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InfoGuides | Pepperdine Libraries

HIST 204: History of the American Peoples: Primary Source Databases

these will help you find resources for your assignment

What is a Primary Source

A primary source is "first-hand" information, sources as close as possible to the origin of the information or idea under study. Primary sources are contrasted with secondary sources, works that provide analysis, commentary, or criticism on the primary source. In literary studies, primary sources are often creative works, including poems, stories, novels, and so on. In historical studies, primary sources include written works, recordings, or other source of information from people who were participants or direct witnesses to the events in question. Examples of commonly used primary sources include government documents, memoirs, personal correspondence, oral histories, and contemporary newspaper accounts.

Center for Research Libraries

Other Primary Source Databases

Historical Magazines and Newspapers

For a magazine or newspaper to count as a primary source, the article must have been written around the time that the event took place.

All of the sources listed below provide the option of restricting your search by date.

Here is an example from American Periodicals Series Online database:

Example: I want magazine articles about Italian Immigrants in New York that were written between 1900 and 1920.

  • Click Advanced Search
  • Type Italian into the first box
  • Type immigra* into the second box (the asterisk provides variations of root words such as immigration, immigrants, etc)
  • Click + Add Row
  • Type new york into the third box
  • Use the pull-down menu for Publication Date and select Specific date range
  • Type 1900 for the Start and 1920 for the End
  • Click Search

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