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History: Primary Sources, Statistics, & Maps

Search for Primary Sources in the Siena College Library Catalog (CYRIL)

When searching for primary sources in CYRIL, WorldCat, or any library catalog, try adding the following terms to your search:

  • Sources
  • Narratives
  • Correspondence
  • Letters
  • Diaries
  • Speeches
  • Interviews
  • Archives

New York Heritage Digital Collections


The collections in New York Heritage represent a broad range of historical, scholarly, and cultural materials held in libraries, museums, and archives throughout the state. Collection items include photographs, letters, diaries, directories, maps, newspapers, books, and more.



Historypin is a way for millions of people to come together to share glimpses of the past and build up the story of human history.


Primary Sources

Primary sources are items created contemporaneously to the event or time period you are studying. First hand accounts created after the fact are also considered primary sources. Visit Making Sense of Evidence for strategies for analyzing online primary materials.

Examples include:

  • Speeches
  • Diaries
  • Autobiographies/Memoirs
  • Letters
  • Interviews
  • Images
  • Audio or Video Recordings
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Magazine/Periodical Articles (written at the time studied)
  • Archival Records/Logs/Data
  • Political/Legal Documents
Note that some items that began their lives as secondary sources may be used as a primary source for your research. For example, a 1950's textbook discussing the Civil War and Reconstruction would not be a primary source about the Civil War. However, it could be a primary source regarding attitudes towards African Americans during the Civil Rights Era. Check the Academic Web Resources for U.S. History tab of this guide for many additional sources of primary material.