History - Oregon: Primary Sources

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 Primary sources provide first-hand evidence of an event or subject, and they can be unpublished or published.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.

Focus on Oregon History

Focus on Oregon History, on the Oregon Historical Society website, links to primary documents on a variety of topics including African American History in Oregon, Asian Pacific American History in Oregon, Lewis and Clark in Oregon, Reservation Life in Oregon, Wartime Portland, and Women's History in Oregon.


Oregon 2010 Census

Find 2010 Census information about Oregon:

U.S. Decennial Census and American Community Survey Results
2010 Census results gathered on the United States Census Bureau website.

Profiles for Oregon and its Counties, Metropolitan Areas, and Cities
U.S. Census 2010 results on Portland State's Population Research Center's page

Historical Records

old neighborhood mapHome Owners Loan Corporation map of Portland, 1937.   

These maps were originally believed to be redlining maps.  Research has shown that they were developed by The Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), a federal agency established in the Great Depression to help home-owners stay in their houses. HOLC created maps of most major cities of the United States, showing mostly where they had made loans. However, the commentary that accompanied the maps did reveal common social attitudes towards immigrants and African-Americans. It remains a controversial topic.

Read the "How to use This Map" section that comes up when you click on the link. Then zoom in on the map with your mouse, and click on the area you want to examine.  Comments are on the right.  This takes a little time to master, but is oh-so-cool.


Find historical documents on the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) website. The historical society and its library is open free to all residents of Multnomah County.


Portland Archives and Records Center.  You can visit!  A nice photograph collection for the Rose City.

black and white photo of old fashioned cars on city street