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The Nature of History: Primary Sources

What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are first-hand accounts of events, recorded or described by people who have witnessed the event personally.  These accounts can be interviews (written or oral), diary or journal entries, photographs, videos, and many other formats.  Primary sources are important for research on history because they provide insight into what was going on at the time from a perspective impacted or affected by the event.

Electronic Primary Sources

The following recommendations include online archives, digital respositories, and databases available at Texas Tech and beyond.

Primary Sources in Print

When searching for primary sources in the following sources, try to combine your topic ("women's suffrage") with terms such as "diaries," "journals," "letters," or "autobiography."  This method can help you access primary source material.

If you enter the name of a location and "newspapers," you can often find newspaper titles that will cover that area.  For more precise searching, do a title search for the name of the newspaper and you will be able to see the available dates of coverage.