Welcome

What are primary sources? Primary sources provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic or question under investigation.

They are usually created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later.

Primary sources can be found in all of Yale’s libraries and museums as well as in online resources.  You can browse the collections of those libraries and museums or begin your search with examples of various formats.

Identify Types & Formats

Yale School of Medicine Class of 1895 (including students from the 1896 and 1897 classes) posing with skulls.

Yale School of Medicine Class of 1895, including students from the 1896 and 1897 classes. Cushing/Whitney Medical Library.

Find & Discover

Baadah Point, Neah Bay. Watercolor by James G. Swan. Watercolor of Four Native Americans in ceremonial dance.

Baadah Point, Neah Bay, by James G. Swan. Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Explore Collections

General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Ketubah (marriage contract), made in Bozzolo, Italy, dated September 1, 1780.  General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.