More Information on Primary Sources
What are primary sources? Where can you find them?
What are primary sources?
Primary sources are firsthand accounts of events or conditions during a particular period, often recorded contemporaneously by participants or observers.
Written records are most likely to be available in library collections, either in manuscript form (in archives) or in published format, such as the collected and published letters of a colonial traveler.
- Diaries and journals
- Letters (correspondence)
- Speeches and sermons
- Notes (and other written materials describing experienced or observed events)
- Autobiographies and memoirs describing experienced or observed events (in hindsight)
- Newspaper articles
- Photographs, films, videos
- News broadcasts and transcripts
- Audio recordings documenting contemporary events
- Music, television shows, advertisements
- Art objects
- Buildings, monuments, etc.