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History: Primary Resources

A guide dedicated to primary resources related to United States and international history.

Subject Librarian

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Debbie Percher
Debbie Percher
Reference Librarian
Whittemore Library 117
Framingham State University
100 State Street
Framingham, MA 01701-9101
Tel: 508-626-4654


Welcome to the Henry Whittemore Library Primary Resources in History LibGuide!  Please feel free to contact a librarian at any time during your research process.

How to Login if You are Off-Campus

FSU's Whittemore Library requires that users who are off-campus authenticate through Blackboard.  Blackboard accounts are set up through Blackboard, not the library, so while we will help as much as possible to get you onto our databases from off-campus, sometimes we may have to refer you back to Blackboard or to the Information Technology Services Help Desk to get your account set-up properly.  Below we have included a link to the  ITS Self Service Portal for help in resolving any problems with BlackBoard.

Contact the Library

Circulation Desk
(Renewing, ILL, Checkin/Checkout)

Reference Desk
(Database help, Using materials)

What are primary sources?

Primary sources are materials that offer original data about a particular time, place or event. Primary source materials are usually created at the time period that is studied.  Primary sources are materials that have not undergone any sort of evalution or interpretation.  Examples of primary sources include:

Diaries and Autobiographies

"On the scene" interviews






Newspaper articles


Audio/ video recordings

Musical scores



Court records



Primary sources may also include materials that were created by a witness of a time period or event, but at a later date. Examples of these types of primary sources include autobiographies and oral interviews.

Secondary sources - what is the difference?

Secondary sources are materials that have been created by someone such as a historian or an author. Secondary sources offer an evaluation or opinion on data gathered from a primary source. Examples of secondary source materials include:

  • biographies
  • newspaper or journal articles written after the event
  • the research paper you write

The bibliography of a secondary source may be useful to locate a primary source. For example, if you find a journal article related to your research topic, check the bibliography of that article for primary sources that the author used.

Links for Students