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HI 372: World War II

What is a primary source?

A primary source is an original object or document - the raw material or first-hand information, source material  that is closest to what is being studied. 

Primary sources vary by discipline and can include:

  • Historical and legal documents such as personal papers, government documents, legal codes, treaties
  • Eye witness accounts: newspapers or transcripts of radio or TV news from the time the event took place
  • Social media posts
  • Results of an experiment (Lab reports)
  • Statistical data
  • Maps
  • Creative writing: novels, stories, poetry, plays
  • Religious texts
  • Art objects: drawings, photos, paintings, sculptures, medical illustrations
  • Architecture: blueprints as well as the finished structures
  • Film, TV, video
  • Many sources can be treated as a primary text, i.e. a webpage produced by a political group.

What is Archives Unbound?


Gale's Archives Unbound collection includes over 200 titles. The roots of the program are in microfilm, and the collection makes available targeted collections of interest to scholars engaged in serious research.

Particular strengths in the Archives Unbound collections include U.S. foreign policy; U.S. civil rights; global affairs and colonial studies; and modern history. Broad topic clusters include: African American studies; American Indian studies; Asian studies; British history; Holocaust studies; LGBT studies; Latin American and Caribbean studies; Middle East studies; political science; religious studies; and women’s studies. The Archives Unbound program consists of more than 290,000 documents totaling 12 million pages. Individual titles in the collection range between 1,200 and 200,000 pages.

Search the complete collection HERE or choose a topic from the menu.

These collections were added to the library thanks to a gift to the History Discipline from Mark Tluszcz, Eckerd Class of 1989.