Primary sources are original accounts or records
of historical events. These sources are from the time period involved,
and they have not been filtered through interpretation. Primary
- Diaries, journals, speeches, interviews,
- Memoirs and autobiographies
- Government records, such as birth,
death and marriage certificates, census records, licenses, patents,
trial transcripts, etc.
- Records of organizations, i.e.,
minutes, reports or correspondence
- Original Documents (e.g. family
- Photographs, documentaries, sound recordings
of actual events
- Survey Research such as market surveys
and public opinion polls
Note: Newspaper, magazine and journal articles
and books written at the time about a particular event are
often considered primary sources. These accounts were usually
written by journalists or other observers at the time of the event.
Materials that are written later and/or provide historical analysis
are considered secondary sources.
To find articles on a specific topic, author or book, use
the DATABASES. You can access the LNDL databases from anywhere through the
LNDL homepage at http://www.loyola.edu. You must have a current library
barcode to access databases from off campus. Your barcode is on your ID. (It’s the
number that begins with 22425. . . .)
American Periodical Series (1740-1900)
New York Times Historic
The Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective
The Pennsylvania Gazette
(1785 - 1985)
Books Available at the Library
Use the library catalog on the library's web site at http://www.loyola.edu/library.
Terms to try in looking for primary sources (use a subject
and/or keyword search):
Some sources that include United States Documents
Annals of America
E173 .A793 v. 1-21
Public Papers of the Presidents J80 .A283
Historic Documents of
Archives of Maryland
F176.A67 v. 1-70
Other Useful Databases
English Books Online (1475-1700) Digital library of
books printed in English from 1475-1700.
Century Collections Online Works published in Great
Britain and its dependencies from 1701-1800.
National Security Archive (DSNA) Declassified government
documents from the National Security Archive on U.S. foreign and
military policy since 1945
the First Person In-depth index of more than 3,350
collections of personal narratives in English from around the world
Reader's Guide Retrospective Citations to popular American journal and magazine articles from 1890-1982.
The Internet has become a great source of primary materials. Select a search engine or directory such as Google (www.google.com)
or Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) and
type in your topic and primary sources or one of the other
terms listed above.
Another great search directory is: Librarian's
Index to the Internet (www.lii.org).
Selected Web Sites for Primary Materials/Digital
Note: You do need to be careful to check the
reliability of Internet sources. For more information, refer to
the library's guide at http://www.loyola.edu/library/ref/evalwebs.html.
"Library Research Using Primary Sources." University
of California, Berkeley: Copyright 1998-2002. Accessed October
1, 2003. <http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/PrimarySources.html>
"Primary, Secondary and Tertiary
Sources." University Libraries, University of Maryland, College
Park, Maryland. Updated October 1, 2003. Accessed October 1, 2003.
For help on a specific topic or research question, please call the Reference