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HS 217 - Lowcountry & Gullah Culture: Primary Resources

What is a Primary Source?

Primary Sources are: "Materials produced by people or groups directly involved in the event or topic under consideration, either as participants or as witnesses." - Mary Lynn Rampolla. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History  (Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010), 6-7.

Possible examples:

Written Documents

  • Letters
  • Diaries
  • Newspapers / Magazine articles
  • speeches
  • Autobiographies
  • census data
  • marriage, birth and death registers

Other Documents

  • Works of art
  • Films
  • Recordings
  • Clothing
  • Household objects
  • Archeological remains
  • Oral sources (Interviews).

Primary Sources

  • Association for Cultural Equity
    • "Inspired by the example set by Alan Lomax, our mission is to stimulate cultural equity through preservation, research, and dissemination of the world's traditional music, and to reconnect people and communities with their creative heritage."
  • Historic Newspaper of South Carolina
    • "Free online access to historic local and regional newspapers originating throughout South Carolina since the 1700s."
  • Lowcountry Digital Library
    • "Produces digital collections and projects that support research about the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and historically interconnected sites in the Atlantic World.  "
  • Margaretta Childs Archive
    • "At the core of Historic Charleston Foundation's archival collection is the “Property Record Collection,” which provides information about the history and architecture of houses, buildings, and plantations in Charleston and the Lowcountry."
  • Private Voices
    • "Private Voices is the offspring of the Corpus of American Civil War Letters (CACWL) project, an effort to amass a large number of letters penned by individuals with limited educations who knew little about formal conventions of punctuation and capitalization. "
  • University of North Carolina's Race and Slavery Petition Project
    • "Offers data on race and slavery extracted from eighteenth and nineteenth-century documents and processed over a period of eighteen years. The Project contains detailed information on about 150,000 individuals, including slaves, free people of color, and whites. These data have been painstakingly extracted from 2,975 legislative petitions and 14,512 county court petitions, and from a wide range of related documents, including wills, inventories, deeds, bills of sale, depositions, court proceedings, amended petitions, among others. Buried in these documents are the names and other data on roughly 80,000 individual slaves, 8,000 free people of color, and 62,000 whites, both slave owners and non-slave owners."