Any document, image, or artifact created at the time of the topic being researched is a primary source. Examples include: eyewitness accounts, autobiographies and memoirs, diaries, letters, speeches, reports, newspapers, household and day-to-day objects, clothing, works of art, architecture, and photographs.
Please note: primary source documents are a reflection of the time and culture in which they were created and may contain language or images that are considered offensive today.
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Here are some examples of primary sources found on the Internet Archive:
Dodd, George. Days at the Factories; Or, The Manufacturing Industry of Great Britain Described and Illustrated by Numerous Engravings of Machines and Processes. London: Charles Knight and Co., 1843
Engels, Friedrich. The Condition of the Working-Class in 1844. New York: J.W. Lovell Co., 1887. (First published in 1845.)
Gaskell, P. The Manufacturing Population of England : Its Moral, Social, and Physical Conditions, and the Changes which have Arisen from the Use of Steam Machinery; with an Examination of Infant Labour. London : Baldwin and Cradock, 1833.
Great Britain Commissioners for Inquiring into the Employment and Condition of Children in Mines and Manufactories. The Physical and Moral Condition of the Children and Young Persons Employed in Mines and Manufactures. London: John W. Parker, 1843.
Routledge, Robert. Discoveries and Inventions of the Nineteenth Century. London: G. Routledge, 1881
Tomlinson, Charles. The Useful Arts and Manufactures of Great Britain. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1848 (manufacturing of paper, glass, leather, parchment, glue, sugar, and various textile materials.)