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HI 1330: Introduction to the History of Science and Technology: Primary Sources

Primary Sources for History

Primary sources are materials that provide firsthand testimony or the closest evidence to a subject under investigation. Researchers often use these firsthand accounts of specific events, or direct investigations to understand events from the viewpoint of people living during that time period. Primary sources include letters, diaries, photographs, newspaper articles, and pamphlets. 

Primary Sources: Library Databases

Primary Sources: Examples of Helpful Websites

To find primary sources via Google, try adding keywords like journals, papers, letters, documents, primary sources, documentary history, maps, or archives to your search terms. 

Curation, Preservation, and Archives at WPI

The Gordon Library Archives are a great resource for primary sources. To learn more about the Archives' collections or to schedule a visit to the Archives, please e-mail

Primary Sources: Books at WPI

Many primary source documents are republished in books, or even referenced within books on historical topics. To find these books, search WPI Library Search for books about your topic and add keywords like journals, papers, letters, documents, or documentary history to your search terms.