Skip to Main Content

How Do I...?: Primary Historical Sources

Primary Sources

In historical research, primary sources are any source that comes from the time period of study. Primary sources can include diaries and letters, oral histories and interviews, film, photography, art, and more. The resources below can help you find primary historical sources in all formats.     

Related Resources

Art History Research Guide - Resources for art history research

History Research Guide - Resources for history research

Randolph College Archives & Special Collections - Includes the college archives, the Pearl Buck collection, and other special collections.

Maier Museum of Art - Randolph College's art museum

Locating Primary Sources

Online Collections and Databases

Many libraries and archives are digitizing their collections, allowing us to view them via the web. Below are some primary source collections available to browse online:

Artstor- Digital images from world art, architecture, and photography

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers - Full access to hundreds of newspapers from 1789-1963

Digital Public Library of America - Millions of images, documents, recordings, and more from library collections across the United States

Hathi Trust Digital Library - Digitized collections from a partnership of major research institutions

Moving Image Archive - Thousands of public domain film clips available for viewing and download

Virginia Memory - Archival collections from the Virginia State Library

Physical Collections and Archives

Some primary source collections can only be viewed in person. Some of these are listed below:

Archive Grid - Search archival collections by subject and location

Maier Museum of Art - Randolph College's art museum

Randolph College Archives - Print and physical collections from Randolph College and Randolph-Macon Women's College