A primary source is essentially any record or artifact from a given era that provides original documentary evidence of the time—like a snapshot of a given experience, taken by someone who was there. Secondary sources, such as books or articles, often draw heavily from primary sources, such as letters, diaries, or interviews, to make representations or interpretations of a period under study.
A few examples of primary sources include diaries, photographs, letters, government documents, and newspaper and magazine articles (from the period under study).
Want to learn more? Visit the Primary Sources Research Guide.
Find primary sources for the law in U.S. and British history in the following collections: