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History: Primary Sources

Finding Primary Sources

Finding primary source material for your topic is easier than you might think.


Many primary sources can be found in the Harbor College Library within books, encyclopedias, or as reprints of the original source.


Many more can be found on reputable websites from universities, government sites, and library websites.

Subheadings used by the Library of Congress to designate primary sources

  • Archives
  • Caricatures and cartoons
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Early works to 1800
  • Facsimiles
  • Interviews
  • Newspapers [e.g., African Americans--Newspapers]
  • Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.
  • Pamphlets
  • Personal narratives (used in relation to specific events only)
  • Photography
  • Pictorial works
  • Songs and music
  • Sources
  • Speeches, addresses, etc.
  • Treaties

Finding Primary Sources in Books

Search the library catalog using your topic, but add the word "sources," both searched as subject keywords.


Basic Search for Books and eBooks

Screenshot of how to search for "reconstruction" and "sources" using the basic (or search all) feature on the LAHC home page








Advanced Search for Books and eBooks

Screenshot of how to search "reconstruction" and "sources" as subject terms using the advanced search feature in Discovery Service




Finding Sources on the Web