A primary source is something that was created and/or experienced at the time being studied. They provide a first-hand or eye witness account. Examples of primary sources include historical documents, artifacts, diaries or journals, speeches, oral histories, photos, newspaper clippings, letters, etc. Reproductions of primary sources (remember, we won't have the originals of some types of sources) can often be found in books, in databases, and online
photo credit: Massachusetts Historical Society
Primary sources also include original works, such as pieces of art, research and data, and creative writing. These, too, often be found in books, in databases, and online.
photo credit: Flickr; Wikipedia Commons
There are many types of primary sources.
Literary or cultural sources
Accounts that describe events, people, or ideas
Information about people
Information about places
Adapted in part from University of Michigan Library