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What are Primary Sources?
Primary Sources are first hand accounts of events. Direct evidence that was created during the actual time period. This is different than a secondary source which is written at a later time reflecting about the event. Primary Sources can be in the format of speeches, interviews, images, diaries, manuscripts, newspaper articles written at the time of the actual event, journals, letters, etc.
Books written by someone during the time period of study may be used as a primary source. For example, A book written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Thomas Jefferson.
Books can also be used to help locate primary sources. Select a book on your time period or topic. Look in the Table of Contents, Indexes, Appendices, etc. You may find content within the book (e.g. List of illustrations, images, maps, paintings, speeches, etc.). The library has numerous Ebooks and Books in Hardcopy format. Use one of the Ebook online databases listed below or search the library catalog for print titles.
Search across our ebook collections to find history books on your research topic.
The Avalon Project
Curated by Yale University, the Avalon Project includes a comprehensive collection of primary documents from the period 4000bce through the 21st century.
World Digital Library
Includes images, texts, videos, etc. Browse by Topic, Time Period, Place.
Digital Public Library of America
Primary source collections exploring topics in history, literature, and culture developed by educators. Search by Subject or Time period.
Documenting the American South
Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Sponsored by the University of NC at Chapel Hill.
Black Freedom Struggle in the United States
Select primary source documents related to critical people and events in African American history from Slavery & the Abolitionist Movement (1790) through the contemporary era of the 21st Century.
The South Carolina Digital Library
The South Carolina Digital Library provides free access to historic materials, such as photographs, manuscripts, journals, books, oral histories, objects, etc. illustrating the history and culture of South Carolina from over 40 cultural heritage institutions across the state.
The Lowcountry Digital Library
Digitized items about the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and historically interconnected sites in the Atlantic World.