Primary sources are the raw material upon which critical, analytic, and historic studies are based. These sources are the evidence left behind by participants or observers. Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to the truth of what actually happened during an historical event or time period. Here are some examples of primary sources: Original works of an author, illustrator, artist, photographer, songwriter, etc.
|Letters||Ledgers, Account Books, Bills||Govt. Hearings|
|Speeches||Oral History Tapes||Census Data|
In Special Collections and Archives
There are many wonderful primary sources right in our own Special Collections and Archives. The Special Collections and Archives reading room is on the upper level of the Athenaeum and is open to researchers 10 am – 4 pm, Monday through Friday, except for campus holidays. Other research times are available by appointment. Contact Special Collections Librarian and College Archivist Tara Olivero (410-337-6347).
In Books and Manuscripts: search the online catalog
|--case studies||--songs and music||--personal narratives|
|--correspondence||--public opinion||--caricatures and cartoons|
Most databases will contain some primary sources. The following databases are recommended when looking for specific types of primary resources.
Newspapers and Journals
In Books and Manuscripts:
In Newspapers and Journals
A secondary source is a work that interprets or analyzes an historical event or phenomenon or the original writing of an author. A recent article that evaluates and analyzes the relationship between the feminist movement and the labor movement in turn-of-the-century England is an example of a secondary source; if you were to look at the bibliography of this article you would see that the author's research was based on both primary sources such as labor union documents, speeches and personal letters as well as other secondary sources. Textbooks and encyclopedias are also examples of secondary sources.
How do I find secondary sources?
A wealth of secondary literature can be found by using the databases available on this website. If you need help, ask a Reference librarian for assistance.
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