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

The Vigilant Committee of Philadelphia operated between 1837 and 1852; it was the secret auxiliary of the Vigilant Association. The Vigilant Committee's purpose was to appoint offices, raise revenue, and have resources readily available to assist runaway slaves while they stayed in or passed through Philadelphia. Such assistance could include food, clothes, shelter, transportation, medical attention, and legal fees.  The records are comprised of sixty-two entries, each of which describes the cases handled by the group between June 4, 1839 and March 3, 1840.

This text is an English-language translation of Gottlieb Mittelberger's original text, translated from German by Carl Theo. Eben - Gottlieb Mittelberger's journey to Pennsylvania the year 1750 and return to Germany in the year 1754, containing not only a description of the country according to its present condition, but also a detailed account of the sad and unfortunate circumstances of most of the Germans that have emigrated, or are emigrating to that country.

Memo by Sumiko Kobayashi entitled "Redress: Tips on Spreading the Word."  Sumiko Kobayashi, a second-generation Japanese American, or Nisei, was one of over 120,000 thousand Japanese-Americans evacuated from their homes under the provisions of Executive Order 9066 in 1942.  Written in 1983, this memo includes tips for speaking about the campaign for redress for the hardships that the Japanese endured as a result of their time in the internment camps.

These correspondences, from the collection of Sumiko Kobayashi, are from the JACL and organizations supportive of redress.

  • Letter from Anti-Defamation League to Senator Arlen Specter.
  • Letter from Ira "Bob" Born to Senator John Heinz and Sumi Kobayashi.
  • Correspondence between Ira Born and Sumi Kobayashi.
  • Letters from Sister Gloria Coleman and Sumi Kobayashi and to Senator Arlen Specter.
  • Letters from Sumi Kobayashi to Robert Horwitz at the Anti-Defamation League

This is a collection of mailed correspondances of the JACL's National Committee for Redress:

These are papers are correspondences from 1986 from the Legislative Education Committee of the Japanese American Citizens League from the collection of Sumiko Kobayashi.

This letter was written by Sonoko Iwata to her husband Shigezo Iwata on March 5, 1943.

This is a is letter from Shigezo Iwata to Sonoko Iwata dated June 18, 1942.

This is a letter sent by Sonoko Iwata to her husband Shigezo Iwata in 1942.

This letter was written by Sonoko Iwata to her husband Shigezo Iwata on April 10, 1942 while he was held in a Japanese Internment camp.

This is an undated photograph of two of Shigezo and Sonoko Iwata's daughters.

This is a photograph of Shizego and Sonoko Iwata from their family photograph collection.