Memoirs, speeches, writings, or correspondence of a person can be found by doing a Browse Search by author using the name (last name first) of the person.
Usually, library catalog records have at least one Subject describing the general topic of the book, video, or other material. Subjects can be subdivided to indicate further topical breakdown, geographical location, time period, or the form of the composition. Some of the form subdivisions that indicate the items is a primary source include:
Personal narratives: first person accounts of a particular event or time period
Sources: collections of contemporary writings
Description and Travel: good for finding travel journals; be sure to note the birth/death dates of the author to determine whether items with recent publication dates are primary sources for your time period.
Use the Advanced Search to combine a subject for one of the subdivisions above and keywords or subjects for a topic.
Remember, primary sources were written around the same time as an event or during a particular historical time period. To find contemporary writings, you can do searches in the library catalog by subject and limit to the years in question. A word of caution: this search strategy will not find materials that were reprinted at a later date.