This is the "Primary vs. Secondary Sources" page of the "Mrs. James' World War II Project" guide.
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Mrs. James' students are exploring World War II, 1939-1945
Last Updated: Nov 11, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Primary vs. Secondary Sources Print Page

Primary vs. Seconday Sources

According to the library at Princeton University, a primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during a historical time period. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news, film footage, autobiographies, official records, creative works (poetry, art, drama, music, and novels), and artificats and realia (clothing, pottery, furniture, etc.). 

Here are words that you may use as keywords in the library' s catalog to find primary sources:

  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • early works
  • interviews
  • manuscripts
  • pamphlets
  • personal narratives
  • sources
  • speeches
  • letters
  • documents
  • broadcasts

A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them.


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