Skip to Main Content

Primary Sources: Home

A collection of items containing primary sources.


This Primary Source guide is a continual work in progress. Additional titles are always being identified in the IRC collection and new titles being purchased.

Let me know about any Primary Source needs you may have.

What is a primary source?

What are primary source documents?

According to the Library of Congress, they are

Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.

  • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records 
  • CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art 
  • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

Examples of primary sources include:

  • Diary of Anne Frank - Experiences of a Jewish family during WWII 
  • The Constitution of Canada - Canadian History 
  • A journal article reporting NEW research or findings 
  • Weavings and pottery - Native American history 
  • Plato's Republic - Women in Ancient Greece