Primary source materials are often found at home
in the form of photographs, letters, diaries, and home movies. However,
they are not always recognized as being a primary source. Use the examples,
questions, and guides on these Web pages to engage students in discovering
primary source materials. Have them look at home, in local institutions,
and on the Web for interesting artifacts that they can share with the entire
class. Click on Photographs, Documents, Maps, Motion
Pictures, or Sound Recordings to begin.
Definition of Terms
Primary Source - original works in various media formats
such as photographs, drawings, letters, diaries, documents, books, films,
posters, play scripts, speeches, songs, sheet music, and first-person accounts
that are recorded at the time of an event.
Secondary Source - source created by someone either not
present when the event took place or removed by time from the event. Examples
of secondary sources include textbooks, journal articles, histories, and
The activities were designed by Linda Joseph, American Memory Fellow (1997), Summer Institue Staff Member (1999-2001), and Educator in Residence (1999) at The Library of Congress. Teachers can use these as an introduction to a variety of primary sources.
pictures, and sounds the Library of Congress American Memory collections ...bring
living history into our classrooms.
For more ideas and activities
that you can do with your students visit the Learning
Resources for Further Investigation:
Sources and Activities - National Archives