(Some secondary sources used differently can become primary sources)
Textbook Answer: Primary sources are contrasted with secondary sources, works that provide analysis, commentary, or criticism on the primary source. A primary source is "first-hand" information, sources as close as possible to the origin of the information or idea under study.
Book about Martin Luther King Jr.
Encyclopedia entry about the Civil Rights Movement
Analysis of a Martin Luther King Jr. speech
Martin Luther King Jr. Autobiography
Pamphlets produced by Civil Rights activists / Photos of march Posters / Newspaper article reporting a civil rights marches/events
Transcript or a published copy of Martin Luther King Jr. speech
In historical studies, primary sources include written works, recordings, or other sources 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.
Finding Primary Sources
< First see Secondary Sources.
Where to find Primary Resources:
Newspaper Articles = Newspaper and History Databases
Famous Speech/Pamphlets= Library Catalog
Autobiographies = Library Catalog
Art, Personal correspondence, speeches, photos, pamphlets, articles =Archives and/ or History/Art Databases.
Government Documents= Government Websites, National Archive, Other Archives, Library Catalog
Search "[topic] primary sources" in Google to see what comes up.
Often times you'll discover digitized sources at an archive or museum that you were previously unfamiliar with.
Tip: Use Secondary Sources to find Primary Sources.
Encyclopedias provide detailed summaries of topics- try search GVR entry or wikipedia page for a topic, and written down names of important people/places/incidents, and searched for [those] + primary sources in Google.
Access to personal narratives such as letters, diaries, pamphlets, autobiographies, and oral histories.
The collection starts around 1840 and extends to the present, focusing heavily on the period from 1920 to 1980. (Includes more recent waves of immigrants from Latin America and Asia. Provides perspectives both on North America and on the immigrants' countries of origin.)
Access to scarce and unique Latin American pamphlets published during the 19th and the early 20th centuries are owned by Harvard's Widener Library. These pamphlets are valuable primary resources for students and researchers working on Latin American history.
Primary source material from 18th and 19th century including historical periodicals and books; eyewitness accounts of historical events, descriptions of daily life, business advertisements, and genealogical records.
The collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) contains over 85,000 domestic and international political posters and prints relating to historical and contemporary social movements.
Provides new from papers, broadcasts, and wire services around the nation and the world. A good resource for local news not covered by LA Times. HOWEVER it doesn't have much before the 80s and nothing before the 70's.
This database is only available to current Pepperdine students, faculty, and staff.
The Illustrated London News was the world's first illustrated weekly newspaper. The publication presented a vivid picture of British and world events - including news of war, disasters, royalty, social affairs, the arts and science. 1842-2003