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FYSW 100 (Johnson): Primary Sources, Magazines & Newspapers

Primary Sources

Definition (from UMassBoston Libraries and University of Illinois Libraries)

Primary Sources are immediate, first-hand accounts of a topic, from people who had a direct connection with it. Primary sources can include:

Texts of laws and other original documents.

Newspaper reports, by reporters who witnessed an event or who quote people who did.

Speeches, diaries, letters and interviews - what the people involved said or wrote.

Original research.

Datasets, survey data, such as census or economic statistics.

Photographs, video, or audio that capture an event.

Artwork, poem, or performance.

Primary sources also include first-hand accounts that were documented later, such as autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories. However, the most useful primary sources are usually considered to be those that were created closest to the time period you’re researching.



Searching Library Databases for News Articles

Image from: Awesome Foundation Flickr

Search the full print editions of numerous national newspapers via these library links.

Search historical newspapers

Popular Magazines


Magazines available via the library's databases (free full text, large archives of issues)



Magazine websites