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USC Libraries Research Award: Primary Sources at USC

This LibGuide provides information about the USC Libraries Research Award. It includes submission guidelines, requirements, previous award winners and jury members, as well as additional information about primary source materials at USC.

Primary Sources at USC

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are materials that provide first hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation.  They are created by the individuals who witnessed or experienced the events or conditions being documented.  Generally, primary sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but can also be created later if based on first hand experiences.  This is what differentiates primary from secondary sources.  Primary sources are characterized by their content, not their format.  Primary sources can be any number of the following types of materials: diaries and correspondence; photographs and illustrations; newspaper articles from the time period; manuscripts; pamphlets, broadsides, and other ephemera; autobiographical materials; and oral histories.

Text partially adapted from Primary Sources definition in Native American Studies LibGuide ( created by Sue Tyson.

Definitions and examples of primary and secondary sources from the University of Nevada-Reno

Primary Sources at USC:

USC Special Collections

USC University Archives

USC Digital Library

Feuchtwanger Memorial Library

USC Shoah Foundation Visual Archive

USC Cinematic Arts Library

USC Music Library

ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archive

USC Institute of Modern Russian Culture

Warner Brothers Archive

Robin Dunitz California and Los Angeles Murals Files

Sidney Eisenshtat architectural archives 

Carl Maston architectural archives  

Architectural Drawings of Cliff May and Chris Choate

The Michael Several Archives in Public Art (located in Special Collections)  

Emmet Wemple Landscape archives 

Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive

Southern California Women Artists Archives

Posters of Taishō-Early Shōwa Japan