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POLS 3600: American Political Thought: Primary Sources

What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are records that provide first-hand testimony or evidence of an event, action, topic, or time period. Primary sources are usually created by individuals who directly experience an event or topic, and record their experience through photographs, videos, memoirs, correspondence, oral histories, or autobiographies.

Common Examples of PRIMARY Sources:

Letters, diaries, memoirs, speeches, interviews, photographs, notes, subject files, oral histories, autobiographies, travelogues, pamphlets, newspapers, newsletters, brochures, government documents including hearings, reports and statistical data, military service records, manuscripts, archival materials, plant specimens, artifacts, architectural plans, artistic works, works of fiction, music scores, and sound recordings.

Salix Tweedy, Herbarium specimen data provided by the Rocky Mountain Herbarium, University of Wyomng (Accessed through RM Herbarium web site,, 2013-10-05)


Local Primary Resources

Library of Congress

How to Use a Finding Aid

National Archives

Alan K. Simpson Papers

Empire magazine cover of Alan Simpson.

University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Biographical Files-Alan Simpson