What is a primary source?

A primary source is a document or record containing firsthand information or original data on an event, object, person, or work of art. Primary sources are usually created by individuals who experienced the event and recorded or wrote about it. Because of this, primary sources usually reflect the viewpoint of the participant or observer. 

Common primary sources for U.S. slavery topics include:

  • Slave narratives
  • Diaries, letters, and biographies
  • Newspaper articles written at the time
  • Pamphlets
  • Photographs 

Primary Sources through the UHV Library

You can find primary sources in things like books and anthologies. Books can contain diaries, letters, and other types of primary sources. In our library catalog you can search the following keywords to find primary source material on U.S. slavery topics. Note that these are just ideas to get you started and not all of the keywords that might work:

  • Slave narratives
  • Slavery Personal narratives
  • Slaveholders Diaries
  • Slaves' writing

Primary Sources Online

Primary Sources at the Victoria Regional History Center

The Barry A. Crouch Collection is located in the Victoria Regional History Center in the UHV Library. This collection consists of Mr. Crouch's research notes, monographs, and historical records created or collected by Dr. Crouch throughout his career.

A large part of the Barry A. Crouch Collection consists of information on the Freedmen's Bureau, reconstruction and slavery.