Skip to main content

GSW 210 LGBTQ Experiences In US History (Zigelyte)

Object Analysis

Primary sources are documents or physical objects created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Examples include:

  • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records 
  • CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art 
  • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

Secondary sources interpret and analyze primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them.  Examples include: Textbooks, journal articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries, etc.
                                                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                                                                  Briggs Innitiative - CA Proposition 6, 1977-78


Interrogating a Primary Source:
Who created the item and what is their historical significance? 
Who was the intended audience?
Where was it created and when?
Where does the source fit into the chronology of the period being studied?
What key names, dates and events can be gleaned from the item? 
What attitude towards the subject matter/event does the creator of the item seem to impart? (e.g. What tone is set? If textual, are there interesting word choices and what might the author's choice in their use mean? Why was it created? Why was it created and what purpose did it originally serve? What biases may inherently or intentionally exist in it?).

Making Connections:
What questions do I have from examining these materials?  Are there thoughts or ideas that could be defined or explained? (e.g. specialized language or jargon, references to legislation, places, other events, or people, etc.).

What other primary sources might I look for to help round out the story behind the sources I currently have?

What ideological theories or philosophies can be applied to the item?

Sample Set