Guide to Primary Sources: Primary Sources -- Introduction

What is a primary source?

A primary source is an original material created during the time under study. Primary sources can be original documents (such as letters, speeches, diaries), creative works (such as art, novels, music and film), published materials of the times (newspapers, magazines, memoirs, etc.), institutional and government documents (treaties, laws, court cases, marriage records) or relics and artifacts (such as buildings, clothing, or furniture).

Where can I find primary sources?

Welcome to the library guide to primary sources!

You will find a wide variety of primary sources available to researchers. Some of them are in print, some available through on-line subscription databases, and many are freely accessible on the Web. Use the tabs above to navigate to these various sources.

Ten frames of Trafalgar Square shot by Wordsworth Donisthorpe in 1890. From The History of The Discovery of Cinematography - 1885 - 1889 via Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 13, 2010.

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