The Historian's Handbook defines a primary source as one that "gives the words of the witnesses or the first recorders of an event. Primary sources include manuscripts, archives, letters, diaries, and speeches." They can also be photographs, audio or video recordings; original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. These are frequently materials that document the attitudes and popular thought of a historical time period.
Here are just a few of the Primary Source resources that the Framingham Public Library has in its collection and a sample of what is available online.
A comprehensive database providing many primary sources including documents, pictures, audio and video. Start here and use your Framingham Public library card to access.
Gale US History in Context
Provides a complete overview of our nation's past that covers the most-studied events, decades, conflicts, wars, political and cultural movements, and people.
Historical Collections for the National Digital Library American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.
The Avalon Project
Documents in Law, American History and Diplomacy The Avalon Project is dedicated to providing access via the World Wide Web to primary source materials in the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government
Making of America
Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction.
New York Public Library Digital Gallery
A searchable database presenting tens of thousands of digital images from The Library's collections including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, rare prints and photographs, and more.
100 Milestone documents in American history from the National Archives
Duke University Libraries - AdAccess
A huge database of advertisements compiled by Duke University from the U.S. and Canada from 1911-1955
American Journeys contains more than 18,000 pages of eyewitness accounts of North American exploration, from the sagas of Vikings in Canada in AD1000 to the diaries of mountain men in the Rockies 800 years later
Primary historical documents from Western Europe
Archiving Early America
An array of primary source material from 18th Century America
Museum of Tolerance - Simon Wiesenthal Center
Holocaust related resources