A primary source is a first hand account of an event and/or an object or document created by a person or in a place being researched.
Primary sources are contextual. So, for instance, a newspaper article may be primary source for one topic (an first hand account from the time being studied) OR if could be a secondary source (discussion of an event that occurred in the past). There is nothing inherent in a document that makes it a primary or secondary source. The content, not the format/container, determines if a item is a primary source for your topic.
This guide lists a variety of primary source types that can be found online, at the Blume Library, and in the San Antonio - Austin area.
To find primary sources on you topic, try searching you topic (ex: witchcraft, slavery, Texas, Bexar, etc.) in combination with one of the following words:
|Search Term||When To Use It|
|sources||generic term, often produces the most results|
|archive||use with organizations, individuals and families|
|archival resources||use with topics and geographic areas (counties, cities, etc.)|
|correspondence||use with individuals, familes, classes of people, ethnic groups|
|diaries||use with individuals and families|
|manuscripts||use with individuals|
|notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.||use with individuals|
|personal narratives||use with names of events|
|personnel records||use with organizations and military units|
|records and correspondence||
use with organizations and groups
|speeches, addresses, etc||
use with individuals or groups
A search in WorldCat.org or the Library Catalog on the terms "slaves and correspondence" finds books that includes primary source material on African Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction.