south texas college

HIST 1301 Course Guide

United States History I

Useful Databases

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary sources: autobiographies, diaries/letters, creative works, speeches/interviews, government records. Secondary sources: biographies, encyclopedias/textbooks, magazines, book reviews, interpretations of someone else's work. Sometimes, it just depends on the situation. For example, if you're researching women's magazines from the 1920s, those magazines would probably be considered primary sources. Or, if you're using the annotated memoirs of Abraham Lincoln to inform your research, the annotation are secondary sources, but the words Lincoln wrote himself are primary sources.

United States History Online Primary Source Collections

Search Tip

Research tip: include the terms "documents of" or "documentary history"

when looking for primary sources on history topics.

Primary Sources: Pre-Columbian Era to Civil War/Reconstruction