Primary sources are documents, images or artifacts that provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning an historical topic under research investigation. Primary sources are original documents created or experienced contemporaneously with the event being researched. Some examples of primary source formats include:
What Are Primary Sources?
- archives and manuscript material
- photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, films
- journals, letters and diaries
- published books, newspapers and magazine clippings published at the time
- government publications
- oral histories
- records of organizations
- autobiographies and memoirs
- printed ephemera eg. show tickets, movie posters, ticket stubs, playing cards, postcards
- artifacts, e.g. clothing, costumes, furniture
- research data, e.g. public opinion polls
Subscription Databases: The Library's subscription databases contain primary sources. The databases allow you to limit your search to primary sources (sometimes referred to as "Documents"). It is a great place to start looking for primary sources.
Trusted websites: If you search for "primary sources" and a region or topic, look for government websites (.gov), museum websites, and college or university websites (.edu or .ac.uk).
For more information about primary sources, click here: https://libguides.ithaca.edu/research101/primary
Free Primary Source Websites
Documents and more:
https://blackfreedom.proquest.com/ - Proquest - Black Freedom Struggle in the United States
https://www.archives.gov/education/research/primary-sources - National Archives - US History
https://www.ourdocuments.gov/content.php?flash=false&page=milestone National Archives - 100 Milestone Documents US History
https://www.docsteach.org/documents National Archives for teachers - Click on the topic to find hundreds of primary source documents. US History
https://www.loc.gov/collections/ - Library of Congress - US & World History
https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/modsbookfull.asp - Fordham University Sourcebook - World History (ancient times to post WWII)
https://avalon.law.yale.edu/ - Yale University Avalon Project - US & World History - Historical law documents (ancient times-present)
http://historymatters.gmu.edu/search.php - George Mason University History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web
https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/ - Wilson Center Digital Archive - declassified international documents
https://eudocs.lib.byu.edu/index.php/Main_Page - Brigham Young University European History (ancient times to present)
https://www.wdl.org/en/- Library of Congress - US & World History (ancient times to present)
http://allegheny.libguides.com/c.php?g=656691&p=4610158 - Allegheny College has a list of primary source websites listed geographically.
https://historyexplorer.si.edu/search-results/?r=5&g=12&e=&c= - Smithsonian's History Explorer - artifacts presented by the Smithsonian (World and US history)
https://spartacus-educational.com/ Spartacus Educational is a great resource for global history. It contains free encyclopedia entries that directly connect to primary source documents.
https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/ New York Public Library Digital Collection
http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/ University of Houston Digital Collection - Resources column > Primary Sources
https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ - Library of Congress - America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 and the U.S. Newspaper Directory contains American newspapers published between 1690-present.
http://images.google.com/hosted/life - LIFE Magazine's photo archives (US and World History)
https://npg.si.edu/portraits - National Portrait Gallery (US History)