Primary Sources

Teachers, need a primary source to create a lesson in the classroom? 

Students, need a source for research project? 

You can find the primary sources that used in the unit plans here where they are searchable by keyword, title, and topic.  

Besides an image of the source, on its page, you may also find ways to purchase copies for the classroom, a transcription, and its proper citation for inclusion in a bibliography.

Our digitized collection, however, is much bigger than this selection.  Be sure to search the Collection section of our website too.

And if you  need help reading old handwriting, there are many sources on line, such as this one from

Browse Sources

The preamble to the Constitution of the General Assembly of the Knights of Labor, which outlines the background and goals of the group, was published in 1888.

Terernce Powderly wrote Thirty Years of Labor in 1880 to document the causes that led to the formation of the Knights of Labor and its work as well to discuss its ideals.

One day prior to the Philadelphia Inquirer publishing this article, the court case indicting Albert D. Boileau, proprietor of the Evening Journal, took place. Boileau was taken into custody for publishing accusations of poor war efforts and choices in Lincoln's administration.

The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. It proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the ten Confederate states still in rebellion.

This belt commemorates William Penn's treaty with the Delaware Valley Indians.

Thomas Holme's A Portraiture of the City of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsylvania.  In 1682, William Penn appointed Holme surveyor-general of Pennsylvania and charged him with the task of laying out the "greene country towne" that Penn envisioned along the Delaware River.  The site that Penn acquired for the city of Philadelphia stretched two miles east to west across a tract of land situated between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers; all told, the rectangular grid of land comprised twelve thousand acres.  Holme imposed an orderly grid plan on the site, with streets o

This image appeared as an illustration in the January 24, 1863 issue of Harper's Weekly. It celebrated President Abraham Lincoln's decree emancipating slaves during the Civil War.  At the top of the illustration, the female figure Columbia, an early symbol of the United States, cheers emancipation. A portrait of President Lincoln is inset below.  

A print from 1862 with text that reads, "When Black Meets Black, Then Comes the End of War and Slavery."

This tintype is a full-length portrait of an African American family, with a man standing next to his seated wife and daughter. 

A lithograph with an inscription that reads, “Published by the Supervisory Committee for recruiting colored regiments. 1210 Chestnut St. Philadelphia.”

The proprietor of the Evening Journal in 1861 was a gentleman by the name of Albert Boileau, He was arrested because he was responsible for the Journal's publication of articles that denounced certain strategies of the North's effort in the Civil War and disparaged Lincoln's administration. This article debriefs the public on the court case that examined the legality of what the northern newspaper, the Evening Journal,  printed for the public.

This bulletin published in 1863 informs readers of the arrest of the proprietor of the Philadelpia Evening Journal, Dr. Albert Boileau, as well as of an associate of the Journal. The Journal recently published articles that derided the government and presidential administration, which is also mentioned in the article.