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History: Library Resources: PNW Primary Sources

Databases for articles on history of all eras

Primary Sources

PRIMARY SOURCES DEFINED

Primary sources are first-hand accounts or individual representations and creative works. They are created by those who have directly witnessed what they are describing, and bring us as close to the original event or thought as possible without being filtered, influenced or analyzed through interpretation.  They tend to be original documents that don't usually describe or analyze work by others.  Primary sources may be published or unpublished works. 

Use primary sources when you want to make claims or criticisms, as evidence for theories, or to gain timely perspectives on a topic.

EXAMPLES

General examples: Letters, diaries, speeches, interviews, correspondence

History:  Transcript of speech given by Queen Elizabeth I; newsreel footage of World War II

Literature: Fiction such as Miguel de Cervantes' novel, Don Quixote; Franz Kafka's short story, The Metamorphosis, or poetry by Robert Frost. 

Art: Works by artists such as Pablo Picasso's painting, Three Musicians; or Michelangelo's sculpture, David

Social Sciences: Interview transcripts of mentally ill patients; raw, analyzed population data; newspaper articles about events. 

Natural Sciences: Analyzed results from biological study; analyzed field data collected by environmental org; original experiments or research.

Examples: court cases, newspaper articles about current events.

 

Repplinger, John. "Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Sources:." Willamette University, 5 Apr. 2019, 
     libguides.willamette.edu/primary-sources. Accessed 15 Apr. 2019. 

Digital Archives

Archives

 

Archive.org

A digital collection of resources that includes 279 billion web pages, 11 million books and tests, 4 million audio recordings, 3 million videos, and 1 million images.

Eastern Washington University Digital Collections

Small collection of photographs, drawings, oral history transcripts, and other documents, largely related to Cheney and EWU, but with some broader coverage of the Inland Northwest.

Google News Digitization Project

Unfortunately, Google discontinued its newspaper digitization efforts, but what Google had already completed remains online, including many early issues of The Spokesman-Review and the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

National Archives and Records Administration

Comprehensive records relating to the history of the United States as a nation, including the most important documents of U.S. history, accessible with a searchable subject index.

Oregon Digital

Photographs, manuscripts, ephemera, and more from the collections of the Oregon State and University of Oregon libraries

Southern Oregon Digital Archives

Two extensive digital collections related to the history of southern Oregon, the Southern Oregon History Collection and the First Nations Collection.

Spokane Public Library Digital Collections

Photographs from the Spokane Public Library's Northwest Room, with an emphasis on historic Spokane and environs.

University of Idaho Digital Initiatives

Small digital collection of historic photographs and maps, mostly related to Moscow and the University of Idaho.

University of Washington Digital Collections

Maps, posters, photographs, and other media on a variety of subjects with particular strengths in the history of Seattle, Alaska and the Yukon, and ethnic groups of the Pacific Northwest, including the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest collection.

Washington State Digital Archives

Massive online collection of Washington state records, including birth, death, and census records, historic maps, and photographs.

Washington State University Digital Collections

Photographs, illustrations, maps, recorded oral histories, and other documents, with a strong emphasis on the Pullman-Moscow area.

Western Washington University Digital Collections

Small collection of photographs, drawings, oral history transcripts, and other documents, largely related to Bellingham, WA and WWU, but with some broader coverage of the Inland Northwest.

What are Archives and How to Use Them

Historic Newspapers

Google News Digitization Project

Unfortunately, Google discontinued its newspaper digitization efforts, but what Google had already completed remains online, including many early issues of The Spokesman-Review and the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1949 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.

Historic Oregon Newspapers

Access complete content for historic Oregon newspapers that have been digitized as part of the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program.

Washington State Library: Historic Newspapers

Washington State Library created an online collection of indexed newspapers beginning in 1852, which covers Washington's territorial and early statehood periods. These digitized pages from our microfilm collection have been indexed and are keyword searchable thanks to the efforts of volunteers.