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HSS 300 - The 1920s and 1930s: Primary Sources

What is a Primary Source?

Primary Source vs. Secondary Source

A primary source is a document that shows direct, immediate or firsthand knowledge of a subject or event. It is a document written at the time or on the scene where an event occurred.

Secondary sources are those writings without direct knowledge of a topic or event. These include biographies, monographs, and general periodical articles. Secondary sources are written by people who did not witness or experience an event but have a great deal of knowledge about the topic. Writers often use primary sources in their writing of secondary sources!

Search the OWHL Catalog

             Primary Sources in the OWHL Catalog

                 

 

Do a keyword search for your topic and include the words primary source in your search string. For example: when looking for primary sources about Thomas Jefferson you should type Thomas Jefferson primary source into the search box.

Finding Primary Sources in Newspaper Databases

ALWAYS use the date range feature when searching for primary source newspaper articles.  An article is only a primary source if it was published at the time in which an event took place.

Primary Sources on the Web

Great Depression Primary Sources on the Web

Dust Bowl Primary Sources

  • Caroline A. Henderson Digital Collection"Caroline A. Henderson, Mount Holyoke College Class of 1901, farmed a land claim in the Oklahoma Panhandle from 1907 until 1966. She struggled against recurring droughts, dust storms, extreme blizzards, and other disasters. And yet, through all of these troubles, she and her husband chose to stay on their land. Henderson’s firsthand accounts of the Dust Bowl years are preserved in the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections through the letters that she wrote to friends and family members, along with other writings that she published in Practical Farmer and the Atlantic Monthly." (Mount Holyoke)
  • Dust Bowl Photos: Wind Erosion Multimedia Archive 1930s dust storm photos. (United Stated Department of Agriculture,Agriculture Research Service)