National History Day

What is a primary source?

A primary source is original information, often created during the time period of study, rather than an interpretation or analysis of the information. Examples of primary resources include documents, diaries, manuscripts, autobiographies, sound recordings, newspapers, and images. These primary sources can be in print or electronic format.

Primary Sources

Image shared under the CC BY 2.0 license.

Free Online Primary Research Sources

Finding Archival Collections

These sites help with finding archival sources on particular topics. For detailed information on how to search in these sites, see our Archival Research Guide.

For information about archival collections in the Atlanta area, see the "Local Archives" tab (to the left).

Historical Books Online

GSU University Library Databases - Primary Sources

Below are subscription databases that the Georgia State University Library can provide access to during the Research Round-up Day event. Additionally, high school students can visit any of the University Library's six campus locations to access these resources, but will be subject to our visitor and access policies.

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When you search in newspaper databases, it's important to keep in mind that there isn't a way to search by subject (or "about" a topic). Instead, you have to think about what words/language would be used in a newspaper article title and/or article text for that time period.

This means that you may well come across language that is uncomfortable or even offensive. History can be very ugly.

It is important that we understand that these words are part of history.

It is also important that we understand the potential of these words to be upsetting or offensive today. 

Please be mindful of how you use this language, and be respectful when using it. 

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For more information about historical newspapers at the GSU Library, see our Historical Newspapers guide.