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History: Primary Sources

Find Primary Sources

On the 6th floor of Central Library, Special Collections specializes in (PRINT) historical materials relating to

  • Texas History
  • the U.S. War with Mexico (1846-1848)
  • the cartographic (maps) history of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico
  • Mexico from 1810-1920.
  • Photograph Collections

Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO)

(TARO) contains Special Collections' detailed guides. (SEARCH FOR: University of Texas at Arlington Library, Special Collections in drop down menu)


The New York Times (1851-2007)
Offers full-page and article images with search-able full-text back to the first issue.

Dallas Morning News Historical Archive(1885-1984) 
Important resource for Texas History.

Chicago Defender (1956-1973)
The Chicago Defender has been a leading voice of the black community, with more than two-thirds of its readership outside Chicago. A full-image is provided for the newspaper

Wall Street Journal (historical 1889-1993)
In addition to the printed stories, researchers also can study the charts, stock tables, graphics, and illustrations featured in the publication.

Here are some of the maps from Special Collections

Covers Census from 1760-1960 (hosted by Univ. of VA)

US Census State & County QuickFacts
Quick, easy access to facts about people, business, and geography

Official Portal of Texas: Population and Demographics
Links for sites with demographic details of Texas broken into state, city and county segments that incorporate business and industry data, climate information, incomes, median and average house prices, individual and household incomes, economic and financial details, national comparisons, census records, reports and online interactive research tools.

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Primary Versus Secondary Sources

Here is UCSD Social Sciences & Humanities Library's video that defines primary versus secondary sources of information in the humanities.


Examples of Primary Sources

Are the following primary or secondary resources? Click here to find out. (from UMD libraries)

  • Correspondence     
  • Official Documents    
  • Photographs    
  • Audio-Visual Recordings    
  • Electronic Records    
  • Publications   
  • Newspapers    
  • Diaries    

What is a primary source?

"Primary sources . . . are defined as the direct evidence of a time and place that you are studying – any material (documents, objects, etc.) that was produced by eyewitnesses to or participants in an event or historical moment under investigation. Secondary sources, in contrast, are interpretations – often generated by scholars – that are based upon the examination of multiple primary sources." (from Primary


Primary Source Worksheet