Original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. May include letters, diaries, manuscripts, journals, speeches, newspapers, interviews, memoirs, government documents, photographs, audio recordings, film or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, and tools.
Letter written by George Mason to John Mason
Credit: George Mason Primary Resources Guide
Types of Primary Resources
This is a list of the most common types of primary resources in history. When searching for sources, you might watch for these terms to help you figures out if you have found a primary resource. You might also use these terms in your searches to help focus on a particular type of source or narrow down a large list of results.
Full text of important American newspapers from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Collection of primary source material from 18th & 19th century sources. Contains the full text of important American newspapers from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Primary sources and archival materials relating to American culture and history, mostly from the collections of the Library of Congress. Includes written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music.
Organized into more than 100 collections, each accompanied by a set of explanatory features designed to make the materials easy to find, use, and understand. Collections may be browsed individually, searched individually (including full-text searching for many written items), or searched across multiple collections. Comprises more than 9 million items including written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music. Freely accessible.
Search or browse early American newspapers including titles from all 50 present states. Includes: Early American Newspapers, Series 1 (1690 - 1876), Early American Newspapers, Series 2 (1758 - 1900), Early American Newspapers, Series 3 (1829 - 1922), Early American Newspapers, Series 4 (1756 - 1922) and Early American Newspapers, Series 5 (1777 - 1922).
Provides access to digital collections of primary sources (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.) that document the history of women in the United States. These diverse collections range from Ancestral Pueblo pottery to Katrina Thomas's photographs of ethnic weddings from the late 20th century.
Texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently includes sixteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.
Includes: A Digitized Library of Southern Literature, Beginnings to 1920; First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920; North American Slave Narratives, Beginnings to 1920; The Southern Homefront, 1861-1865; The Church in the Southern Black Community, Beginnings to 1920; The North Carolina Experience, Beginnings to 1940.
Collection of 100 milestone documents of American history from the National Archives. Includes the Declaration of Independence, Treaty of Paris, Bill of Rights, Gettysburg Address, Plessy v. Ferguson, Tennessee Valley Authority Act, Manhattan Project Notebook, Brown v. Board of Education, Aerial Photograph of Missiles in Cuba, and more.
A collection of reports, documents and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, originally published in approximately 13,800 bound volumes. Content covers 1817-1980. The maps published as part of the U. S. Congressional Serial Set publications are also searchable. This is a rich source of primary source material on all aspects of American history.