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African American Literature

Primary Sources

In literature, a “primary source” or, more specifically a “primary text,” generally means the literary work that is being read/studied/analyzed. Whenever possible, primary sources other than the author's works of literature should be consulted. An author's thoughts about his or her own work, or the thoughts of the author's contemporaries, can provide invaluable insight about the works of literature you are studying and cultural context for your argument. 

Examples of primary sources are:

  • personal and professional correspondence
  • professional papers
  • diaries and memoirs
  • manuscripts
  • political documents
  • photographs and other images
  • works of art and literature
  • artifacts
  • speeches
  • autobiographies
  • interviews and oral histories
  • newspapers and magazine articles when written at the time of an event

From "Using Primary Sources in Literature."  ENG213: Writing and Research about Literature.Nov 7, 2023,

Databases for Finding Primary Sources

Finding Literary Works

Finding Newspapers

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Phone: 513-556-1424

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