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.
Where can I find primary sources? Who provides access to sources?
Although you can sometimes find digitized primary sources online, you can also find published collections of primary documents (sometimes translated). For larger projects, scholars usually visit collections and archives to view the actual documents first-hand.
If you're struggling to find sources, take a step back and ask yourself: who would care about preserving the kinds of sources I need? Who would bother collecting them? What sort of library, archive, museum (etc.) might care about this kind of document?