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EDUC 607: Higher Education in the US: Finding Primary Sources: Library Collections

A guide to accompany Dr. Marie Martin's course.

Primary Sources

A primary source is a document or record containing firsthand information or original data on a topic. Primary sources are created contemporaneously with the topic they describe. Examples of primary sources include:

  •  Original manuscripts
  •  Diaries
  •  Memoirs 
  •  Letters
  •  Journals 
  •  Photographs
  •  Drawings
  •  Interviews
  •  Government documents
  •  Public records
  •  Eyewitness accounts
  •  Artifacts

Summary of characteristics: 

  • Original, first-hand account of an event or time period
  • Usually written or made during or close to the event or time period
  • Original, creative writing or works of art
  • Factual, not interpretive

Find Information


Newspapers as Primary Sources