Skip to main content

BOS 101: Innovation at the Intersection of Art and Science: Primary Sources

Resources for BOS 101, Section 03SS

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 Sources in Library Databases

Explore these databases to discover primary source material that includes speeches, original news accounts, contemporary book reviews, 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!

Primary Sources on the Web

National Woman's Party activists watch Alice Paul sew a star onto the NWP Ratification Flag, representing another state's ratification of the 19th amendment. From the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress.


The web contains a wealth of digitized primary source materials documenting the political, economic, and cultural history of the 20th Century.  Below are some high-quality selected sites that include primary source material such as film clips, digitized documents, printed pamphlets, and much more.  As always, if you're searching the web, make sure to read the Using Google page in this guide in order to evaluate the sources that you find!