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Martha S. Grafton Library

European History: Primary sources

Guide to resources in European history, including reference works, databases, and websites.

Primary Sources

Primary sources are those sources of information closest to a person, event, or particular time period.  They are original sources of information, which have not been edited or analyzed by later scholars.  Some examples of primary sources include:

  • autobiographies
  • diaries/personal narratives
  • letters/correspondence
  • memoirs
  • documents/sources
  • photographs
  • statistics
  • newspaper articles from the time period
  • and works of art (novels, poems, paintings, etc.)

Searching for a Specific Person

To find personal accounts in GLDYS, include keywords such as Autobiography, Diaries, Letters, Personal Correspondance, Memoirs, Personal Narratives, or Interviews in your search.  

If you want to find works by a specific person, search for the person as a author by using the following steps:

Select the Advanced Search link below the search box for GLDYS.

Advanced search link identified

Then select Author from the dropdown menu and search for the person using the Last Name, First Name format.  

advanced search screen detail - author selected

Primary documents

Historical Newspapers

Multimedia Primary Sources

Newreels, interviews, and archival footage can all be used as primary sources.