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 source has multiple images. Click on the image to view others.

World War II-era poster encouraging boys and girls to buy "victory stamps." Includes fold-out booklet for collecting stamps.

This Source has multiple images. Click on the image to view the others.

Various photographs of the Liberty Statue displayed at City Hall(1) is photograph of the crowd gathered in the City Hall plaza for the unveiling of the Liberty Statue, which was installed to promote the purchase of Liberty Loans.(2) is photograph of night scene showing the crowd gathered around the Liberty Statue in City Hall plaza. Visible on the facade of City Hall is a light display reading "Food Will Win the War. Don't Waste It."

Draft of speech by John Fryer to the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting concerning homosexuality and the psychiatric profession. Fryer was the protagonist of one of the most important moments in the history of the American gay rights movement. In 1964, Dr. Franklin E. Kameny publicly criticized the listing of homosexuality as a disease in medical literature.

Excerpt from Leonard Covello's article. The author examines different aspects about the immigrant communities in East Harlem and discusses the model of community-centered schools.

The diaries of Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker highlight the life of a Quaker woman living in Philadelphia in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Between 1758 and 1807, Drinker wrote often in her journals, usually about her family and their health. Occassionaly, she also detailed medical practices and her own moral standards. She discussed major events insofar as they affected her family, such as the Revolutionary War and the 1793 Yellow Fever outbreak.

This primary source is a portrait of Elizabeth Fergusson. She wrote poems about women during the Revolutionary War era that provide insight into a womans daily life. 

This image is a silhouette of Elizabeth Drinker. She was a Quaker loyalist living in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. Her diaries include accounts of the Yellow Fever epidemic, British occupation, and medical practices. 

This portrait of Philadelphia civil rights leader Octavius Catto comes from the frontispiece of the The Trial of Frank Kelly, for the Assassination and Murder of Octavius V. Catto, on October 10, 1871.

This cartoon from Puck Magazine, published on May 24, 1882, contrasts a group of people in America working hard with a group of people in Ireland sitting around and waiting for relief money from the United States.

This digital copy contains the Preface, address to teachers, and Lecture V titled "Method of analyzing plants by a series of comparisons--General remarks upon plants--Method of preserving plants for an herbarium--Poisonous plants, and those which are not poisonous." See the full digital version on this book on the Hathi Trust Digital Library here.

This cartoon, published in Puck magazine on August 10, 1881 contrasts a picture of wealthy citizens crowded together by choice at a hotel with a picture of Irish immigrants crowded together in a tenament building. 

This is a book written by William Still that documents his time as the Underground Railroad station master in Philadelphia. It gives a description of the fugitive slaves as well as the people who assisted them to safety.