Skip to main content

* English Literature and Language: Primary Sources

Research guide for literature in the English language, the study of the English language, and guides for courses in the English Department at the University of Kentucky.

What is a Primary Source?

A primary source is the uninterpreted original document that contains the words of the witnesses or the first recorders of an event or creative work.  Some examples of primary sources:

Artifacts (clothing, furniture, tools, buildings)
Experiments
First–person accounts (including newspaper accounts)
Government publications (statistics, court reports)
Historical documents

Internet resources (especially digitized versions of historical documents)
Lab reports
Manuscripts, journals, diaries
Observations
Official papers
Recordings

The sections below highlight some databases containing primary sources as well as newspaper and periodical databases and sources focused on Kentucky.

Primary Sources

These databases contain primary source materials:

Journalism Resources

These newspaper and periodical databases also contain primary source materials: