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Primary Sources & Where To Find Them

An introduction to primary sources and some of the tools one can use to identify them.

Regional Archives

Many cities, towns, organizations, and companies have their own archives, museums, or historical societies. These can often be revealed by a simple Web search. Some will be private, others public. If you're requesting access to a private archive, make sure you have a clear, easily articulated reason for wanting to peruse its content. You have a better chance of gaining access if you come across as a serious researcher with a genuine sense of curiosity and purpose. If a collection isn't searchable online, it's usually a good idea to communicate with the archivists or curators who take care of it to get a better idea of what it includes. This will help you gauge whether an actual visit would be worth your time.

The CWU archivists can help you identify more specialized archival collections in the region. They can be reached at 509-963-1717, or you can visit them in person at Archives & Special Collections on the second floor of the library.