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Michigan State University

HST 480 (Sleeper-Smith, Fall 2019): Primary Sources

Primary Source Search Tips

To find primary sources in the MSU Library catalog, add the following search terms as keywords or subjects to your search:

  • personal narratives
  • correspondence
  • sources
  • diaries
  • letters
  • speeches

An example search for primary sources would look something like this:

"War of 1812" AND correspondence

What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources provide direct or firsthand evidence about an event, person, or object. These sources are contemporary to the events and people described, meaning that they were often created during the time being studied or by those who witnessed an event firsthand. 

Examples of primary sources include: newspapers, diaries, letters, memoirs and autobiographies, speeches, photographs, and government documents. 

Primary Resources at MSU