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History 100: A Guide to Research: Finding Primary Sources

What is a Primary Source?

A primary source is a first-hand account of something.

For History 100, the green bolded sources are the types of primary sources you'll find:

  • Journals/Diaries
  • Works of literature (books or manuscripts)
  • Interviews
  • Documentaries (interviews or original footage within them)
  • News (tv, some newspaper stories, original reporting)
  • Autobiographies and memoirs
  • Text messages and emails
  • Letters
  • Social media posts
  • Art and sculpture
  • Architecture and buildings
  • Carved symbols or writing

Primary Sources in Books

You don't have to look online for primary sources--many can be found in the Academic Course Reserves behind the library desk. These books are stored there so that you can easily find primary and secondary sources on your topic. Images in books of art, architecture, sculpture, or writing, can be used as primary sources. Don't forget about these easily accessible and valuable resources!

To take a Reserve book out, just give us your Blue Card. The book must stay in the library.


Below are some Databases that contain primary source information for ancient history.

Online Ancient Primary Sources by Geographic Area

Ancient Civilizations Map