Ask the Jolly Librarian: Primary Sources

Dear Jolly Librarian,

One of my history assignments says I have to use primary sources. What are they?

Also, my instructor gives me mean looks when I text in her class. Any advice?


History is not my Thing

Dear History:

Primary sources are materials that were developed during the period that you’re studying. For examples, documents, such as wills, bills of sale, or laws are primary sources. So are diaries, newspapers, interviews, and magazines from the period.

Secondary sources are those that analyze primary sources.

So, for example. a letter written to Benjamin Franklin from his wife is considered a primary source. An article using that letter to discuss women’s education in 18th-century America would be a secondary source.

Click this link for a good explanation of primary and secondary sources.

As far as texting in class, you know it’s wrong. Just don’t do it.




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