History 201/225: Primary Sources

A course guide for History 201 and 225

About Primary Sources

Letters, interviews, photographs, and diary/blog entries are all examples of primary sources. Primary sources provide first-hand evidence of an event or subject, and they can be unpublished or published.  PCC Library's collection incudes published primary sources including autobiographies and personal journals. The Internet provides a wealth of access to primary sources through websites of historical societies, museums, organizations, educational institutions, and governmental entities. Consult Using Primary Sources on the Web, published by the American Library Association.

Internet Ancient History Sourcebook

The Internet Ancient History Sourcebook, sponsored by Fordham University, contains primary sources covering the areas of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Israel, Greece, the Hellenistic World, Rome, Late Antiquity, and Christian Origins.

Good Places for Finding Primary Source Materials

Oral Histories

Pacific University has digitalized over 600 oral histories gathered in Washington County on a variety of topics.  One of the richest parts of this is the Japanese American History stories, but there are also stories on farming, forestry, Latino immigration, and High Tech.

Miller Center on "The Presidency" from the University of Virginia.  It includes speeches, secret White House Tapes, and information on the Presidents.  If nothing else, listen to "LBJ Orders Some New Haggar Pants." to get an idea of the President whom Bill Moyers said "Was the ten most interesting people I ever met."


Lyndon Johnson on Telephone


Use OAIster, a catalog of digital resources to search for primary documents.

Historical Maps

Historical maps from around the world are available online in digital format from the Perry-Castaneda Library at the University of Texas.