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Primary Sources: Home

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources vary from one discipline to another. For the historian, primary sources might include diaries, correspondence, or census data; for the literature researcher, poems, stories, or manuscripts; for the musician, sheet music, recordings, or instruments. While secondary sources analyze an event or interpret a creative work, primary sources provide the raw materials for scholarship.

Primary Sources at Kenyon

Begin with Research Guides by Subject and Course for suggestions of primary sources in a particular subject area.

Use Library of Congress subject headings in the CONSORTcatalog--identify the subject heading for a person, event, or topic, and then add one of the following subheadings:

  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • early works to 1800
  • interviews
  • pamphlets
  • personal narratives
  • sources

Limit your CONSORT search by year of publication, e.g., between 1932 and 1945.