Learning does not begin or end at the schoolhouse door

Primary sources are valuable to the historian because they provide a record that was created at the time being studied. Any source that was created at the time of an historical event is a primary source. Primary sources may be anything from cave paintings to YouTube videos. This page will offer the student a vast supply of primary source material to use in their research. 

World History Primary Sources



The Lascaux cave paintings are some of history's earliest primary sources. We don't know why early man painting on cave walls, but these images tell us a great deal about late Paleolithic and early Neolithic culture.


This beautiful lady is known as the Venus of Willendorf. Early man was famous for the Reubenesque statuettes. We are really not sure what, if any, purpose they served. It is believed that they may be fertility icons or images of the earth mother. At this time of high activity and relatively controlled caloric intake, it is unlikely that this is a representation of an actual woman.

The Epic of Gilgamesh: History's earliest known written story.
The Hammurabi Code: One of history's earliest written codes of law.
The Tanakh: The Hebrew Bible. One of the world's oldest scriptures
Harkhuf's Expeditions to Nubia

US History Primary Sources

Henry Clay's Compromise Speech 1850: The Nature of the Government and its Operations
John C. Calhoun: Slavery, A Positive Good
John C. Calhoun: A Response to Henry Clay's Compromise of 1850
Daniel Webster: Seventh of March Speech
Daniel Webster: Famous Speeches
John Brown: Speech to the Court of Virginia
The Trial of John Brown:
Henry George: The Crime of Poverty Speech
The Speeches of Theodore Roosevelt