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HIST 112 Modern World Since 1550: Find Primary Sources

A guide for HIST 112 Modern World Since 1550

What is a Primary Source

What is a Primary Resource?

Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence created by participants and/or observers of a historical event or time period enabling researchers to get as close to the truth of what actually happened. Often, these materials are created at the time when the events or conditions occured. However, primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs and oral histories that are written or recorded later. 

Primary sources are characterized by their content not their format.  Therefore, primary sources can be found in published books, on microfilm/microfiche, in digital form or in their original format.

The following types of materials are generally considered primary resources:

  • Diaries or journals
  • Letters or other manuscripts
  • Speeches and interviews
  • Photographs
  • Sound recordings
  • Video or motion picture recordings
  • Memoirs and autobiographies. 
  • Published materials from the time (books, magazine and/or newspaper articles)
  • Government documents
  • Objects and artifacts

Find Primary Sources in Books and Pamphlets

Primary Source Images and Video

Find Primary Sources in Books

Search LibrarySearch to find primary sources in books and other works.   When searching the catalog, you will want to use specific words your searches to single out the primary source materials.  These words are specialized "tags" added to the records to books by catalog librarians to provide accurate descriptions of books.  Using the following words in your search will help you find the source material you seek:

correspondence personal narratives
diary               reader
documentary history               songs and music
sources documents




Find Primary Sources in Magazines and Periodicals

Find Primary Sources in Newspapers