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

This cartoon illustrates Governor Pennypacker cleaning up Pennsylvania politics. In the illustration, he is depicted scrubbing the state with 'decent politics suds' and removing the stains from the map.

This political cartoon features President William Taft on his way to the White House. Taft will constantly be remembered for his large size, and this cartoon illustrates him blocking the political opposition with his large body.

This political cartoon was created by Ben Franklin and it depicts a snake cut into several pieces. Each piece represents a colony. Franklin created it to show the colonists that unity was necessary for survival.

One day prior to the Philadelphia Inquirer publishing this article, the court case indicting Albert D. Boileau, proprietor of the Evening Journal, took place. Boileau was taken into custody for publishing accusations of poor war efforts and choices in Lincoln's administration.

A printed version of the original Charter of Privileges by William Penn. This version was printed in 1741 by Benjamin Franklin.

This is a portrait of William Penn's mansion on Letitia Street in Philadelphia, built in 1682 and removed in 1883.

A portrait of William Penn by Francis Place.

Portrait of a young William Penn in armor.

The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. It proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the ten Confederate states still in rebellion.

This is a letter written by Thomas Drayton to his brother Percival in response to the election of Abraham Lincoln in November, 1860.

This is a letter written by William Penn to the King of the Indians. Penn asked the Native Americans to live in harmony with him and the colonists as neighbors and friends.

William Penn's treaty with the Native Americans. This  celebrated treaty was formed in the year 1682, under a large elm at Shackamaxon, now Kensington, Philadelphia.