Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Primary Source Sets
  • Abraham Lincoln, 1865Abraham Lincoln: Rise to National Prominence
    Speeches, correspondence, campaign materials and a map documenting the free and slave states in 1856 chronicle Lincoln’s rise to national prominence
  • Group of Indian boys from Dakota territoryAssimilation through Education
    Photos, early film footage, federal government reports, cartoons, and maps tell the complex tale of the efforts to assimilate Native Americans through education
  • Spanish-American baseball guideBaseball: Across a Divided Society
    Song sheets, video clips, images, trading cards, and photographs tell the story of how baseball emerged as the American national pastime. Featured primary source items show Americans from different backgrounds and social experiences embracing the sport
  • Drawing of Muddy JimChildren’s Lives at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
    Images, film, and books shed light on the ways in which children worked, learned, and played around the year 1900. Especially suitable for early grades
  • John Brown - extract taken from a song sheetThe Civil War: The Nation Moves Towards War, 1850-61
    Conflict between abolition and slavery marked the 1850s, preceding the election of 1860 and the attack on Fort Sumter. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, Dred Scott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown, and secession in maps, newspapers, political cartoons and song sheets
  • Portrait of a musician U.S. CavalryCivil War Music
    Sound files, sheet music, photographs, letters and maps help students better understand the American Civil War through study of the popular song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
  • The Foundation of American Government - HintermeisterConstitution
    Newspaper articles, notes, and original documents trace the process of drafting and adopting the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Speeches and song lyrics show how later generations used and interpreted the original ideals of the United States
  • Migrant Agricultural Worker's FamilyDust Bowl Migrations
    Photographs, recorded music, and song lyrics document the daily ordeals of rural migrant families from the Great Plains during a decade marked by both the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression
  • Alice PaulFound Poetry
    Using primary source texts on a variety of subjects, students select words to retell the historical content in poetic form
  • Bessie SmithHarlem Renaissance
    Photographs, authors' drafts, sheet music, an audio recording, and newspaper articles let students explore the artistic and literary legacy of the Harlem Renaissance
  • Drawing of soldiers from the Huexotzinco Codex, 1531Hispanic Exploration in America
    Songs, maps, drawings, paintings, written documents and presentations outline the role of Hispanic explorers in the discovery, exploration, and development of America
  • U.S. Inspectors Examining Eyes of ImmigrantsImmigration Challenges for New Americans
    Photographs, maps detailing immigration patterns, official documents, song sheets and streaming audio recount the immigrant experience in America, their reasons for leaving their homelands, and the reactions of established Americans
  • Photo of a 'Breaker Boy', coal minerThe Industrial Revolution in the United States
    Maps, songs, photos, and political cartoons tell the story of the United States' transition to an industrial nation
  • Dayton Homecoming, 1909The Inventive Wright Brothers
    Wilbur and Orville Wright went from repairing bicycles to inventing the airplane. Photographs, newspapers articles, personal letters and telegrams, and official army documents record their experiences and their experiments
  • The Englishmen's arrival in VirginiaJamestown
    Maps, images, and text tell the story of the first English settlement in North America, and how it came to be regarded in later years
  • Japanese-Amercian campJapanese American Internment During World War II
    Official documents, newspapers, and images offer perspectives on the Japanese American experience of forced relocation to internment camps during World War II
  • Airshow with a Jim Crow TrailerJim Crow in America
    After the Civil War, most Southern states limited the economic and physical freedom of former slaves by enacting laws that came to be called Jim Crow laws. This primary source set presents popular views on, and the causes and effects of, these laws
  • Old sailing shipMaps From The World Digital Library
    Explore maps from different cultures and eras to discover diverse perspectives on the world's geography. All the items in this set are from the World Digital Library, a project that makes available significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world
  • Booker T. WashingtonThe NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom
    The story of America's oldest and largest civil rights organization, told through letters, photographs, maps, and more
  • Photo of a 'Relief ClientThe New Deal
    Photographs, posters, oral histories, and music recount how Federal programs sought to end the Great Depression
  • Cartoon of a man from an Anti-Confederacy cartoonPolitical Cartoons in U.S. History
    Political cartoons paired with other historical documents let students explore the ways in which cartoonists try to persuade their audience
  • Map of the USAPrimary Sources By State
    The Library of Congress has rich documents and artifacts from every state, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Browse some of the best primary sources by state
  • The Statue of LibertySymbols of the United States
    Posters, sheet music, newspaper cartoons, and photos illuminate several of the most recognizable symbols of the United States. Especially suitable for early grades
  • The First Thanksgiving, 1621Thanksgiving
    Study photographs, paintings, letters, and official proclamations to discover historical perspectives on American Thanksgiving holiday traditions beginning with the pilgrims who came to North America on the Mayflower
  • Gunner Nice of the “Devil-Dogs”Veterans' Stories: The Veterans History Project
    The personal stories of American war veterans and civilian workers who supported them, as recorded in interviews, diaries, letters, photographs, and drawings
  • Daniel Burress, Marines, VietnamVeterans' Stories: Struggles for Participation
    Women and people of color have often had to overcome obstacles in order to participate fully in the U.S. armed forces. Veterans tell their stories through interviews, memoirs, and photographs
  • President WashingtonWashington, Jefferson, and Lincoln: Three Great Presidents
    Images and documents that introduce three important U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Especially suitable for early grades
  • American progressWestward Expansion: Encounters at a Cultural Crossroads
    The expansion of the U.S. westward and the encounters that resulted are documented in photographs, sheet music, maps, letters, oral history, and more
  • Suffrage Parade, New York CityWomen's Suffrage
    Sound files, sheet music, photographs, letters and maps help students better understand women's suffrage