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History: Primary Sources

What are Primary Sources?

primary source is a first hand account, report, or original data on or about an event. These sources are often created at or near the time of event you are studying. Examples may include: Census records, Diaries, Photographs, Newspapers, Letters, and Speechs.

Images

Immigrants from "Prinzess Irene" going to Ellis Island

Photo by George G. Bain, courtesy of the Library of Congress

Looking for historical images, films, or audio?  Try the History Research- Media Page.

Newspapers

Databases & Websites

Historical Records

Census, death, birth, and marriage records are all primary source materials. 

Finding Books and More - Library Catalog

Books and ebooks are a great resource for primary sources. Famous speeches, diaries, letters, and personal accounts are often found in books. 
Search the Library Catalog: