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Black Studies 4804 Historical Studies of Black Women--Primary Sources

Primary Sources

Primary sources are documents or physical objects written or created at the time historical events occurred or well after the events in the form of memoirs or oral histories.  The author or creator was present at the time of the event and offers a first-hand account. Primary sources may include:

  • Original Documents (Diaries, letters, speeches, notes, meeting minutes, interviews, news audio or video footage, autobiographies, official records (birth/death/marriage certificates), new research findings reported in scholarly journal articles, newspaper articles, government documents (laws, reports, statistics, data).
  • Creative Works (music, photography, film, poetry, drama, novels, works of art, architecture)
  • Relics/Artifacts (jewelery, pottery, tools, weapons, clothing, buildings - created and used during the period of study)

Primary sources serve as raw material to interpret the past, and when used along with previous interpretations by historians, may provide resources necessary for historical research.

Browse History Librarian, Rachel Brekhus' History: Primary Resources Research Guide

Find primary source material by searching:

Secondary Resources

Secondary Sources analyze, interpret, or comment on primary resources.  They may include books (handbooks, encyclopedias, biographies), articles, reviews, scientific studies, editorials, etc.

  • Conduct a literature review using secondary sources
  • Search the online catalog for books and serials
  • Search (print & digital) subject bibliographies and databases for scholarly articles:
  • Mine article bibliographies