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How to Use this Guide
There is a wealth of excellent primary sources available to researchers online, in books, and from online databases. Use the landing page of this guide to find out more about how to identify a primary source and how to use it in your research. Use the tabs across the top to find primary sources in all formats for each given topic area.
What is a primary source?
A primary source documents shows direct, immediate or firsthand knowledge of a subject or event. Primary source documents are written at the time or on the scene where an event occurred.
Secondary sources lack direct knowledge of a topic or event. These include biographies, monographs, and general periodical articles. Secondary sources are written by people who did not witness or experience an event but may have a great deal of knowledge about the topic.
Databases that include Primary Sources
This site includes the full text for the Salem Great Lives in History and Great Events in History, as well as for Milestone Documents of American History and of American Leaders.
Annals of American History
A comprehensive collection of primary sources and media which create a portrait of American History from 1493 to the present day. Use the timeline or topics list to find what's available for a particular event or theme.