reading primary sources in history

HIST 1012 – Reading Primary Sources in History

Last class you received a list of questions historians investigate for primary source interpretation. This class we are going to focus in on two sections of this worksheet to do in class: identification and context.

Please work by yourself or with your neighbor to answer the following questions about your source.


1. What exactly are you looking at? Describe it on its own, but also in terms of what categories it fits into (diary, letters, official documents, etc.)

2. Who created it? When and Where? (Who should be more than a name or a category think about answering who as identifying the kind of person or group of people and being able to describe them a bit more than just a title).


3. What was going on at the time the source was created (locally, regionally and/or bigger picture)?

4. How does the person or people who made the source fit into this context?

5. Why did the person or people who made this source do so? What was the intent behind the source?

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