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Primary Sources


What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are original materials. It is a source of information that was created at the time you are studying. They are original materials on which other research is based. They can be physical, print or electronic formats.


Some examples of primary sources:


- Artifacts

- Audio recordings

- Diaries / Journals

- Interviews (oral histories, etc.)

- Newspaper articles written at the time

- Original documents (trial transcripts, etc.)

- Records of organizations

- Proceedings of meetings

- Works of art

- Photographs

Primary Source Databases


ProQuest Historical Newspapers for Students

A subscription database in the JPC collection.


Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Digital copies of the original Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Search back issues from 1841-1902.


American Memory Project

Resources from the Library of Congress


In the First Person

Index letters, diaries, oral histories, and personal narratives.


Digital History

An annotated selection of primary sources.

Topical Primary Sources 

Lewis and Clark



Lewis & Clark and Mountain Men

Mountain Men

Gold Rush

Documents from American Memory Project

Louisiana Purchase
The Dawes Act

Slavery Issues

Digital Quaker Collection (Good for Slavery topics, Underground Railroad, abolitionist)

Amistad Trials

Dred Scott

John Brown

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Civil War Related

Documenting the American South

Eyewitness to History

Civil War topics

Native Americans
Wounded Knee
Indian Removal

Biographical Resources

Mark Twain in His Times

Thomas Jefferson

Mark Twain Letters

Women's Issues

American Women's History (various topics)

Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment

Additional Information on Primary Sources

Using Primary Sources on the Web

Primary Source Directory