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Theatre & Performance Studies

An overview of the resources available for researchers in the field of Theatre and Performance Studies.

Introduction to Primary Sources: A Definition

Primary Sources Definition

What are Primary Sources?  Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to the truth of what actually happened during an historical event or time period. Primary source is a term used in a number of disciplines to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied.  A primary source (also called original source) is a document, recording, artifact, or other source of information that was created at the time under study, usually by a source with direct personal knowledge of the events being described. It serves as an original source of information about the topic.

Primary Sources

  • Materials that contain direct evidence, first-hand testimony, or an eyewitness account of a topic or event under investigation
  • Primary sources provide the raw data for your research

Secondary Sources

  • Use primary data to solve research problems
  • Examples:  scholarly books and articles

Locate and Access Archives

The Billy Rose Theatre Collection

Paul Robeson as Othello and Uta Hagen as Desdemona.

Scene from Othello with Paul Robeson and Uta Hagen as Desdemona.

Early American Historical Images

Databases Covering a Variety of Subjects and Time Periods

Finding Theatre Reviews

Letters, Diaries, & Oral Histories

Funding Information

Selected List of Books Containing Primary Source Documents