Primary Sources Guide• What are Primary Sources?• Illustrations and Examples• Locating Primary Sources in the Dover Library Collection• Finding Primary Sources in other library collections and Online.
What are Primary Sources?• Primary Sources are • Letters & Diaries materials that contain firsthand accounts of • Government, Church, and Public Records events and were created at the time of • Oral Histories the event or recalled later by an eyewitness. • Newspapers & Magazines• Pearce-Moses, Richard. "A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology." Society of American Archivists. Available from • Photographs, Motion Pictures http://www.archivists.org/glossary/index.asp. Internet; and Video Recordings accessed 6 November 2007. • Maps, Blueprints, and Land Records
Letters & DiariesPersonal correspondences anddiaries depict the perception ofa certain event by single ormultiple individuals.Resources such as The Diary ofAnne Frank (D810 J4 F715) andThe Letters of Ralph WaldoEmerson (PS1631 A3 1939) arelocated in the Dover Librarymain collection.Databases such as NorthAmerican Women’s Letters andDiaries have materials that datefrom the 1675 to 2002. You cansearch this database by year,place, historical event, lifeevent, and author.
Government, Church,and Public RecordsAn official document detailing theessential facts about a particularperson, family, organization, ortown/city.These types of documents can befound in the following formats:birth certificates, marriagelicenses, church membershiprecords, town council minutes,census records, militarydocuments, ship rosters, andpersonal wills.These documents can usually beaccessed through a local countycourthouse, state libraries, thepublic library, local historicalorganizations, and the NationalArchives.http://www.archives.gov/
Oral History at Dover Library: American Slavery: A Composite Autobiography Database Oral Histories A collection of the life histories of former slaves in the United StatesAn interview that records an compiled through nearly 4,000individuals personal recollections of interviews with ex-slaves.the past and historical events. Arthur Murphy, 105, an(Pearce-Moses, Richard 2005) ex-slave The Library of Congress:Oral Histories can be in several The Veterans History Projectdifferent formats: audio or video collects the experiences and storiesrecording/digital recording, and of United States veterans of activeprinted transcript form. service during WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Korea, and the Gulf Wars. http://www.loc.gov/vets/vets-There are many Oral History portal.html Soldiers at Fort Bragg, NCprojects that are on going across theUnited States. Some examples The University of North Carolina:include: The Veterans History The Southern Oral History ProgramProject (Library of Congress), the documents the stories of the peopleWomen Veterans Historical of the American South, with anCollection (University of North emphasis on North Carolina, in anCarolina at Greensboro), Southern effort to preserve culture, experience,Oral History Program (University of and history.North Carolina). http://sohp.org/ Local man in Wadesboro, NC
Newspapers & MagazinesNewspaper articles and magazinespublished during the time period whichyou are researching are valuableprimary sources.Newspapers and magazines, especiallythose that are on microfilm/microfiche,usually contain obituaries,advertisements, and photographs.Dover Library contains a large variety ofnewspaper and magazine resourcesthrough our print collection, microfilmcollection, and online databases.Several of the databases include:America’s Newspapers, NewspaperSource, NC Community Newspapers,ProQuest Newspapers, RegionalBusiness News, and the SerialsDirectory.
Photographs, Motion Pictures and Video RecordingsPictorial resources visually capture anddocument a moment or event in time.Photographs can be used to show patternsof heredity in families, style of dress inparticular eras, and the lifestyle, economicstatus and profession of families andcommunities.Motion pictures and video recordings arenot blockbuster movies. These recordingsare of actual events such as the speeches ofDr. Martin Luther King, CCC workersbuilding a bridge during the GreatDepression, or the tearing down of theBerlin Wall.The Internet Archive is a great place toaccess motion pictures – the site containsboth primary and secondary sources.http://www.archive.org/index.php
Maps, Blueprints, and Land RecordsOver time land, land use, property ownership,and building structure and use changes. Thesechanges can have a very important impact ona community and its development.Through historical maps, blueprints and landrecords researchers can trace these patternsof change and measure their effect on thecommunity.These materials are most often found at localcourthouses, archives, historical associations,and local libraries.At the Dover Library you can access maps ofNorth Carolina from 1867-1970 through theSanborn Maps North Carolina database.Historical maps of the United States, includingCivil War battle maps, can be found onlinethrough the Library of Congress : AmericanMemories Collection.http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html