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University of Portland Clark Library

History: Primary Sources

What is a primary source?

In history, primary sources are the raw material that you will analyze and interpret to better understand the past. They are produced during the time of the event or phenomenon you are investigating and will bring you as close to the past as is possible. Primary sources can take many forms including the words of participants or eyewitness descriptions, official records or governments or organizations, photographs, film or other media, and artifacts.

On this page you'll find help locating primary sources in newspapers, books (via UP Library Search), magazines, and online collections, and help locating advertisements.



Online Collections

UP Library Search

UP Library Search is a useful tool for locating primary sources from UP, Summit, and beyond. UP Library Search FAQ

Search: for:  


Add one of these terms to your UP Library Search keyword search.  For example: Oregon pioneer sources

  • Bibliography
  • Charters, Grants, Privileges
  • Correspondence
  • Description and Travel
  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Pamphlets
  • Personal Narratives
  • Sources
  • Speeches

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