Reading Primary Documents

Primary Sources are sources of information that come firsthand from the person, time, or event they represent. In the form of diaries, speeches, letters, legal documents, newspaper articles, and even photographs, paintings, and political cartoons, primary documents offer historians extraordinarily important and often fascinating information. However, because the source of the primary document can be biased, incorrect, or difficult to understand, it is essential for the historian to be very careful in interpreting the source. The following resources will help you in your study of history to interpret the many primary sources and documents you will enounter in your own historical pursuits.