Presentation on theme: "PRIMARY SOURCES IN HISTORY By Ben Amata. What do historians do?"— Presentation transcript:
PRIMARY SOURCES IN HISTORY By Ben Amata
What do historians do?
“Historians, however, make a serious and systematic attempt to explain the past and attempt to use the knowledge they gain to help explain human nature and contemporary affairs.” Benjamin, J. Student’s Guide to History p. 1
Evidence: Anything within the range of the historian’s experience-document, opinion, monument, artifact, tradition, and so on-that can be used as a basis for statements about the past; often called “sources.” Ritter, S. Dictionary of Historical Concepts Ref D 13 R p.143
Sources are artifacts that have been left by the past. They exist either as relics, what we might call “remains,” or as the test- imonies of witnesses of the past. Howell, M & Preveinier, W. From Reliable Sources: an introduction to Historical Methods D 16.H p. 17
Primary sources record the actual words of someone who participated in or witnessed the events described or someone who got his or her information from participants. Benjamin, J. Student’s Guide to History D 16.3.B p. 6.
Secondary sources record the findings of someone who did not observe the event but who investigated primary evidence. Benjamin, J. Student’s Guide to History p. 9.
Yale University Library Primary Sources Research Colloquium: “A primary source is firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. The nature and value of the source cannot be determined without reference to the topic and questions it is meant to answer. The same document or other piece of evidence may be a primary source in one investigation and secondary in another. The search for primary sources does not, therefore, automatically include or exclude any category of records or documents.” Craver, K. Using Internet Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills In History D 16.2.C p. 15
Written Transmissions Books Journals Letters Annals Dissertations Public records Census data Eyewitness accounts Scripture Inscriptions Newspapers Diaries Chronicles Government documents Personal or institutional papers Genealogies Manuscripts Laws Scrolls Period literature and poetry From Using Internet Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in History Craver, Kathleen, D 16.2.C , p.18
Oral Transmissions Speeches Anecdotes Sagas Oral histories Music Interviews (not videotaped) Ballads Legends Telephone conversations Recordings (tape & records) Myths From Using Internet Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in History Craver, Kathleen, D 16.2.C , p.19
Visually Transmitted Sculpture Photographs Portraits Maps Cartoons Coins Videotapes Films Posters Engravings Models & dioramas Woodcuts Architecture Etchings Relics Historical paintings Artifacts Computer generated graphics From Using Internet Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in History Craver, Kathleen, D 16.2.C , p.19
Electronically Transmitted Faxes Electronic mail Machine readable databases [Web pages] From Using Internet Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in History Craver Kathleen, D 16.2.C , p.19
All Things Considered Authenticity Reliability Disagreement
Helpful Resources History - Methodology History - Research D 16’s
Selected Titles Databases in Historical Research D H Image as Artifact: the historical analysis of film and television D I Newspapers as Tools for Historians D 16 T22 Photographs and Local History D O45 Public History: essays from the field D P Research in Archives: the use of unpublished primary sources D 16.B
Locating Primary Sources
Selected Relevant LC Subject Subheadings Personal narratives Correspondence Sources
Examples Slavery - United States - Personal narratives Hamilton Alexander Correspondence Women – England - History – Sources Women’s Worlds in Seventeenth- century England: a sourcebook HQ 1599.E5 W
Other Subheadings Manuscripts Archives Papers Newspapers Pictorial Works Cartoons
Examples Presidents United States Manuscripts African Americans -- California -- Newspapers Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), – Pictorial works World War, United States – Caricatures and Cartoons
CSUS Microfilm History web page – CSUS Primary Resources American Periodicals CSUS Historical Directory of Periodicals Newspapers: Sacramento Bee [indexed Sacramento Bee Historical Index] Sacramento Union , :(1/15). [not indexed] Sacramento Observer [not indexed] New York Times [indexed ] London Times 1788 [indexed ] Early English Books [indexed] reels reels
Government Documents Indexes Large Sets American State Papers U.S. Foreign Relations Congressional Record Public Papers of the Presidents British Parliamentary Papers United Nations ( Microcard; 1982 – present microfiche; selectively on the web)
World Wide Web Archives Historical Books American Memory and Making of America Cataloged Web Sites: BUBLINK, INFOMINE, SCOUT REPORT BUBLINK History Internet Classics Archive