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

This is a blank summary form for recording notes of meetings with Congressional representatives concerning redress for the hardships that the Japanese endured as a result of their time in the internment camps.  It includes sections for recording the representative's position on redress and views on compensation. This form was used by the Japanese American Citizens League in their redress efforts.

Instructions to persons of Japanese ancestry from the Western Defense Command and Fourth Army Wartime Civil Control Administration, Presidio of San Francisco, California. This ordered all people of Japanese ancestry, whether they were citizens or non-citizens, who were living in "Military Area No. 1" to report to assembly centers.

This record comes from the Pennsylvania Abolition Society Committee on Employment's Freedmen's Employment Agency books in the early 1860's.

This document is an employment circular from the Pennsylvania Abolition Society's Committee on Employment.

This was a report from teachers to the Clarkson Educational Association detailing their thoughts on the school.

This is a floorplan of Clarkson Hall, a school run by the Pennsylvania Abolition Society and its headquarters for many years.

This is another page of the Census on the Condition of Colored People in Philadelphia in 1847 which studed the local African-American community.

This is a page from the Colored Census of Philadelphia conducted in 1847. This census focused on gathering data about the African-American community in Philadelphia.

This newsletter in English and Chinese was published in July 1975 to protest demolition within Chinatown.  State and City officials are held to blame.

This cartoon, published in Puck in the 1880s, reinforces the stereotype of the Irishman as an essentially combative troublemaker. Uncle Sam reprimands him, "Look here, you, everybody else is quiet and peaceable, and you're all the time a-kicking up a row!"  The editorial that accompanied the cartoon asserted: "the raw Irishman in America is a nuisance, his son a curse. They never assimilate; the second generation simply shows an intensification of all the bad qualities of the first. . .

This cartoon references anti-Catholic attitudes common throughout the 19th century that Catholics were anti-democratic and loyal primarily to the Pope.  Here the pontiff dreams of presiding over "A Catholic America" that values "The Church First -- The Country Afterwards."  It is from the Balch Institute Broadsides Collection.

In 1763, William Trent kept a daily journal and Orderly book during his time at Fort Pitt. These excerpts are from May and June of that year. While his journal provides an account of the daily life at the fort, the orderly book gives an account of Trent's leadership and the role of the military at the fort.