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War & Society

A guide to sources for the study of military history and the historical implications of war.

Tips for Finding Primary Sources

Primary sources are typically organized according to who created them.

When looking for primary sources, think about who would have documented the people, places, and events that interest you, keeping in mind that those documents might be written by participants, outside observers, or even opponents of your subject matter. This guide presents just a selection of possible primary source materials organized by war or conflict. Each will include a variety of source types such as personal papers, newspapers, or documents created by government agencies. When using a source, consider how its author and intended audience influences the perspective on historical events.

With primary sources, the possibilities are endless.

This research guide is not a comprehensive list of primary source collections that might be relevant to your topic. Historians are constantly innovating in the way they use traditional sources and finding creative ways to work with new ones.

You are not alone. Ask an expert!

Research with primary sources is a collaborative effort. Experts in your field will know how resources have been used by other historians, and can help you to think creatively about what types of sources to use. Librarians and archivists are skilled at talking through your research project and connecting you to materials in their collections and beyond. And don't forget to consult the bibliographies and citations of other historians to get ideas on what sources to use (and where to find them).

Secondary Sources

For secondary sources--interpretative works written by historians, usually published as books or journal articles--return to the main History Research Guide.

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