Primary sources include documents or artifacts created by a witness to or participant in an event. They can be firsthand testimony or evidence created during the time period that you are studying.
Primary sources may include diaries, letters, photographs, newspaper articles, government documents, poems, novels, plays, and music. The collection and analysis of primary sources is central to historical research.
Online Primary Sources for the Mississippi Valley
More primary sources: government documents, magazines, and newspapers
Primary Source Example (found in UW Libraries Search -- see below)
Although this ebook in its current form was published in 2001, it was originally published in 1909 and is definitely a primary source for the time period from 1854-1863