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


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This cartoon presents John D. Rockefeller telling a bedtime story to the child in his arms that is labeled “common people.” It is referencing Rockefeller’s business tactics and poking fun at how he came to corner the oil market.

This cartoon is referencing the "Panic of 1907" that caused several banks and trusts to fail. Although it was quickly quelled, it is known as the first modern day banking panic where people began to question banking procedures.

At the time of the Civil War, the local volunteer militia was only allowed to serve three months out of a year. This illustration is refferencing that by showing the man coming home, yet assuring his family he will return to the militia soon. 

This illustration compares the 1860 Presidential Race to Baseball. Baseball was a popular sport, even in the 1800s, although the rules were slightly different than today. In the cartoon, President Abraham Lincoln is the only candidate to score a "run" and he is carrying a rail, not a baseball bat. 

This cartoon is in reference to President Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policies, particularly pardoning Confederates. 

Jefferson Davis is running away from oncoming soldiers after the Confederacy surrendered. 

This cartoon was created after the Battle of Chancellorsville, somtimes considered General Lee's greatest victory.

This cartoon is mocking women who live in the North, yet are Southern sympathizers. 

This is an image from the Civil War depicting men attempting to dodge the draft. Many people were against conscription, particulary immigrants, since they felt they were not involved in the politics that led to the Civil War. Two days after this cartoon was published, there was a draft riot in Wisconsin. 

This cartoon is from the 1860 election and it depicts President Abraham Lincoln coming into the White House while Stephen Douglas attempts to break in. President Lincoln is holding a rail because he was sometimes referred to as the "Rail Splitter." 

This cartoon was created at the beginning of the Civil War to illustrate that the Union would not fall to the South. The donkey, named South Carolina, cannot pull down the Union.

Created during the 1864 Presidential Election, Lincoln is surpassing McClellan who can no longer keep a hold on his horses. The horses represent the policies of the candidates, and it shows McClellan juggling too much at once.