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Primary Sources: Home

This guide contains resources and guidance to help students find primary sources



This guide will help you find primary sources and evaluate them effectively. It will also help you understand the characteristics of primary sources & how they differ from secondary sources. 

Key resources


Here is a list of key databases for primary sources:

What are primary sources?


Primary sources are the raw materials of history created at the time historical events occurred or after the events in the form of memoirs, autobiographies, and oral histories.

They contain direct evidence and contemporary accounts from people directly involved in an event.

Why use primary sources?


Primary sources are unfiltered records from the past, meaning that they haven't been modified or manipulated by interpretation. 

Primary sources provide clues that help you relate in a personal way to events of the past and promote a deeper understanding of history as a series of human events.

In using primary sources, you can create your own interpretation of the source, as opposed to relying on a secondary sources interpretation.

Types of primary sources