographs.