PRIMARY DOCUMENTS were either created during the time period being studied or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied (as in the case of memoirs). They reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer. Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period. Some examples of primary sources include:
A SECONDARY SOURCE is a work that interprets or analyzes an historical event or phenomenon. It is generally at least one step removed from the event is often based on primary sources. Examples include: scholarly or popular books, articles, reference books, textbooks.
Search these collections and databases for Primary Sources!
Offers the full text of history reference books, leading history periodicals, historical documents, and biographies of historical figures.
Locating Primary Sources in Books
How do I find primary sources in books?
Search the Library Catalogs (NHS and Newburyport Public Library)
Remember that primary sources may be in the form of reprints (monograph compilations, reprinted letters, diaries, microfilm, etc.) Doing a search in a library catalog adding the following subject headings to your keyword search, will help you find these reprints as well as original archival collections:
charters correspondence diaries interviews manuscripts oratory pamphlets pictorial works sources speeches
Locating Primary Sources
on the Web