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Primary Sources

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  1. Primary Sources

  2. Primary vs Secondary Sources Primary Sources • Firsthand account of an event or the documents associated with an event • Examples: letters, diaries, personal narratives, autobiographies, speeches, congressional hearings, presidential papers, newspaper articles published at the time of the event, surveys, interviews, court cases or presidential hearings, laws or treaties, scholarly articles giving results of research, minutes of organization…

  3. This is a copy of Benedict Arnold’s coded letter to Major Andre, with decodedtranscript.A primary source.

  4. Primary vs Secondary Sources Secondary sources • Interpretations based on analysis of primary and secondary sources

  5. This diary is an “eyewitness” account of the beginning of the Civil War. A primary source.

  6. Primary vs Secondary Sources • This is a secondary source about women in the Civil War.

  7. Primary Sources Newspapers This is theSt. Louis Argus, an Afro-American newspaper.

  8. Is this a primary source?Carter Watches Plane Crash Into River.New York Times, January 16, 2009 Friday, Section B: Column 0; Pg.14, 127 words. • Yes • No

  9. Primary Sources Scientific Journal Articles This is the first article about the discovery of DNA.

  10. Primary Sources Letters This is a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King asking for help for a son who is in jail.

  11. Which one of these is a primary source: a) Adams, John. Correspondence between John Adams and Mercy Warren., N.Y.: Arno Press, 1972. b) Guedalla, Phillip. Father of the Revolution. N.Y.: Putnam, 1926. • Correct answer: • Incorrect answer:

  12. Primary Sources Personal Narratives This is a pioneer’s account of seeing Yosemite for the first time.

  13. Primary Sources Congressional hearings, reports, prints. Congressional Record Can be found in Microform and on LexisNexis Congressional.

  14. Keywords for Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalog • sources • letters • personal narratives • diaries • speeches

  15. Examples of a Library Catalog Search for Primary Sources slave* and (sources or letters or correspondence) “vietnam war” and “personal narrative” “Harry Truman” and “presidential papers”

  16. Is this a good keyword search for a primary source?“Korean War” and “primary source” • Yes • No

  17. Many primary sources are on microform.

  18. Here is a guide to theMicroforms collections atPickler Memorial Library.

  19. Tools to use to find old periodical articles • Reader's Guide Retrospective.  1890-1982.  Index to older magazine articles.

  20. Some Web Sites that have Primary Sources • American Memory--Historical collections digitized by the Library of Congress. • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Electronic Reading Room-FBI-- This site contains scanned documents from famous FBI cases and files such as the Lindbergh Kidnapping and the Marilyn Monroe file. • Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative