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Primary Sources in Archives & Special Collections: What is a Primary Source?

Identifying and locating primary sources in the Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center.

What is a Primary Source?

Primary Sources:  A primary source is a record of a person, event, or occurrence that was created by an eye-witness or participant's version of an event.  Primary sources allow researchers to gain better insight into historical figures and events.

Primary Sources

Primary Sources at Purdue

Examples of Primary Sources

Diaries
Letters
Notes from lab experiments
Photographs
Blogs
Emails
Maps
Scrapbooks
Facebook pages
Poetry
Artwork
Birthday cards
Office records
Artifacts