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Art and Design: Primary Sources

What are Primary Sources?

Primary Sources are firsthand accounts by participants of a particular event or materials produced in the same historical period. In art history, the original work of art or building is a primary source, as are books or memoirs by the artist, newspaper and magazine articles written by someone who attended an opening or a talk by an artist, or texts written by friends and associates during the artist's lifetime.

Other examples of primary sources include literary creative works (poems, short stories, and novels), government documents, personal correspondence, oral histories/interviews, and contemporary newspaper accounts.

Medieval Manuscript Leaves

Primary Source Resources

Core Newspaper Databases

Related News/Historical Databases

Selected Digital Collections/ Image Databases