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?

Here, we've listed the primary sources featured in our Unit Plans. Click on a primary source to go to its page, where you may find additional images, transcriptions of the text, a citation guide for including the source in a bibliography, or ways to purchase copies of the source for the classroom.

HSP's collections are not limited to the primary sources listed here. To see all that HSP has to offer, come visit us or explore our collection online through the Digitial Library and the Discover online catalog.

Some sources have handwriting that is difficult to read. If you need help decoding handwriting, check out this guide from Ancestry.


In the political cartoon, a ship from Great Britain, carrying cholera and immigrants headed to Castle Garden, is about to reach the New York shore. Men in a boat labeled "board of health" meet the ship and try to disinfect it with carbolic acid. Bottles of disinfectant labeled "disinfectant battery" are lined up along the shore.

Cover of book detailing efforts made by the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross during the influenza epidemic of 1918. 

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.