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Women in Antiquity: Primary Sources: Libraries/Archives

Finding Primary Sources in the Catalog

Books may contain primary sources.  Try adding terms like these to your catalog keyword searches:

  • correspondence   
  • diaries  
  • "personal narratives"   
  • sources

The last is most useful for ancient sources.

Defining a Primary Source

"A primary source is a document, image or artifact ... created contemporaneously with the event under discussion." (Williams, Historian's Toolbox, 2nd ed., p. 56)

Primary sources are evidence from participants in or eyewitnesses to an event.


  • Diaries, letters, speeches, memoirs/autobiographies, oral interviews, newspaper & magazine articles...
  • Images: photographs, sound & video recordings, maps...
  • Artifacts: coins, receipts, schedules, tombstones, furniture, jewelry, DNA evidence...
  • Public records: birth, death, probate, census records; court cases, official government documents...
  • Creative works:  paintings, movies, statues...


  • Original manuscripts or records
  • Authoritative transcriptions in printed volumes or digital form
  • Reproductions--digital, microfilm, facsimile...


Book Series

Collections of printed & electronic books can be found by searching the catalog by title: