What is history?
WHAT ARE PRIMARY SOURCES?
· Definition Primary sources are the evidence left behind by participants or observers. "Primary sources originate in the time period that historians are studying. They vary a great deal. They may include personal memoirs, government documents, transcripts of legal proceedings, oral histories and traditions, archaeological and biological evidence, and visual sources like paintings and photographs. " (Storey, William Kelleher. Writing History: A guide for Students. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999, p.18).
Today, the definition of primary texts is broadened from the traditional realm of manuscript studies to encompass the less conventional "texts" of the twentieth century (film, sound recording, live performance, oral history, Internet contacts). Primary texts privilege direct confrontation with a creator, creation, or situation (including data gathered in the natural and social sciences), as opposed to secondary and tertiary sources such as textbooks.
Selected Primary Sources Web Sites
1) General Primary Sources
· Perseus Digital Library http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Digital library of resources for the study of the ancient world. Originally begun with coverage of the Archaic and Classical Greek world, has now expanded to Latin text and tools, Renaissance materials, and Papyri. Contains hundreds of texts by the major ancient authors and lexica and morphological databases and catalog entries for over 2,800 vases, sculptures, coins, buildings, and sites, including over 13,000 photographs of such objects.
American Memory http://memory.loc.gov/Consists of collections of primary source and archival material relating to American culture and history. Topics include: African American Civil War, Conservation Movement, Continental Congress, Farm Security Administration, Architectural History, Early Motion Pictures, Variety Stage, Woman Suffrage, the papers of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Today in History, Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies, 1789-Present, and more.
American Memory Timeline http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/features/timeline/Primary sources for seven time periods of United States history are provided at this site covering 1783-1968. Each period is subdivided into various topics and contains an overview. Included are images, letters, lyrics, interviews, and more.
American Treasures of the Library of Congress http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/An unprecedented permanent exhibition of the rarest, most interesting or significant items relating to America's past.
A Chronology of US Historical Documents http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/US historical documents arranged from pre-colonial era to present.
Eighteenth-Century Studies http://eserver.org/18th/Covers archives works of the eighteenth century from the perspectives of literary and cultural studies. Novels, plays, memoirs, treatises and poems of the period are kept here (in some cases, influential texts from before 1700 or after 1800 as well), along with modern criticism.
Historical Newspapers Online http://historynews.chadwyck.com/Historical Newspapers Online is a website that provides valuable reference material of nineteenth and twentieth century history. It contains some of the best news coverage across two centuries.
Making of America http://moa.umdl.umich.edu/Making of America (MOA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The collection currently contains approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints. The project represents a major collaborative endeavor in preservation and electronic access to historical texts.
Nineteenth Century Documents Project http://www.furman.edu/~benson/docs/When completed this collection will include accurate transcriptions of many important and representative primary texts from nineteenth century American history, with special emphasis on those sources that shed light on sectional conflict and transformations in regional identity.
Primary Source Collections
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/resources/inres/index.htmlA list of Internet Resources from American Memory web site.
Project Gutenberg http://www.promo.net/pg/The Project contains free eBooks or etexts. There are more than 10.000 eBooks in the present collection. Most of these eBooks are older literary works that are in the public domain in the United States. All may be freely downloaded and read, and redistributed for non-commercial use.
Repositories of Primary Sources http://www.uidaho.edu/special-collections/Other.Repositories.htmlThis site contains links to "over 3,400 Web sites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources for the research scholar." Access is by region or by an alphabetical index of state, province, or country. "The list focuses on actual repositories; therefore virtual collections are excluded." There is also a list of other's lists of archives and repositories.