top of page

Primary Sources Help Page

Use this section to find useful primary sources to cite in your research!!

Tip: Remember, when you're using Google, type in your topic ,

and then "primary sources" (in the quotes).

Don't forget to search the DHMP library resources (we have nearly 200 primary sources in our stacks!)

Recommended sites

click on the logos to access the sites

The National Archives hosts over two million digitized historical documents, photographs, and images; it is curated by the US govt. with primary sources of items such as geneological information, legislative archives, federal records, transcripts, presidential libraries, military records, and online exhibits.

The Library of Congress houses 35 primary source sets of collections that include documents, photographs, letters, sheet music, maps, interviews, memoirs, sound recordings, drawings, diaries, posters, newspapers, cartoons and more. Collections are varied.

The Tennessee Virtual Archives is a program of the State Library and Archives to create a digital repository of Tennessee history and culture with many primary sources. Their mission is to bring electronic versions of the state’s rich collections to a wider audience. TeVA provides a searchable array of historical records, photographs, documents, maps, postcards, film, audio and other original materials of enduring value.

American Rhetoric is an incredible speech bank with the most popular speeches in American history. It is a great way to use primary sources because many times you get to see or hear the speech when it was originally given.  Most of the speeches also include written transcripts.  There are also links to other useful primary sources, including news sources, political party home pages, even pop culture.  It's definitely worth checking into!

Bartleby's is largely a collection of literature, so if you're studying an author, it's a great collection of their writings and the entire King James Bible (great resources for religious research).  

Yale University has a collection of primary sources which represent their medical library, music library, divinity library, a Babylonian collection, several art collections and more. It's definitely worth a peek. Their sources include the typical writings, journals, and speeches that you expect from a primary source collection, but they also have a healthy collection of realia: everything from playing cards to clay tablets. They also have some audio and video recordings including videos of Holocaust survivors.

Middle Teneessee State University's collection of  primary sources includes those related to a lot of American history and quite a bit for the state of Tennessee. They also have some sets on some "stray" topics like baseball, American Indians, the Middle Ages, and Greece & Rome. It's my understanding that this collection should continue to grow, so it may offer more as time progresses. They also host links to MANY other useful sites that might have a more varied collection of sources that they do. This is a great place to stop!

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, with focused studies of the latest information in aeronautics, and publishes primary source photos & videos as they pertain to space travel and human exploration. This site provides real-time information on international space stations, the Journey to Mars, the solar system, & robotics. Plus the site features a handly list of A-Z topics for student research, and a link for educational resources.  

The Smithsonian, originally organized as the "United States National Museum," the Smithsonian is administered by the US Govt. Termed "the nation's attic" for its eclectic holdings of 138 million items, the Institution's nineteen museums, nine research centers, and zoo include historical and architectural landmarks. Primary sources include letters, artwork, photos, videos, and more. Users of the cite are encouraged to copy and use the information for their educational purposes as long as they cite their work! (Personally I find the site a little clunky to use, but it does have some good information.)  

Helpful Tools for Research:

bottom of page