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What is a Primary Source?
Primary sources provide firsthand evidence of historical events. They are generally unpublished materials such as manuscripts, photographs, maps, artifacts, audio and video recordings, oral histories, postcards, and posters. In some instances, published materials can also be viewed as primary materials for the period in which they were written. In contrast, secondary sources, such as textbooks, synthesize and interpret primary materials.
(definition courtesy of the UCLA Institute on Primary Sources)

Welcome to the eHistory Primary Sources and Documents Section. We will be gathering documents, images, and other primary source material here to help with teaching, research and the investigation of history. The entire collection will be searchable, and will include results from other sections with primary sources like the Oral Histories and Maps & Images.

One of the greatest assets of our collection is the Official Records, affectionately known as the "OR": all 128 volumes are available here.


Letters and Diaries
Image of the Eldredge Civil War Diary
Official Records of the Civil War
Image of the Atlas that accompanied the Official Records

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. No serious study of the American Civil War is complete without consulting the Official Records. Affectionately known as the "OR", the 128 volumes of the Official Records provide the most comprehensive, authoritative, and voluminous reference on Civil War operations.

About | Index | Atlas | Search the OR

Historical Texts (from our Online Books Section)
medieval book image

The Chonicles of Froissart
Life and Works of Abraham Lincoln
Ridpath's History of the World

Historical Documents (a quick sampling)
Image of the Magna Carta
Amendments to the U.S. Constitution Letterman Medical Report on Antietam (1862)
Balfour Declaration (1917) Senator Nixon's "Checkers" Speech (1952)
The Communist Manifesto (1848) Shiloh Medical Report (1862)
Covenant of the League of Nations (1920) Treaty of Peace Between Israel and Jordan (1994)
The Emancipation Proclamation (1863) The U.S. Declaration of Independence (1776)
The Medina Charter (Dustar al-Madinah) (622) The Magna Carta (1215)
Discharge Paper (1891) Articles of Confederation (1778)
Oral Histories  [oral histories main page]
Chu Lai, South Vietnam, at the 3rd Battalion 7th Marine LZBattle for Dong HaBattle for Okinawa, 24 March -30 June 1945U.S. Navy Nurse in the Pacific Theater during World War IIInvasion of Normandy, 6 - 25 June 1944The Sinking of USS IndianapolisBattle of the Atlantic, 1941-1945The Sinking of USS IndianapolisBattle of Guadalcanal, 1942-1943Iwo Jima Flag RaisingPearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941: Lieutenant Ruth Erickson, NC, USNBattle of the Atlantic, 1941-1945Oral History of Captain Joseph W. Kinzer, US ArmyOral History of Lieutenant Colonel Douglas SmithAlan and the Water Buffalo
Photographs & Images
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Browse or search our growing catalogue of photographs and other historical images

Search Maps & Images

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Copyright © 2014 OSU Department of History. All rights reserved. [citation and copyright information]
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