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HIST 102 (Clemente): Primary Sources

Primary Sources

Primary Sources are first-hand accounts of a topic from people who had a direct connection with it. These can be magazine articles, photographs, drawings, advertisements, film footage and original items of clothing or accessories.

Check the start and end date of each collection to make sure it includes the era you are studying!  

Historical Newspapers

Object Collections

Digitized Objects

Museum collections can help you build context around the item you are researching. 

Collectors Guides

While not technically primary sources, reference guides can help you date or identify an object; with that information, you can run more effective searches in primary source collections like the historical newspapers.

Internet Archive texts can be viewed online for up to one hour if you create a free login on the site. 

Company and Industry information

Library Subscription Databases



When all else fails

The Internet Archive online library lets you search digitized books and magazines. If you create a free account on the site, you will be able to view most books on your screen using the Borrow for One Hour feature. 

Example primary sources from Internet Archive: 

These are works advising how to dress or illustrating the trends that are current at the time when the book was published.

Dress for Success (1975)

The Official Preppy Handbook (1980)

Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style (2007)

Example secondary or reference sources from Internet Archive:

These include books explaining or analyzing trends from the past or books cataloging objects for collectors.

Standard Guide to Razors (2000)

Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible: the fascinating history of everything in your closet (2012)

The long (and short) of it: a madcap history of the skirt (2007)

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