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HIST 4314/5314 - American Civil War

Primary versus Secondary Sources

Primary vs. Secondary Sources:  What is the difference?

Primary sources are accounts recorded by people with immediate access to the information.  Examples of primary sources important in historical research are: newspapers, documents of state, diaries, letters, and accounts by reliable witnesses.

Secondary sources provide indirect exposure, such as books or periodical articles not based on first hand observation of the event, person or place.

Examine the resources available that cover different time periods and historical events:  books, biographies, scholarly journals, newspapers, microform collections, encyclopedias, handbooks, bibliographies, and periodical indexes. 

After your initial exploration, consult with your professor regarding your proposed topic, if necessary.

Primary Sources

Primary Sources & Anthologies

 See American Memory collections under Internet sites.

 Library and Local Collections

 Special Collections (7th Floor)--The library has collections on Texana, Babe Zaharias, and Lamar University

 Tyrell Historical Library--located downtown has a collection of local history and genealogy sources for Beaumont and Southeast Texas. 833-2759

 McFaddin-Ward House--has a library and archival collection of materials related to the McFaddin and Ward families.  For more information contact the Museum at 832-2134.

 Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center --Located in Liberty, TX

Search the library catalog for a specific person to see if the library has their papers.  Ask the Reference Librarian for assistance. (936)-336-8821

 Items in the Government Documents Collection (2nd Floor)

 See also guides on Presidential Papers and Microform Collections.

  • Report on the Conduct of the War
  • Journal of the Senate
  • Journal of the House
  • Messages and Papers of the Presidents
  • Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence 1775-1785
  • Report of the Commission Appointed by the President to Investigate the Conduct of the War Department in the War with Spain
  • Report of the Philippine Commission
  • Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States
  • Letters of Delegates to Congress
  • Hearings before the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Accident
  • Foreign Relations of the United States
  • Documents on German Foreign Policy
  • Treaties and other International Agreements of the United States 1776-1949
  • War of the Rebellion – Army and Navy sets
  • War Relocation Authority
  • Papers of the Continental Congress
  • Territorial Papers of the United States
  • Naval Documents of the American Revolution
  • Naval War of 1812
  • Correspondence Relating to the War with Spain
  • Reports of General MacArthur
  • The Emerging Nation
  • Pearl Harbor Attack: Hearings Y 4.P31: P 31/ vols 1-20.