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History: Primary Sources

A guide to history resources at Salem State College.

Understanding Primary Sources

Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons. These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research.

By the Instruction & Research Services Committee of the Reference and User Service Association History Section in the American  

Tools for Finding Archival Materials

Central and Latin American Primary Sources

Asian Primary Sources Online

Print Primary Sources

100 Key Documents in American Democracy  edited by Peter B. Levy      Ref. E 173 .A15 1994 

The Complete Bill of Rights : the drafts, debates, sources and origins  edited by Neil H. Cogan     Ref. KF 4744 1997

Documents of American History   edited by Henry Steele Commager      Ref. E 173 .C66 1973c  (Earlier editions are located in the library stacks and may be checked out.) 

Documents of American Indian Diplomacy : treaties, agreements, and conventions, 1775-1979  compiled by Vine Deloria, Jr. and Raymond J. DeMallie   Ref. KF 8202 1999 (2 volumes)

English Historical Documents  edited by David C. Douglas      Ref. DA 26 .E56   (12 volumes)

Historic Documents    Ref. E 839.5 .H57   (Salem State College Library holds volumes from 1972-present.  Volumes for the years 2005-present are shelved in the reference section, earlier editions can be found in the stacks.)

Massachusetts Broadsides of the American Revolution edited by Mason I. Lowance, Jr. and Georgia B. Bumgardner    Ref. E 263 .M4 M54

Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt  edited by Bernard Rosenthal     Ref. KFM 2478.8 .W5 R43 2009   

March of America Facsimile Series - Salem State has 97 volumes in this series, each a reproduction of primary or source material.  The series covers works from Columbus' account of his first voyage to Fredrick Jackson Turner's essay on the closing of the frontier (1893).  All volumes are shelved in their subject area, for call numbers look up the series title in the catalog.

Speeches and Documents in American History selected and edited by Robert Birley.   E 183 .B53 (4 volumes)



Middle Eastern and North African Primary Sources Online

North American Primary Sources Online

Local and New England Resources

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Carol Zoppel
Berry Library, Room 210H
(978) 542-6811

Historical Newspapers - International