Mail and Migration (for Educators)

Primary or Secondary Sources?
refer to caption

10-cent Hardships of Emigration stamp

Virtual Exhibit

Created by Sharon Deane, Education Intern

What does this photograph tell you about life in the American West? Who are the people? What are they doing? Do you think this is a primary or seecondary source? Why or why not? Does it matter? How can a historian learn from both types of sources?

Photograph of emigrants
This is a black and white photograph of emigrant farmers living in Southeast Custer County, Nebraska. The photograph shows two men and one woman standing outside a wood-framed house with farming equipment, a wagon, horses, and other animals.
Courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society. RG2608.PH:1333

Remember, primary sources are objects and first-hand accounts created by witnesses during the time of an event in history. And secondary sources are objects from a later time period and second-hand accounts by individuals who did not witness or experience the events recorded.