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

An 1881 pamphlet from the Civil-Service Reform Association of Philadelphia titled, “Purposes of the Civil-Service Reform League.”

Edward Sayres Collection.

A 1937 Pennsylvania Civil Service Association pamphlet. "Pennsylvania's Opportunity,"  part of the PA Civil Service Reform League Collection.

This letter is part of the Edward Sayres Collection and is dated 14 April 1881. Written by Wayne MacVeagh to Edward Sayres.

An open letter dated Apr. 8, 1890 to President Benjamin Harrison by Henry Charles Lea.

Article from the Philadelphia Record, 2 January 1931.

"400 Bankers Trust Employees Dropped"

Article from the Philadelphia Record, 23 December 1930.

"Directors Put Bankers Trust in State Hands"

Article from the Philadelphia Record, 22 December 1930.

"Crowd Orderly and Composed at Closed Bank."

Western Union telegram calling Albert M. Greenfield to a board meeting on closing of Bankers Trust, Dec. 22, 1930.

Letter from Mary E. Mayer to Albert M. Greenfield of Bankers Trust, Jan. 6, 1931, after the bank had closed asking if he could help her access some of her savings.

This 1794 indenture, or contract, binds Letitia Beard "to learn the art, trade and mystery of a housewife."  



This 1750 legal document between John Henry Coats, his father, and shoemaker John Humphries obligates Humphries to teach Coats the trade.


The song illustrates the conflicted sense of nationalism felt by Irish emigrants.