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 ancestry.com.

Browse Sources

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.

A response to “No Irish Need Apply,” the song characterizes the Irish as charitable, courageous, entertaining, and as an important part of the American Civil War effort.

In this song, “Poor Pat” professes his love for his homeland while acknowledging the hardships of life in Ireland as he prepares for his journey to the United States.

William writes to his cousin John who has emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia. William tells of the situation of his family and of the continuing starvation and strife across Ireland as well as rising religious tension. He also mentions the upcoming exhibition for “all nations” in London while stressing the need for communication between relatives.

Hannah writes to her brother John who has emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia. In the letter Hannah shares the fear of impending famine that racks the whole of Ireland. The letter also discusses relationships within the Curtis family and the difficulty of correspondence between family members.

William writes to his nephew John, who has emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia. In the letter we learn that John was able to send his parents to America as well. William tells of the dire state of Ireland and the mass exodus to the United States. The letter also shares the importance and difficulties of communication between families. 

 

William writes to his nephew John, who has emigrated from Ireland to America. In the letter William paints a gloomy picture of the state of a nation suffering at the hands of famine. William alludes to a possible rebellion and stresses the importance of family correspondence.

Hannah writes to her brother John with great anger. Hannah feels that he, and the other members of her family, has forgotten her now that they are settled in America. She tells of the way in which relatives are sending for their family members’ safe passage to the United States, as well as the declining state of Ireland in terms of labor, famine and disease.