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Research Guides

German Studies: Primary Sources

Library resources for the study of German language, literature, and cultural studies.

What Are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are the evidence of history.  They are the first-hand accounts of an event or period of time created by participants or observers.  There are many kinds of primary sources including texts (letters, diaries, government reports, newspaper accounts, novels, autobiographies), images (photographs, paintings, advertisements, posters), artifacts (buildings, clothing, sculpture, coins) and audio/visual (songs, oral history interviews, films).

For information on how to find specific types of primary sources see the sections on:


Many more primary sources can be found on the pages listed under the tabs History by Region and History by Topic.

Visiting Archives & Libraries

Look on the institution's website for guidelines on visiting and using the collection. Libraries and archives often have a "prepare for your visit" section and email or chat help services.

Finding Archives and Digital Collections

Search keywords for archives (or digital collections) and the name of the city, state, region or country of interest to find local archives (use the language of the country).