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U.S. Elections

Primary Sources

Presidential ballot

Primary sources are original records or objects that provide first hand testimony or direct evidence about an historical event.


They are usually created by witnesses who experienced the events being documented. They are mostly created at the time when the events are occurring, but primary sources can also include memoirs and oral histories recorded later.


For more information about finding, evaluating and using primary sources, check out our comprehensive Primary Sources Library Guide.

Political Campaign Advertising

Living Room Candidate LogoThe Living Room Candidate

This online exhibition from the Museum of the Moving Image highlights Presidential campaign commercials, covering 1952-2016.


Political TV Ad ArchivePolitical TV Ad Archive

Provided by the Internet Archive, the Political TV Ad Archive features advertisements from the 2016 election cycle. Can search by candidates, sponsors, and more.


Stanford Political Communication LabStanford Political Communication Lab

This research project from Stanford University gathers research publications and advertising from Presidential campaigns going back to 1994.


Other Primary Sources

Be sure to check out these resources which have collections that cover a range of different primary sources.

United States Election Web ArchiveUnited States Election Web Archive

A collection by the Library of Congress, the United States Elections Web Archive contains copies of campaign websites. 2000-present.


The Commission On Presidential DebatesThe Commission on Presidential Debates

Videos and transcripts of the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. Video content covers 1988-2016 and transcripts 1976-2016 (and Kennedy/Nixon debates, 1960)


Harpers WeeklyHarpers Weekly: Presidential Elections 1860-1912

Political cartoons from Harpers Weekly and other leading journals about Presidential elections. The collection includes additional commentary and context for each cartoon.


American Presidency ProjectThe American Presidency Project

Hosted by UC Santa Barbara, The American Presidency Project is the best source of presidential documents online. Collection features over 135,000 documents.