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

From an engraving in "Nya Swerige," by Thomas Campanius Holm, published at Stockholm, A.D. 1702

This woodcut depicting Indians and Swedes engaged in trade was carved by Tomas Campanius. He never visited America but created the image from descriptions written by his grandfather who lived in New Sweden from 1643 to   1648. The inaccuracies of this image include circular headdreses, the depiction of war at point blank range, palm trees and three varieties of dwellings.

This excerpt on “School Savings Banks” (pages 209-214) was written by Sara Louisa Oberholtzer in the Transactions of the National Council of Women of the United States, assembled in Washington, D.C. The meeting was held February 22 to 25, 1891, and its proceedings published in Philadelphia that same year.

This letterhead was used by Sara Oberhotlzer in her work on the School Savings Banks under the auspices of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.  It includes the quote "The inculcation of thrift insures wiser living and decreases pauperism, intemperance, and crime."

This booklet by Sara Oberholtzer, superintendent of the School Savings Bank moment, consists of quotes from educators attesting to the importance of the school savings banks for students and their communities.

Broadside published by the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage citing 1910 Census data to show that women's suffrage will not be affected by African American population numbers.

 Map of the routes of envoys sent by the Congressional Union for Women's Suffrage to appeal to the voting women of the West.

This 1915 stamp shows each state's status of women's suffrage. 

This image is a map of the state of Pennsylvania and illustrates how each county in the state voted on the subject of women's suffrage in 1915.

Broadside published by the National Women's Party informing women of why they should picket the White House to fight for women's suffrage. 

This document, found in pages 17-20 of the manumission papers, describes the case of Marshall Green. Green obtained permission from his owner, Dr. Bouchell, to leave Maryland and go to Pennsylvania to get his children. When Green did not return to Maryland, he was pursued and arrested. Dr. Bouchell died before Green was returned. The court ruled that Green could not be arrested under the fugitive slave act since he did not escape or flee, but had the consent of his owner to go to Pennsylvania.

In this document, which can be found on pages 7-10 of the Manumissions papers, describes the case of Silva, a teenaged Cuban girl who was brought from Cuba to Rhode Island. She was manumitted upon arrival, but forced to serve a period of indentured servitude. The PAS argued that this was a violation of the 1807 Act of Congress outlawing the importation of slaves