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Primary Sources for Catoctin Students: What is a Primary Source?

Use the databases and other tools in this guide to serach for and use primary sources in your research.

Think about...

In the discipline of History, Primary Sources...

  • are first-hand accounts of an event or time period. 
  • are normally written or produced during or shortly after the event or time period
  • can be published or unpublished writings, audio or video recordings, or photographs from individuals, organization, companies, or government agencies. 
  • include diaries, letters, speeches, oral histories, news accounts (print, film, and audio), autobiographies, government or organizational records, artifacts, maps, advertisements, and photographs. 
  • can be found in libraries (often called "special collections"), historical societies, archives, as well as online. 

Source: Frederick Community College History LibGuide

What is a Primary Source?