MANGT 531 - Human Resources Management

Guide for student research project on why anti-discrimination legislation identifies protected classes.

Library Research Guide

What Is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are documents and records that were created at the time of an historical event or created by someone who witnessed or experienced that historical event.

Examples of primary sources include (but are not limited to):


  • diaries
  • legal documents & government records
  • letters
  • newspapers

Audio Visual

  • newsreels
  • oral histories

Images and Art

  • maps
  • political cartoons
  • paintings
  • photographs

Material Culture

  • clothing
  • furniture
  • tools
  • consumer products

Many of these items can also be secondary sources. The key distinction is when it was created or by whom in relation to the historical event.


Newspaper articles about the election of Susanna M. Salter who, when elected in 1887, became simultaneously the first woman mayor of Argonia, KS and the first woman mayor in the United States.

1. Newspaper article written in 1887 -- primary source, written at the time of the historical event.

2. Newspaper article written in 1961 when Salter died, describing her role in history -- secondary source, written after the fact, by someone who did not witness her term in office.

3. Newspaper article written in 1920 that included interviews with Salter and other residents of Argonia during her term-- the interviews can be primary sources because the people experienced the historical event.

Essential Primary Source Collections

These resources are good starting points for finding primary sources.

More primary sources are provided on the Sources for Selected Topics, Events, and Classes page.

Digital Public Library of America is the best starting point for many topics. You can search by keywords, including people's names, the names of organizations, events, and laws. This is a free website that you can continue accessing after you leave K-State.

ProQuest Congressional is a good source for hearings about the proposed laws. Your best search method is by the name of the law (this should be in your notes or readings for class). The people who spoke at the hearings provide testimony about why the law should or should not be passed. You may want to focus on the testimony of those who were members of the protected class being discussed as they will often describe their working conditions.

Content Warning

These materials may include images and text reflecting various forms of oppression, including but not limited to offensive language or negative stereotypes. Instances of bigotry reflect the attitudes, perspectives and beliefs of those that created and participated in them and should be considered records of the era in which they were produced.

Content warning developed by Irina Rogova, Digital Resources Archivist

Free Digital Collections

Congressional Documents

Historical Newspapers