Curated by: Sasha Castillo, Ellen Metter, Indiana Mezta
History Flashpoints: Primary sources enrich and inform your classwork and research!
A Nobel Prize acceptance speech? News reports on rescued kittens? Your birth certificate? A photo of a victim of violence? All primary sources.
Primary sources provide first-hand accounts or information on a topic or event. They were created by someone present during an experience or living in the time period of an occurrence. These sources offer an insider’s view. A primary source could have been created an hour ago in a research lab, or on 9/11 as the towers collapsed.
Primary sources also include recollections of an event by an event participant. They can be writings, media, images, documented experiments, unfolding news events, presentations, speeches, data, physical items, fiction, and performances.
The Library has a ton of these fascinating items in its online collections, books, articles, and videos. You’ll also find them through Web searching, in libraries, museums, special collections, and in places like your basement!
Below are sample primary source titles and collections from Auraria Library and the Web. See the Primary Sources research guide for more strategies.