Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period. A primary source reflects the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer.
Some primary sources, such as diaries or letters, are original manuscripts which exist in only one place in the world. Others, such as newspaper articles or transcripts of speeches, exist in multiple copies but may be hard to find.
Look for reprinted primary source materials such as books that collect speeches, letters, or government documents; microfilm collections of the papers of an organization; or videos of archival newsreel footage. These materials are often more accessible and easier to use than the original materials.