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Primary Source Research in Special Collections and Archives

VCU Libraries Special Collections & Archives

Open to all researchers, the Special Collections and Archives departments at James Branch Cabell Library and the Health Sciences Library provide access to rare and unique research materials. Archivists and special collections librarians welcome requests for research consultations, classes, community programs and collaborative initiatives. 

What is a primary source?

Primary sources are materials containing eyewitness accounts or information documenting a topic or event. Because primary sources do not include intermediary interpretation of materials they are considered direct evidence.

Depending on your area of research, primary sources may look different. They come in many forms including but not limited to letters, photographs, oral histories, organizational records, artifacts, art, and newspapers.