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

Sonoko Iwata at age 2, with parents, at home in Montebello, CA, circa 1914. Standing: Miyo and Miyosaku, mother and father of Sonoko.

Sonoko Iwata and her mother are pictured here in the garden at the Green Hotel.

Letter from Dora Kelly Lewis to her daughter, Louise Lewis,  April 14, 1920. In it, she mentions how the "negro question" could ruin the campaign for suffrage.

Letter from Dora Kelly Lewis to her daughter, Louise Lewis,  January 10, 1919.  Dora Kelly Lewis served actively in the Suffrage movement and became an executive member of the National Women's Party in 1913.  She was imprisoned while campaigning for voting rights for women and wrote letters from prison to her family discussing her suffragist activities and reassuring them that her actions were not illegal.

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.