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HIST 490: History Senior Seminar: Primary Sources

What is a Primary Source?

"Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience." (Library of Congress)

For more detailed explanations with examples:

Primary Sources at Kalamazoo College

Primary Source Websites

Digital Public Library of America 

Links users to resources in libraries, museums archives across the U.S. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more—are free and immediately available in digital format.

Internet Archive

Created to offer permanent access for researchers and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.

Internet Archive : Moving Image Archive
Part of the larger Internet Archive, this is a collection of thousands of movies, films, and videos, ranging from classic full-length movies, to television news broadcasts, to historical film clips.

HathiTrust Digital Library

History Channel : Speeches
Contains hundreds of speeches that can be searched by speaker, subject or time period.

East Asia History Sourcebook
Housed at Fordham University, this is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented for educational use.

Cold War International History Project
Includes historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War.
Contains personal narratives of men and women (either New Jersey residents and/or Rutgers University alumni, faculty or staff) who served on the home front and overseas during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and the nation's most recent conflicts
U.S. Government sources
Foreign Relations of the United States
The official documentary record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions that have been declassified and edited for publication. From the University of Wisconsin.
Foreign Relations Volumes: 1861 to Date Volumes post-1960 online can be found here.
The American Presidency Project
The American Presidency Project is the only online resource that has consolidated, coded, and organized into a single searchable database The Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Washington - Taft (1789-1913), The Public Papers of the Presidents: Hoover to Bush (1929-1993), The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents: Clinton - Obama (1993-2009). The archive also contain thousands of other documents such as party platforms, candidates' remarks, Statements of Administration Policy, documents released by the Office of the Press Secretary, and election debates.
National Archives - Archives Library Information Center

Library of Congress

          Library of Congress Digital Collections

          Library of Congress Chronicling America