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Primary Sources

A guide to locating primary sources


What is a Primary Source?


Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence


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

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2021 4:27 PM