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History Research Guide

Quick access to the resources and tools you will need to conduct effective history research

What are Primary Sources?

Primary Sources are first-hand accounts of events, such as letters, diaries, memoirs, newspaper articles, photos, film footage, speeches, interviews, original research, government documents, postcards, leaflets, etc. Art, literature, and artifacts can also be excellent primary sources. 

Primary sources are vital to historical understanding and perspective, but it requires perseverence and skill to both find and interpret them.

You are fortunate to live in the age of massive digititization. But while many original documents are now available online, much has still not found its way to the cybersphere. Many primary sources are housed in the books and archival collections of libraries and various institutions around the world.

This guide will help you to find things that are easily accessible to you as the Bethel University community. Use the tabs in this section to find primary sources in books and online.

And don't forget that the Reference Librarians can help! Ask us!

Primary Source Poster

(Image from University of Minnesota Libraries: