Featured Primary Sources

Immigration and Migration

Nothing can enrich and enliven our understanding of the nation’s past, or dispel apathy about it, more powerfully than primary sources. The primary sources below open up a variety of viewpoints and have been chosen by master teachers specifically for use in the classroom. Affiliate School members can print a packet that includes an image of the document, photograph, or other resource, a transcript where applicable, text to place the document in historical context, and document-based questions. In addition, you may want to search the Gilder Lehrman Collection itself for other resources to enrich your lessons.

“The Americanese wall - as Congressman [John Lawson] Burnett would build it ,” 1

Immigration cartoon, 1916

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography Grade Levels:

Literacy and the immigration of “undesirables,” 1903

Creator: Immigration Restriction League Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels:
Workingmen’s Party of California, “Chinatown declared a nuisance!” 1880

San Francisco’s Chinatown, 1880

Creator: Workingmen's Party of California Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
"Liberty Enlightening the World," Root and Tinker, New York, 1884 (LOC)

Statue of Liberty, 1884

Creator: Ulysses S. Grant Curriculum Subjects: Literature Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“[A Farewell Ode to Emigrants on Their Journey to America],” Hamar, Norway, 1853

Verses on Norwegian emigration to America, 1853

Creator: Thorvald A. Hansen Curriculum Subjects: Foreign Languages, Literature, World History Grade Levels:

Primary Sources from Other Sub-Eras

Samuel Russell to his mother and sisters, June 10, 1862 (Gilder Lehrman Collecti

On the emigrant trail, 1862

Creator: Samuel Russell Curriculum Subjects: Geography Grade Levels:
“Americans All” poster, War Manpower Commission, Washington DC, 1942. (GLC09530)

Preventing labor discrimination during World War II, 1942

Creator: War Manpower Commission Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:

The Haymarket Affair, 1886

Creator: Dyer D. Lum Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
US Food Administration. Food Will Win the War, ca. 1917. (GLC09522)

“Food Will Win the War,” 1917

Creator: United States Food Administration Curriculum Subjects: Economics, World History Grade Levels: