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Primary Sources: America (U.S.A.) History

Primary Resources Subject Guide

Welcome to this Primary Sources Subject Guide.  The purpose of this guide is to provide you the researcher with internet links to credible websites where primary sources have been digitally scanned and offered free to use. (This excludes the primary source databases provided by FAU Libraries, which are marked and listed in certain designated areas in this guide. Those resources will require the user to log in with their FAUNetID.)

The list that has been curated in this guide is substantive but by no means everything that is out there.  This guide is designed to be a living guide, meaning that resources may come and go.  If a link goes dark and cannot be replaced with a new link to the material it will be removed from the guide, that being said, if you the user come across a website (must be free) you think will add value to the guide, email it to me and I will evaluate it. 

Primary vs Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

DEFINITION: Primary Source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. 
Examples of primary sources are:

  • Diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, memos, manuscripts and other papers in which individuals describe events in which they were participants or observers;
  • Memoirs and autobiographies;
  • Records of organizations and agencies of government;
  • Published materials written at the time of the event;
  • Photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures, video recordings documenting what happened;
  • Artifacts of all kinds; and
  • Research reports in the sciences and social sciences.

Important Note:

Important Note: The various print materials and web pages found in this guide COULD contain some content that may be harmful or difficult to view. As a result, some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions. In addition, some of the materials may relate to violent or graphic events and are preserved for their historical significance. Remember: These materials are a reflection of the language and culture of the time period in which they were written or created.