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American Indian Studies

What Are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are documents from the time period, people, and events of the time under consideration. Primary sources can be:

  • diaries or correspondence
  • photographs
  • illustrations
  • newspaper articles (from the time period)
  • manuscripts
  • pamphlets, broadsides, or other ephemera

Finding Primary Sources

Many primary sources can be found in Melvyl or Worldcat, but there are other avenues for seeking out these kinds of materials.

  • Archive Finder: describes over 220,000 collections of primary source material housed in thousands of repositories across the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
  • Archive Grid: Nearly a million collection descriptions from a variety of museums, universities and other repositories.
  • OAIster: Millions of records harvest from open archival collections around the world.
  • Repositories of Primary Sources : Listings for over 5000 websites around the world that describe and catalog primary source collections.

On the Internet

Boys in kaiak - Nunivak, courtesy Library of CongressThere are many sources for digitized primary sources related to Native Americans. Here are a few important collections to get you started. To find more, use the box to the left.