Primary Sources

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Primary Sources

Teachers, need a primary source to create a lesson in the classroom? 

         Students, need a source for a research project? 

You can find the primary sources that are 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, through Discover (HSP's Online Catalog) and the Digital Library.

And if you need help reading old handwriting, there are many sources on line, such as this one from


This is the first printing of the Declaration of Independence by John Dunlap. You can see quotation marks which were copied from Thomas Jefferson’s original draft that was read to the Continental Congress.   

In this photocopy of an Advertisement for RCA Victor's Red Seal Records, the ad promotes a recording of African American singer Marian Anderson singing Franz Schubert's Ave Maria and Aufenthalt. The advertisement notes a radio show, The Music America Loves Best and urges people to "Buy more war bonds."

This photograph of Marian Anderson is undated. Within the Digital Library file, there are a variety of photographs of her, including ones of Marian Anderson greeting servicemen at the Naval Hospital and receiving the Philadelphia Award ceremony, both from 1941.

Course and faculty descriptions for the Philadelphia School of Occupational Therapy. Courses involved a mixture of psychology, special needs, hospital, and arts and crafts education.

Photograph of Marine veteran from the American Civil War greeting wounded soldiers returning from France. Photograph from the Philadelphia War Photograph Committee collection documenting World War I participation on the Philadelphia home front.

A Liberty Loan poster depicting a wounded soldier in the hospital writing a letter home. Text describes what the soldier has sacrificed for those at home and pleads for Americans to buy Liberty Bonds. Published by the Liberty Loan Committee, Third Federal Reserve District, Philadelphia.

Item is the Fifth Annual Report of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society published in 1839 by Merrihew and Thompson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The final page includes a list of officers for 1839 which has been edited in pencil. President Sarah Pugh, Vice President Huldah Justice, Recording Secretary Anna M. Hopper (edited to read Susan Haydon?), Corresponding Secretary Mary Grew, Treasurer Catharine Shoye (edited to read Elizabeth J.

Seal of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. The Society was organized in 1833 by Quaker Abolitionist Lucretia Mott at 107 North 5th Street. From its inception, the Society was interracial and its members included African-American businessman James Forten's three daughters. The Society lobbied for the emancipation of enslaved blacks and supported the efforts of the Underground Railroad by providing housing, protection, and transportation to escaped slaves.

World War I-era recruitment poster targeting veterans. The Arch Street Recruiting Station sought veterans to re-enlist during World War I, asking them to defend their country because "she needs you now."

This draft, printed by Dunlap and Claypoole, is the second draft of the Constitution, printed for use of members of the Constitutional Convention. Broom was a delegate to the Convention from Delaware. This second draft no longer lists states separately, but rather as “We, the People of the United States…”

This digital record contains four images of two pages. Each page has been seperately encased and the writing is visible on both sides.

This is the first draft of the Constitution wtritten and signed by James Wilson, delegate to the Constitutional Convention from York, PA, and chair of the Committee of Detail. The committee was charged to draft the Constitution. The earliest surviving version of the Constitution, it consists of four sheets. One unique features is that it lists all of the states in the first line. Also, it states “The stile of the government shall be the ‘United People and States of America.

Photo album of Capatin Stephen H. Noyes from his time as a reconnaissance aviator for the United States during World War I.