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


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Letters from Rebecca Shoemaker and her daughters, loyalists during the American Revolution.  The letters presented are ones pertaining to how Rebecca Shoemaker and her daughters are treated by American patriots starting from June 30, 1780 to March 26, 1781.

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Within the Dr. and Mrs. Henry Drinker collection is Samuel Rowland Fisher memior. Samuel Fisher was a quaker within Philadelphia that was charged for being a Tory and jailed in March, 1779. This memior is Fisher's account of how he was convicted as a Tory and inprisoned.

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Daniel Cunyngham Clymer was an officer of the Philadelphia Military Associators of the 5th Rifle Battalion in 1776. In this document, called "The Protest of the Committee of Privates if the Military Association belonging to the City and Liberties of Philadelphia," the committee of Privates within Philadelphia list their greivences to Congress about the current miliary structure and practices enforced by Congress.


The manuscipt contains the accounts of theatical performances by Tories to entertain British soldiers during the American Revolution. This excerpt from the document is a song by the author of King Gorg. The excerpt of the song will include verses 1-4 and 7-8.

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This is a manuscript by Joseph Galloway, an American politician. This document is undated.

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.