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JOHN F. KENNEDY 50th Anniversary: Primary Sources

What Are Primary Sources?

Primary sources (original objects or documents) provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence of an event or time period.  They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include the following:

  • autobiographies, memoirs  
  • oral histories, films, artifacts 
  • interviews
  • letters
  • records of organizations and government agencies
  • and much more
    (partial text taken from yale.edu/collectionscollaborative/primarysources)

Where to Find Primary Sources

Primary sources can be found in libraries, archives, museums, agencies, and many other institutions.  They can also be found in many databases and websites.   Click the "Library Databases" tab above to search for primary sources. 

Today, there are many websites that provide primary sources.  Click the "Websites" tab above for specific sites sources about John F. Kennedy.   Below are some general sites that include primary materials not only about JFK but also other individuals and historic events:

Primary and Secondary Sources

 The following is a video from UC San Diego Library explaining primary sources through the use of some JFK resources.
 http://sshl.ucsd.edu

Below is a video from The Community College of Vermont Hartness Library defining and comparing Primary Vs. Secondary sources.
http://hartness.vsc.edu/ccvhome

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