Where to find Primary Sources

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What is a primary source ?

A source created by people who actually saw or participated in an event and recorded that event or their reactions to it immediately after the event.  Examples:  Original manuscripts, photographs, newspapers, oral histories, documentaries, historic sites, and artifacts are among the numerous and varied "eyewitness accounts" that can provide students with a richer and more descriptive explanation of the past than those found in traditional textbooks.

Where to start
Library Databases - start in Library Resources

  • Opposing Viewpoints - documents, and opinions  - includes the 'Pro or Con' of an issue
  • Proquest Historical Newspapers - 5 newspapers with articles dating back to 1851
  • Readers' Guide Retrospective - very old magazine articles back to 1890
  • History in Context - World History and U.S. History - journals, newspapers and e-books

Library Books - (These are examples of what is available - there are many, many more)

  • Annals of America
  • Great Events of the 20th Century
  • Major Presidential Decisions
  • Speeches of the American Presidents
  • Imperialism: A History in Documents
  • World War I: A History in Documents
  • English Historical Documents
  • Primary Sources: World War I
  • Dictionary of Historical Documents
  • Primary Sources: Vietnam War
  • Books of Quotations
  • War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence


Presidential Libraries


Documents of Social Justice
SoJust.net provides a document history of social justice, civil rights, equity, peace, and activism. Uncover the history of anti-racism, suffrage, the gay rights movement, labor activism, and other movements through historic speeches, song lyrics, poetry, essays, and other documentary artifacts related to social justice  http://www.sojust.net

Constitutions of the World

U.S History

Civil War 

World War I


World War II


European History

Medieval Times

Political Cartoons


updated: 12-2010


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