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Good and Bad Primary Sources

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Good Primary Sources

In the grand scheme of history, The Dust Bowl is a relatively recent event and because of this there are a lot of good primary sources.  Of course there are always pictures.  Another primary source I have found are the folk songs of a Dust Bowl survivor, Woodie Guthrie.  Woodie Guthrie, like all the pictures of The Dust Bowl, Guthrie’s songs were trying to raise awareness of The Dust Bowl and its migrants.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Bad Primary Sources

I have been lead to believe that all primary sources when it comes to writing a history paper, are good things.  The only example of a bad primary source that I can think of is the book that my prof. was displeased with because it was a secondary source that had primary sources in it.  The book Environmental Issues in American History: A Reference Guide with Primary Documents by Chris J. Magoc is exactly what the title says it is, a secondary source with reference to primary sources.  Although there are good primary sources in there, the sources could have been chosen and others left out because of bias.