What is a primary source?

The National History Day Contest Rule Book defines a primary source as "something that was written or produced in the time period you are studying."

A primary source might be written by someone with first-hand knowledge of an event in history, like a description of a Civil Rights march written by a protester who was there. A primary source can also be from the time period, like a newspaper article about the protest, even if the reporter was not there.

But remember, the author of a primary source might be biased or have incorrect information. Historians use multiple primary sources to interpret events in the past.

Examples of primary sources include, but are not limited to:

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