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ERH 102 Writing and Rhetoric: Find Primary Sources

This guide is designed as a starting point for conducting research using Preston Library's resources.

VMI Library Catalog

Search Preston Library's catalog @

Upon receiving the results of  a keyword or advanced search you must examine the left-hand menu under "format."  You will find listed "archival material."   Check the box and you will immediately have a list of primary sources.

What is a primary source?

"A primary source provides direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art. Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects. Interviews, surveys, fieldwork, and Internet communications via email, blogs, listservs, and newsgroups are also primary sources. In the natural and social sciences, primary sources are often empirical studies—research where an experiment was performed or a direct observation was made. The results of empirical studies are typically found in scholarly articles or papers delivered at conferences." - @

VMI Archives

Explore the VMI Archives for information about the Institute from its founding days to present. 

Search for primary sources which can be letters, diaries, photographs and more @

Here is an example of a cadet's diary:

John F. Hanna Cadet Diary, 1864

Find the full record @