Primary Sources


"Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons. These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research." - Reference and User Services Association


Newspaper Resources


Digital Public Library of America (DPLA): Primary Source Sets

Library of Congress Digital Collections

British History Online 

Links to primary source documents for European countries via Brigham Young University.

European archival materials on a variety of topics.

The French Revolution Digital Archive

Making of America 
Primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction.
Cornell University collections 
University of Michigan collections

U.S. Founding Documents (
Significant primary source documents from American history.

Primary Sources on the Web: Finding, Evaluating, Using 
A guide to help students and researchers find and evaluate primary sources available online, from the Reference and User Services Association.

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Last Modified 1/4/21