Skip to Main Content
Skip to Library Help widget

HIST 671- Research Seminar Southeastern Borderlands

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are materials created at the time of the topic you are researching, or by an eyewitness to the topic/event.  Primary sources enable historians to get as close as possible to documentation of what likely actually happened during a historical period or event.  For the purposes of History 630, you are working to identify chronicles or annals, that document what an eyewitness experienced during your topic focus.

Examples of Primary Sources

Primary sources are first-hand accounts of an event or time in history that has yet to be interpreted by another person.

Examples of primary sources include:

  • diaries, journals, letters, interviews, speeches, memos, manuscripts and other first-person accounts
  • memoirs and autobiographies
  • official records such as government publications, census data, court reports, police records
  • minutes, reports, correspondence of an organization or agency
  • newspaper and magazine articles written during the time of the event
  • photographs, paintings, film and television programs, audio recordings which document an event
  • research such as opinion polls which document attitudes and thought during the time of an event
  • artifacts such as objects, tools, clothing, etc. of the time period or eve+

Primary Sources via Library Databases & Beyond

US Diplomatic Documents and other Government Documents

  • The American State Papers, comprising a total of thirty-eight physical volumes, contain the legislative and executive documents of Congress during the period 1789 to 1838. The collection includes documents that cover the critical historical gap from 1789 to the printing of the first volume of the U.S. Serial Set in 1817. To Access the Serial Set visit US Congressional Serial Set

Important Journals & Magazines

Browse through Haithi Trust Records and the Making of America Project at Cornell University

Report ADA Problems with Library Services and Resources