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Primary Sources: Finding Primary Source in Theatre and the Arts

This guide will discuss the difference between primary and secondary resources for use in research.

Primary Resources in Theatre and the Arts

Primary resources, though usually thought of as documents, can also be photographs, recordings, jewelry, works of art, architecture, clothing and other artifacts.

Primary Resources for Theatre and the Arts in the Jerry Falwell Library

Online Primary Resources in Art and Theatre

Niagra by Frederic Edwin Church 

Niagara Falls, 1857 - Oil on canvas - Frederic Edwin Church

  • The Granger Collection/ Universal Images Group - Rights Managed/ For Education Use Only

American Variety Stage

  • Multimedia collection from various Library of Congress holdings of Vaudeville and popular entertainment from 1870-1920

Art and Artist Files in the Smithsonian Libraries Collections

  • The Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library has a dynamic collection of over 150,000 files on Artists, Art Institutions, Collectors, and art-related Subjects. Files generally contain Ephemera such as small exhibition brochures; announcements of or invitations to gallery shows; press releases; newspaper, magazine, or auction catalog clippings; and/or reproductions.

Library of Congress Art and Architecture Collection

  • Includes 50,000 design drawings, documents, and engineering projects throughout the world. Another of its collections is the Cabinet of American Illustration. It also has the Drawings (Master) collection of works by artists of various nationalities.among many other areas of interest.

National Gallery of Art Images

  • Holds more than 51,000 open access digital images available free of charge for download and use.

Stories of the Italian Arts from Vasari

  • Published around 1550, Vasari wrote some of the first biographies of many famous Italian artists. Vasari is an important resource because he knew some of the artists personally, and lived during the same era as many of the others.