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National History Day 2024 - High School: Primary Sources

Primary Sources: Definition & Examples

"A primary source is a piece of information about an historical event or period in which the creator of the source was an actual participant in or a contemporary of an actual historical moment." -from NHD Website


Autobiographies written by a person who had first hand experience during that time period

Interviews with people who lived during the historical period

Census Records [birth, death, marriage records]

Newspaper articles written during the historical era

Photographs from that historical event

Laws passed at that time

Speeches  and Government Reports written during the  time period

Letters  and Diaries written by people who lived during the time period

Flyers or advertisements from that time period

Original pieces of art, video, and music from the era


Primary Source Website - Archives

Primary Source Websites

Other places to find primary sources...

The Milestone Documents series from Salem History provides full-text copies and analysis of significant documents in U.S. history, world history and world religions.  

Magazines and newspaper articles written in the time period can provide first hand reported accounts of an event. 

Photo Collections