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

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.

In this song, an Irish emigrant sings of his life working on constructing a canal.

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

The somber ballad of a lonely man is told as he leaves Ireland for America after his wife has died.

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.

“Emigrant’s Farewell to Donegal” provides the reasoning behind an Irishman’s emigration to the United States and concludes with a brief taste of how much his life has improved since his arrival.

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.