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Primary Sources

Guide to finding sources for research in historical primary sources such as newspapers, archives, historic photographs, oral histories, and other sources.

Getting Started

Primary sources are the raw material for historical research. They are the documents, photographs and other records that were made during the time period that you are researching. Some common kinds of primary sources include:

  • Newspapers
  • Autobiographies or memoirs
  • Other historic publications, like magazines or reports published during the time period you are researching
  • Archival material: Unpublished documents like letters, diaries and the records of organizations, and other material arranged into collections by individuals/organizations
  • Government documents
  • Historical statistics, census records and other data
  • Oral histories
  • Historic photographs, posters, maps, audio and visual sources

This guide provides links to places where you can search for these sources for your research, with a focus on sources that are available to Pacific University students.