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 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. 

This map, found in the Journal of General Edward Braddock's Expeditons, shows the route and encampments of the British Army in 1755. 

This map shows a draft of Fort Pittsburgh drawn by Lieutenant Thomas Hutchins dated April 4, 1759 and contains a detailed key that names different areas within the fort. 

This map shows a rough plan of Pittsborough, the name given to the area between the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers by General Forbes when the British reclaimed the land in 1758. The plan is from the Penn Family Papers on Indian Affairs and does not contain a date. 

This flyer from 1968 invites its reader to hear Reverand Andrew J. Young speak about the meaning of social action at Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church.

This 1966 CORE/SNCC flyer informs readers of an upcoming meeting entitled "Down South - Up South." It presents the time and place of the meeting as well as a number of prominent guests scheduled to attend. 

To see additional flyers, click the "View or Buy" button at the right. Then use the "Zoom/more media" button on that page.

As a response to the beatings of school children who requested better conditions in their schools, this flyer instructs blacks to withhold their money from the school district until Police Commissioner Rizzo is fired. The flyer is from the Thelma McDaniel Collection and is not dated. 

This flyer instructs blacks to boycott A & P stores until the stores employ "colored" people. It is from the Thelma McDaniel Collection and dated between 1966-1971.  

Loren Miller, a specialist in housing discrimination, presented this speech to the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing on December 12, 1958. In his speech, Miller cited the discriminatory occurences in Levittown and Little Rock to advocate against residential segregation. 

This collection contains the correspondence of Henry Patterson with numerous members of the President's Committee on Government Contracts as he attempts to attain fair treatment for blacks in America. Dates for the documents span from 1953 to 1958. 

To view all correspondence, click "view or buy" button to right.  Then use the "Zoom/more media" button.