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Media Center - Primary Sources

Last Updated: 5/10/2019 8:28 PM

What are primary sources?

Primary sources are  original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include: letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons (American Library Association).


Where can I find Primary Sources:






American Rhetoric & Speech Bank 

National Jukebox - Library of Congress

The Studs Terkel Radio Archive 



Books and Monographs


Making of America - Books





Government Documents


 American Presidency Project

Avalon Project - Major Documents Collection

FBI - The Vault 

Foreign Relations of the United States 

Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights 






Flickr Commons


New York Public Library Public Domain Collections




Newspapers and Magazines


Chronicling America


Google News Archive

Life Magazine



Personal Accounts


Civil Rights Documentation Project

Veterans History Project




Mixed Collections


American Memory

Library of Congress


Digital Vaults – National Archive

Documenting the American South

National Archives Online exhibits

New York Public Library Digital Gallery

Digital Public Library of America