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History: Primary Sources

A general guide to library and web resources in the field of history.

What is a Primary Source?

According to the Library of Congress, "Primary sources are the raw materials of history— original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience."

Primary Source Databases

Explore these databases to discover primary source material that includes speeches, original news accounts, and much more.

Primary Sources in Library Books

The library's collection includes a wide array of books, both in print and online, that contain primary source documents, including speeches, letters, news accounts, and more. Below is a selection of the kinds of resources you can find in the library, but remember, this is only a selection. If you don't see what you want here, search the library catalog for more or Ask a Librarian for help!

Historical Texts Online

More Primary Sources on the Web