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What is a primary source?
Primary sources may be letters, manuscripts, diaries or memoirs, newspapers, government documents and laws,court rulings, clothing, pottery, art, human remains, recorded sound or other items that offer original evidence of a civilization, a person or group of people, societies and cultures, or a place. These sources may provide a foundation to interpret and understand the past within a given frame of time. The sources are used in conjunction with previous scholarly studies or secondary sources. Since a single primary source represents only one piece of evidence, consulting various sources when possible is necessary in an attempt to understand different perspectives or phenomenon.
Do an a search of a known person to look for a memoir, autobiography, or historical texts such as writings of an ancient author (eg. Herodotus)
OSU Libraries Special Collections
unique resources and primary research materials
Find brief descriptive information on OSU special collections and links to more information. Link to the specific special collection to find specialists who can assist you with finding primary resources in those collections
Find manuscript collections using the Discover search - https://library.osu.edu/
-use the default search space; enter keywords; select the Special Collections box.
Find books in Special Collections using the OSU Library catalog.
- go to http://library.ohio-state.edu/ and select the type of search (eg. keyword, subject, author etc.)
- enter search terms and then click on the box that says "Search Full Catalog" and select Spec Collections & Archives
- click on the submit button. All results will be items in Special Collections
Digital Collections is a searchable database of selected items from three library collections. The number of images will increase as we add items to the database. Also use the Discover search - https://library.osu.edu/
Other Central Ohio Collections
Ohio History Connection
Archive for the state of Ohio agencies and offices; historical manuscripts and public documents
See Collection Description
State Library of Ohio SLO digital and rare book collections
-Also Genealogy Resources
Ohio Wesleyan University Libraries (Delaware, Ohio) -- Rare Books and Manuscripts
Archives of Ohio United Methodism
Columbus Jewish Historical Society
Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society
Selected digital and print primary sources:
Primary Sources: International
Primary Sources: United States
The Pursuit of History (ebook) by Routledge, 2015.
This classic introduction to the study of history ... revised and updated with key new material including: - a brand new chapter on public history - sections on digitised sources and historical controversy - discussion of topics including transnational history and the nature of the archive - an expanded range of examples and case studies - a comprehensive companion website providing valuable supporting material, study questions and a bank of primary sources.
Understanding Early Modern Primary Sources By
Call number: D228 .U53 2016 [2012 edition is ebook]
This book is "an introduction to the rich treasury of source material available to students of early modern history. During this period, political development, economic and social change, rising literacy levels, and the success of the printing press, ensured that the State, the Church and the people generated texts and objects on an unprecedented scale. This book introduces students to the sources that survived to become indispensable primary material studied by historians...[such as] governmental, ecclesiastical and legal records, diaries and literary works, print, and visual and material sources." Also includes chapters on documents related to themes such as religion, science, and politics.