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Primary Sources US History: Home

Primary Source Resources

What is a Primary Source?

—“A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event.” (“What is a Primary Source”-Princeton University.)
In short--things created during the time being studied
Original Documents: Letters; Diaries; Memos; News in Print, on Film, in audio; Data; Statistics; Autobiographies; Speeches Interviews; Legal Documents; Laws; Treaties; Maps; Photographs.
Creative Works: Paintings; Music; Lyrics; Poetry; Dramas; Films; Novels.
Objects/Artifacts: Pottery; Clothing; Buildings; any object you can touch.



Reminder: Autobiographies make a great primary source but you can also get primary source materials from other books about your topic. These books may contain photographs, letters, interviews, quotes, etc. that you may use as a primary source material.


Websites-Where to Look

There are MANY great places out on the internet to find primary source materials!

Is your person affiliated with an specific organization? Look for their website.

Many museums and historical societies digitize and make their resources available online.

Look at government agencies for statistics and data.

Here are just a sampling for some places to look...


Ask a Librarian

Stuck? Confused? Want help?

Ask a librarian! We are research and resource experts here to help you with all of your information and research needs.

Come by the library or send us an email

We look forward to working with you!

Lexington High School Library Media Center