Primary Sources

The Use of Primary Sources


Primary sources are those recordings, documents, paintings, coins, or other items that were created during the time frame being discussed or studied. The source must have been created by someone who was actually alive during the specific period of time. With the popularity of the Internet and technology such as digital cameras and scanners, people are now able to view primary sources that were previously only available at select museums and archives.

Defining Primary Sources

The University of Nevada explains the difference between a primary and secondary source and gives examples of each.

Yale provides a very comprehensive guide on primary sources as well as detailed examples.

Pro Teacher has an interactive website that teaches students about primary sources.

The New York State Education website has a course that teaches teachers how to effectively use documents, such as primary sources, in the classroom.

Learning to Give has a primary sources lesson plan that includes handouts and lists standards covered.

Bowdoin College offers suggestions on how to evaluate and use primary sources. read more ยป

Finding Primary Sources

The Library of Congress has a vast collection of primary sources available online.

American Rhetoric has a constantly updated collection of speeches in written, audio, and video form.

Awesome Stories has a truly awesome interactive website with links to primary sources presented in a fun a topic based format.

The Library of Congress also has a section that allows visitors to search primary sources by state.

The National Archives website has an extensive collection of resources available for both teachers and students.

The New Deal Network has extensive primary sources that relate to the New Deal.

The Papers of Jefferson Davis has a collection of letters, speeches, and other documents that give insight into the personality and thoughts of the President of the Confederacy.

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