What is a Primary Source?
A primary source is a document, speech, or other sort of evidence written, created or otherwise produced during the time under study. Primary sources offer an inside view of a particular event. Use the tabs on the left to find help locating different types of primary sources.
How to Use Primary Sources
General Examples of Primary Sources
- Original documents: autobiographies, diaries, e-mail, interviews, letters, minutes, news film footage, official records, photographs, raw research data, speeches, personal narratives, sources, memoirs, letters, dispatches, interviews, pamphlets, diaries, speeches, translations
- Creative works: art, drama, films, music, novels, poetry
- Relics or artifacts: buildings, clothing, DNA, furniture, jewelry, pottery
Specific Examples of Primary Sources
Plato's Republic - justice and philosophy in ancient Greece
The Declaration of Independence - U. S. history
The Diary of Anne Frank - experiences of Jews in World War II
Film footage of the assassination of President J. F. Kennedy - U.S. History