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Module 3: How to use primary sources

Step 1: The document.
What is it?

First, consider what kind of a primary source document you have. Is it a letter, a newspaper clipping, a report? Is it a photograph? If so, what photographic technology was used to create it? No matter what kind of document you’re dealing with, be as specific as possible about what it is. You must understand the type of historical record it is in order to go on to the next set of questions.

If it is a type of document you’re unfamiliar with, you may need to do some background research.

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1940 Western Union telegram

If you don't know much about the type of document you're dealing with, you may need to do some background research to find out more. (Click to see the entire document.)

Student Scrapbooks and Papers
Molly Jean Wilson Senniger Papers, 1939-1942; etc.
Record Series 41/20/122

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