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New York City History: Primary Sources on the Web

In the tab names, SS stands for Secondary Source, PS stands for Primary Source

Primary Source Types

Books written during the time of events being studied.

General Research Division, The New York Public Library. "Democracy and world dominion." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 1, 2015. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47db-da83-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Diaries, Letters, Speeches, Notes

Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Letter to Samuel Adams, Boston" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 1, 2015. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/bc2acb7e-4b58-0a50-e040-e00a18063320

Photos, Paintings, Drawings, Cartoons

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. "Armistice Day; Lenox Ave., 4 West 134th Street; Harlem, 1919" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 1, 2015. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-1a12-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Editorials, Articles, Letters

Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Tennyson's Poems. (Newspaper clipping with marginalia.)" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 1, 2015. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/8b5d459a-5c6b-ca91-e040-e00a180640ef

Popular Magazine, Tabloids, Scholarly Journals

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "The American monthly review of reviews for June." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 1, 2015. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-95ad-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

    

Zola, Gary Phillip, and Marc Dollinger, eds. American Jewish History: A Primary Source Reader. Waltham, Massachusetts: Brandeis, 2014.

Government Reports & Laws

Declaration of war between USA and Germany, signed by Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) 6th April 1917 (print), American School, (20th century) / Private Collection / Peter Newark American Pictures / Bridgeman Images

Speeches, Conversations, Interviews

A Speech About The Government, 1916 (ink and w/c), Bateman, H M (1887-1970) / Private Collection / © H M Bateman Designs / Bridgeman Images

 

BOOKS: Print or Electronic Compilations of Primary Sources.

DATABASES: Library Databases organize primary resources and make them easy to locate. Bridgeman Art Online and ProQuest are examples of primary source databases.

Digital Archives: Many primary sources are available for free online through digitization. They are collected and made searchable in Digital Archives.

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What are Primary Sources?

“Primary Sources: What Are Primary Sources?” Accessed January 30, 2015. http://www.yale.edu/collections_collaborative/primarysources/primarysources.html.
 
       Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation.
 
       They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later.
 
       Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original format, in microfilm/microfiche, in digital format, or in published format. 
 
       The term "sources" is a keyword to indicate primary sources in library catalogs and online. Remember to add it when researching your topic to find primary information.

Shana Kimball. “Free for All.” The New York Public Library, http://www.nypl.org/blog/2016/01/05/share-public-domain-collections.

Large Primary Source Databases