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Latin American and Latino/a Studies (LALS 1) & Labor and Community Studies (LBCS 15): Primary Sources

LALS 1 -- Latino/a Diaspora: The Impact of Latinos Living in the United States (Cuellar); LBCS 15 -- Latin American Workers in the Americas (Figueroa Landeros)

What Is a Primary Source?

primary source is a document that was written or an artifact that was created during the time period under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event.

Newspapers can be considered primary sources if they offer first-hand accounts of events. They may also be considered secondary sources.

Examples of primary sources: 

  • photographs
  • letters
  • artifacts (e.g., coins, items of clothing, tools, furniture, pottery)
  • diaries, journals
  • works of art (e.g.,paintings,sculptures, quilts)
  • creative works (e.g., poetry, drama, novels, music)
  • autobiographies, memoirs
  • music and songs
  • cartoons
  • census records
  • broadsides
  • court or government records
  • immigration records
  • drawings
  • maps from the place or time
  • ship logs
  • ledger books
  • labor records
  • recorded oral histories 
  • texts or recordings of speeches/addresses
  • architectural landmarks
  • charts and graphs
  • sound recordings
  • documentary film
  • news film footage
  • official records

Sample Digital Primary Sources

Subject Guide

Charlotte Bagby's picture
Charlotte Bagby
Rosenberg Library
50 Phelan Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 452-5541


Chad Stephenson, CCSF Reference Librarian


Library & Learning Resources, City College of San Francisco
50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112 (415) 452-5541