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Part IV

Primary Sources on Wisconsin History Available Free Online

ʺPrimary sourceʺ is historiansʹ jargon for documents created by participants in or eyewitnesses to historical events. Though they can take many different forms, primary documents all share the common characteristic of being firsthand evidence. Primary sources are contrasted with ʺsecondary sources,ʺ or information produced by people who were not participants in the events described, such as classroom textbooks or scholarly articles. Examples of primary sources include:

books produced at the time

interviews

pamphlets

songs

magazine articles

photographs

newspaper stories

engravings

letters

maps

diaries

cartoons

government reports

advertisements

laws

posters

speeches

museum objects

As this list suggests, primary sources come in many types ‐‐ printed publications, handwritten manuscripts, graphical images, museum artifacts, sound and video recordings, etc.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has made tens of thousands of primary sources available on its Web site for free. The most helpful collection for use with this handbook is

Turning Points in Wisconsin History

located at

www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints

Turning Points contains digital reproductions of roughly 1,000 primary sources on Wisconsin events, including nearly all the types listed above. You can browse through it using DPIʹs ten main themes for teaching Wisconsin history, or search it by typing

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