Research Guide: Primary Sources

A primary source in history is a document or artifact created during the time under study. Some examples of primary sources include:

  • Political documents
  • Speeches
  • Oral histories
  • Letters and correspondence
  • Memoirs, diaries, and journals
  • Personal or business papers, reports, etc.
  • Pamphlets
  • Cartoons, artwork, or photographs
  • Newspaper or magazine articles
  • Advertisements

Finding Primary Sources in the Library's Collections

To find primary sources in the Library's collections, search OneSearch by combining a keyword for your topic with the type of primary source document. It can be helpful to limit your search to books. Some examples of searches include:

  • "American Revolution" and documents
  • Patton and papers
  • Vietnam and "oral history"
  • "Underground Railroad" and letters
  • Lincoln and correspondence
  • Secession and pamphlet
  • Overland and diary
  • Plague and source

History Sources

To get you started on your research, here are a few books that contain primary sources for American and world history. All of these books can be found on the fourth floor unless otherwise noted.

Title Location
Civil War: A History in Documents E 464. S 48 2001
Colonial North America and the Atlantic World: A History in Documents E 46. C 65 2009
Daily Life Through World History in Primary Documents CB 69. D 35 2009 (Reference Collection - 1st Floor)
Milestone Documents in American History E 173. M 62 2008 (Reference Collection - 1st Floor)
More Perfect Union: Documents in US History E 173. M 84 2009

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