Skip to main content

Ashley High Media Center: Primary Resources

Primary Sources : pictures, documents, letters, maps

Teaching With Primary Sources

Documents of Freedom : Textbook

                           (The Bill of Rights Institute)

Primary Source Links

American Memory (Library of Congress)
America in the 1930s  An in-depth investigation of the 1930s, includes primary documents and media.
American Revolution
Archiving Early America Your window into America's Founding years.
Authentic History Center (Popular Culture)
Avalon Project (Yale Univ.) Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy - 1492 to present.
Awesome Stories  pictures, slide-shows, videos, audio-clips, documents and other primary sources.
Charters of Freedom - Original U.S. documents

Chronicling America - Digitized US newspaper articles (1836-1922)
Civil War Primary Documents : diaries, journals, letters, cartoons, photographs, art, poetry, literature and music.
Digital Library on American Slavery Various independent online collections focused on race and slavery in the American South.
Documenting the American South  (UNC-Chapel Hill)
Eisenhower Library  primary sources - Korean War
Eyewitness to History - history through the eyes of those who lived it.
FBI : The Vault
The American Folklife Center   Online collections.
International World History Project - essays, documents, maps and music.
JFK Library
John Adams Library

Library of Congress - Digital Collections
Library of Congress - Manuscript Room: digital images and searchable text.
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
National Jukebox - Library of Congress collection of recordings.
One Hundred Milestone Documents in U.S. History
Our Documents  Contains 100 Milestone documents of American history.
Presidential Libraries and Museums  Brings together in one place the documents and artifacts of a President and his administration.
Smithsonian Collections - online
Source Documents in US History - HistoryCentral
TalkingHistory - Aural History Productions
The American Presidency Project - documents related to the study of the Presidency. (UC, Santa Barbara)
The Massachusetts Historical Society -The coming of the American Revolution 1774-1776.
The National Archives - digital vault collection of photographs.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire   (Cornell Univ.) Original documents, interviews with witnesses and survivors, photographs and illustrations, and tips on using primary sources.

World Digital Library - Collected items from libraries and museums across the world. Background info provided on items that can be read or listened to in multiple languages.
World War I Propaganda Posters - LearnNC slideshow.
Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History US Primary sources and other resources

Digital Public Library of America : Primary Source Sets  Includes Teacher's Guide for each unit.

Library of Congress : Primary Source Sets  Includes Teacher's Guide for each unit.

What is a Primary source?

Primary sources are records that provide first-hand testimony or evidence of an event, action, topic, or time period. Primary sources are usually created by individuals who directly experience an event or topic, and record their experience through photographs, videos, memoirs, correspondence, oral histories, or autobiographies.

Common Examples of PRIMARY Sources:
Letters, diaries, memoirs, speeches, interviews, photographs, notes, subject files, oral histories, autobiographies, travelogues, pamphlets, newspapers, newsletters, brochures, government documents including hearings, reports and statistical data, military service records, manuscripts, archival materials, artifacts, architectural plans, artistic works, works of fiction, cartoons, music scores, and sound recordings.

University of Texas at San Antonio

What is a Secondary source?

Secondary sources put primary sources in context. They summarize, interpret, analyze, or comment on information found in primary sources. Secondary sources are usually written by individuals who did not experience firsthand the events about which they are writing.

Common Examples of SECONDARY Sources:
Biographies, books, journal articles, commentaries, histories, essays, criticisms, news reports and encyclopedia articles.

University of Texas at San Antonio

Black Quotidian

The BLACK QUOTIDIAN sourced almost entirely from black newspapers provides primary source information on people and events in black history.


 Gifts of Speech

Women's Speeches from Around the World

Shakespeare Documented

Shakespeare Documented the largest and most authoritative collection of primary-source materials documenting the life of William Shakespeare (1564-1616).