Gender Studies

What Is a Primary Source?

A primary source is "first-hand" information, sources as close as possible to the origin of the information or idea under study. Primary sources are contrasted with secondary sources, works that provide analysis, commentary, or criticism on the primary source. In literary studies, primary sources are often creative works, including poems, stories, novels, and so on. In historical studies, primary sources include written works, recordings, or other source of information from people who were participants or direct witnesses to the events in question. Examples of commonly used primary sources include government documents, memoirs, personal correspondence, oral histories, and contemporary newspaper accounts.

Using Different Types of Archives

Helpful documents from the Society of American Archivists.

Manuscripts and Ephemera: Finding Aids and Indexes

Many historical materials are not available online, and housed only in archives or in harder to find publications. These discovery tools can help identify their holdings and locations.