Skip to main content
* UC Irvine access only

Primary Sources for History: Primary Sources Home


What is an historical primary source?

DEFINITION: Primary sources are original sources created at the time a historical event occurs (or possibly afterwards) and are directly associated with their creater (or user). Essentially, a primary source is the subjective interpretation of a witness to an event. Primary sources serve as the raw materials historians use to interpret / analyze the past.

Some examples include:

 Diaries     Memoirs     Letters     Advertisements
 Speeches     Newspapers     Interviews     Government Documents   
 Photographs     Works of Art     Wills  Audio / Video Recordings
 Maps  Manuscripts     Research Data     Ancient Artifacts


collage of primary sources


Contact Your Librarian

Nicole Arnold's picture
Nicole Arnold

Contact Your Librarian

Becky Imamoto's picture
Becky Imamoto
Langson Library 460
(949) 824-2639