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Library Resources for History: Finding Primary Sources

This guide lists some basic information resources, including books journals, reference materials, and appropriate Internet sites for research in history.

What are primary sources?

Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred, or well after events occurred.  Primary sources may include:

  • letters
  • manuscripts
  • diaries
  • journals
  • oral histories
  • newspapers
  • speeches
  • interviews
  • memoirs
  • government documents
  • photographs
  • audio recordings
  • video recordings

 

These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past.  When they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research. 

Primary source databases available via IUS Library:

Primary source tools online