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HIST 3251: Race & Violence in U.S. History

Primary Sources -- Library Databases

What Are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are generally defined as first-hand accounts by a direct participant or observer of an event.  Some examples are:

  • Diaries, letters, or interviews
  • Official government or court records
  • Newspaper articles, written at the time of the event
  • Audio recordings or oral histories
  • Speeches
  • Scrapbooks
  • Paintings or photographs
  • Films, television, or even advertisements

Primary Sources in ThomCat & PASCAL

Search for primary sources in ThomCat [or any library catalog] by using the following keywords in combination with other search terms relevant to your topic.Not the truncation (*) symbol used at the end of certain words to retrieve singular or plural forms.

  • sources
  • diaries
  • letters
  • correspondence
  • personal narratives
  • oral history
  • interview*
  • speech*
  • document*
  • memoir*


  • "freedom summer" AND interview*
  • "Fannie Lou Hammer" AND speech*
  • "Civil Rights" AND sources