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HIST1992 Honors Workshop for Prospective Thesis Writers

Assistance in identifying materials for research on historical topics in the collections of the Brown University Library and elsewhere

Defining Primary Sources

Primary Sources are original objects and documents that were created in the time period of which you are studying.

  • Examples: diaries, manuscripts (material that has not been published), oral histories, company records, speeches, and historical newspapers. 
  • Primary sources are collected in online databases, archives, and the special collections of libraries, museums, and community or cultural organizations. Usually these materials cannot be checked out and must be viewed at in institution's reading room. 
  • Explore primary sources related to your research interests in order to:

1) identify "source material" or "evidence" that supports your arguments and conclusions 

2) develop information literacy, or the ability to evaluate a source for accuracy and credibility

3) understand historical periods and contexts from unique, first-hand perspectives

Locating Primary Sources Online

This is a curated list. Visit A-Z Databases to explore all databases available to the Brown community. 

Period Specific Databases