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United States History: Primary Sources

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources provide immediate, firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning an event or topic.
Examples of primary sources include letters and diaries; photographs, audio and motion picture recordings; transcribed speeches; books, newspapers and magazines published during the period under consideration; government documents and other publications; oral histories, autobiographies and memoirs; and even artifacts, like clothing, furniture, and other items of material culture from the period.

How to Find Primary Sources via UC Library Search

To find primary sources via UC Library Search, search the Library Catalog and type in words that represent your general topic. Here we are searching for primary sources that have something to do with Renaissance women.

In the top line, type in your topical words: women AND Renaissance.

UCSB Library Search - primary sources

In the line below your topical words, type in Subject words that represent primary sources. Such words include:

  • autobiographies
  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • journals
  • manuscripts
  • memoirs
  • pamphlets
  • personal narratives
  • sources
  • speeches, addresses etc.

Try different combinations of topical and Subject words to make sure that you are finding all of the primary sources available to you in the UCSB Library.

Subject-Focused Databases & Related Resources - U.S. History

Broad-Ranging Primary Source Databases & Related Resources - U.S. History

Guides to Collections of Primary Sources - U.S. History

California History

American Presidents & U.S. Government History Sources

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