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Civil War Primary Sources

Selected websites for identifying primary sources related to study of the American Civil War, Apr 12, 1861 – Apr 9, 1865
A panel from the "Gettysburg Cyclorama" mural
A panel from the "Gettysburg Cyclorama" mural by artist Paul Philippoteaux

This guide provides links to Civil War primary resources hosted by other institutions.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study.  These sources provide direct or firsthand evidence about an event.

Examples of primary sources include the following: (click on a type of source to see an example)

- Letters  - Diaries
- Newspapers  - Speeches
- Personal Narratives  - Correspondence
- Interviews  - Memoirs
- Photographs  - Video Recordings
- Documents  - Archives

A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources.  These sources were created at a later time than the event being studied. 

Examples of secondary sources include:

-Biographies -Works of Literary Criticism
-Monographs -Reviews
-Most Journal Articles -Most Published Books

Find Primary Sources in the EIU Library Catalog 

You can also look for primary sources in the library catalog by combining a type of primary source with a topic. 
Examples include:

Civil War AND diaries World War II AND memoirs
Lincoln AND speeches Vietnam War AND personal narratives
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