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Unformatted text preview: How To Read Old Documents by Susan McGowan Primary and Secondary Sources Primary sources: 1. Primary source documents are those written at the time of the period under study. 2. Taken together, primary sources provide evidence that later historians use to interpret history. 3. Primary sources are the building blocks of historical scholarship. What are they? Official/Legal Personal Financial Communications government records deeds wills inventories court documents military records tax records census records letters diaries journals travel logs invoices bills ship records/logs account books newspapers advertisements broadsides maps "Interrogating" Primary Sources: In order to effectively use primary source materials we must ask questions of them to reveal information contained within them. 1. Who wrote this document, and what does this tell us about their perspective? For instance: a. What was this person's "point of entry" into the world? b. What was this person's role in their society? (government official, minister, merchant, midwife, land owner, farmer, etc.) c. What was this person's world-view (religious perspective, economic interests, political ideology) based on who they are?c....
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- Spring '08