Primary Source Collections

Access to primary source document collections for studying history is one of the most exciting online opportunities.

K-12 students heretofore would not be able to peruse first-hand accounts, old news articles, maps and so much more without visiting real major archive collections in person.

Unfortunately, using search engines to locate this type of information can return a million sites of varying quality.

Taking advantage of these well-cataloged sites and specialized databases will be far more efficient and valuable.

Comprehensive resources ...

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Calisphere - University of California

Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 200,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons,…  learn more

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Digital Collections

A list of the over 200 on-line collections maintained by the Library of Congress. You and your students can view maps & photographs; read letters, diaries & newspapers;…  learn more

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History Now

New content is added regularly to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History website, including online exhibitions, videos, lesson plans, and issues of the online journal History Now,…  learn more

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The United States Supreme Court

The official site for the U.S. Supreme Court includes slip opinions that are released on the day that a case is decided, volumes of all of the Court's…  learn more

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U.S. National Archives and Records Administration On-Line Exhibits

NARA, the U.S. National Archives and Record Administration,now called just Archives, has just begun to display its holdings, almost all of which cannot be found elsewhere. For starters…  learn more

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Famous Trials

Famous Trials looks at everything from the trial of Socrates (399 B.C.) to Susan B. Anthony (1873) to the Nuremberg Trials (1945-49)and the recent Zimmerman ("Trayvon Shooting") Trial…  learn more

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Spartacus Educational

Main Menus British History American History Germany History Russian History French History First World War Second World War Spanish Civil War Cold War Vietnam War Assassination of John…  learn more

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Annenberg Classroom

This website connects Annenberg's award-winning, comprehensive curriculum on the Constitution and its amendments to daily civics news and student discussion. Their nonpartisan writers sift through national and local…  learn more

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Historical Thinking Matters

Historical Thinking Matters is a collaboration between the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and Stanford University's History Education group. The resources can be…  learn more

Using Primary Sources

Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts…  learn more

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Picturing Modern America: 1880 - 1920

Offers representative photos for students to replicate the work of historians by sifting and comparing photos for the history of the U.S. between 1880 and 1920. EDC has…  learn more

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Read Write Think: Primary Sources

Primary sources are the raw materials of history—original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations…  learn more

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Lyrical Legacy: 400 Years of American Song and Poetry

Lyrical Legacy helps teachers explore eighteen American songs and poems from the digital collections of the Library of Congress. Each song and poem is represented by an original…  learn more

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National Archives: Educator Resources

Our Documents is a collaboration among many archive agencies to provide wider access to key U.S. History expressions of turning points. Often, texts include excerpts of these primary…  learn more

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Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment

Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change…  learn more

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STEAMing into the Future: E-Learning Lessons

Steamship Historical Society of America. We share our archival resources through K – 12 STEAM education lessons. All lesson are 100% free to use and conform to education standards. Steamships…  learn more

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Are you teaching history or social studies this year and looking for new tools and resources to incorporate into your lessons? As you prepare to go back to…  learn more

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Facing History: Lessons & Mini-Lessons

Feel prepared to discuss challenging current events or to explore pivotal periods in history with your students. Our lessons are written using Facing History’s unique pedagogical approach, with…  learn more

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National Council for History Education: Resources

The National Council for History Education is dedicated to providing pedagogically sound and historically significant resources to support teachers and historians. Our resources page is organized to reflect…  learn more

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KIDCITIZEN INTRODUCES A NEW WAY FOR YOUNG STUDENTS (K-5) TO ENGAGE WITH HISTORY THROUGH PRIMARY SOURCES. KidCitizen provides a growing set of interactive episodes where K-5 students work…  learn more

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Library of Congress: Lesson Plans

Teacher-created lesson plans using Library of Congress primary sources.  learn more

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National History Day: Teacher Resources

Classroom Tools. National History Day® (NHD) works with organizations to develop lessons and resources for teaching a variety of content areas. All NHD materials are developed by teachers for…  learn more

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Unit 5: Giving Thanks

Plimoth Patuxet Museum. Americans have long thought the history of the American holiday Thanksgiving to be relatively simple. The actual story of how the story of “the First…  learn more

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Ancestry: Making Connections Between the Past & Present

Ancestry® has a long-term commitment to education, and proud to assist educators and parents with their focus on finding new and unique curriculum topics and to foster more…  learn more

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Plimoth Patuxet: You are the Historian

Get transported to Patuxet, the pre-European homeland of the Wampanoag, and be immersed in a story of cultural change and persistence that spans 12,000 years. This Teacher Toolkit includes…  learn more

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Bill of Rights Institute Lessons

Primary-source based, ready to use lesson plans for history, government, and civics classrooms  learn more

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Women & the American Story

Welcome to Women & the American Story! A digital curriculum for K-12 classrooms.  Women & the American Story (WAMS) is designed with that in mind. The primary resources and…  learn more

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Teaching Resources for Women’s History and Women’s Rights

March is Women’s History Month! We have teaching resources for teaching about women’s rights and changing roles in American history during this or any month. Using the founding…  learn more

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Multnomah Homework Center

The Multnomah Library Homework Center provides a list of primary sources for a wide range of subjects and topics. Historical research relies on documents and artifacts that date…  learn more

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Engaging Congress

What is Engaging Congress? Engaging Congress is a FREE, fun, interactive game that uses primary source documents to explore the basic tenets of representative government and the challenges they face in contemporary society.…  learn more

Teaching Lincoln’s Assassination and Legacy

Explore the life, leadership, death and legacy of Abraham Lincoln through primary sources and lesson plans developed by our education staff and master teachers. We offer ready-to-use history lesson…  learn more

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Docs Teach: Bring History to Life

DocsTeach is a product of the National Archives education division. Our mission is to engage, educate, and inspire all learners to discover and explore the records of the…  learn more

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Primary Sources Lesson Plan

Lesson objectives: Skills objective• Understand how the historical thinking practice of sourcing is critical for interpreting historical documents. Description:In this introductory lesson on historical sourcing, students begin by…  learn more

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Chicago History Museum: Classroom Resources

The Chicago History Museum hosts an extensive collection of classroom resources covering curriculum for grades 1 through 12. The site includes both online and downloadable activities. Lesson plans…  learn more

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Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America empowers people to learn, grow, and contribute to a diverse and better-functioning society by maximizing access to our shared history, culture, and…  learn more