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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  • can be published or unpublished writings, audio or video recordings, or photographs from individuals, organization, companies, or government agencies.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. 

(descriptions of primary sources pulled from "History" LibGuide courtesy of Frederick Community College librarians)

What is a Primary Source?