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Tales from the Source: What are Primary Documents?

Companion website to the Tales from the Source videos. Discover more resources for finding primary sources in history.

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What are Primary Documents?

Primary sources are documents or artifacts that provide direct evidence of historical events. Often they are created at the time events occured. Examples include letters, diaries, musical scores, political cartoons, paintings, maps, and treaties. First-hand testimony recorded after events occured, including memoirs and oral histories, are also primary documents. Like detectives, historians gather facts from a variety of primary sources and use them to build a case for what actually happened.

Poster Presentation

Click the image below to see a poster about the Tales from the Source project presented at the 2012 Conference of the Florida Library Association.

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