Primary Sources

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Primary Sources

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

         Students, need a source for a research project? 

You can find the primary sources that are 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, through Discover (HSP's Online Catalog) and the Digital Library.

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


View of Philadelphia Volunteer Refreshment Saloons. Lithograph by J. Queen, printed in colors by T. Sinclair and published by Job T. Williams, circa 1867.

Capt. William Willcox's Map of the Battle of Gettysburg, created in 1863.

Theodore Ditterline Map of the Battle of Gettysburg, created in 1863.

The receipt reads:

Sept....3  Received the Sum of Sixteen Shilings &8 for Forty Brooms @ 5 p. Piece. 
rec. by me
his mark
Andreas the Indian   

This ledger lists pelts, or animal skins, traded by Indians at Fort Pitt in 1764. The list of animals listed across the top of the ledger is representative of the types of peltry exchanged during this period. Note the large number of beaver and raccoon. In general, such pelts were traded in exchange for finished goods, such as tools and clothing.

A page from a calendar printed in America in 1757 by Christopher Saur for the German-speaking populace.  Used as the frontispiece of a book, 1770.

This print depicts political cartoon against Quaker Government; King Wampum is Israel Pemberton

From an engraving in "Nya Swerige," by Thomas Campanius Holm, published at Stockholm, A.D. 1702

This woodcut depicting Indians and Swedes engaged in trade was carved by Tomas Campanius. He never visited America but created the image from descriptions written by his grandfather who lived in New Sweden from 1643 to 1648. The inaccuracies of this image include circular headdreses, the depiction of war at point blank range, palm trees and three varieties of dwellings.

This excerpt on “School Savings Banks” (pages 209-214) was written by Sara Louisa Oberholtzer in the Transactions of the National Council of Women of the United States, assembled in Washington, D.C. The meeting was held February 22 to 25, 1891, and its proceedings published in Philadelphia that same year.

This letterhead was used by Sara Oberhotlzer in her work on the School Savings Banks under the auspices of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.  It includes the quote "The inculcation of thrift insures wiser living and decreases pauperism, intemperance, and crime."

This booklet by Sara Oberholtzer, superintendent of the School Savings Bank moment, consists of quotes from educators attesting to the importance of the school savings banks for students and their communities.