Featured Primary Sources

Economics

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, and text to place the document in historical context. Additionally, you may want to search the Gilder Lehrman Collection itself for other resources to enrich your lessons.

Sebastian Brandt to Henry Hovener, January 13, 1622. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

A Jamestown settler describes life in Virginia, 1622

Creator: Sebastian Brandt Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The protectors of our industries, Gillam ; Mayer Merkel & Ottmann lithograph, NY

Anti-corporate cartoons, ca. 1900

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Art, Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Inaugural Parade. Michelle and Barack Obama watch the parade from the viewi

Barack Obama’s First Inaugural Address, 2009

Creator: Barack Obama Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Enlistment poster for the Arizona Civilian Conservation Corps., September 24, 19

Civilian Conservation Corps poster, 1938

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Art, Economics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
George Washington to John Francis Mercer, September 9, 1786. (Gilder Lehrman

George Washington on the abolition of slavery, 1786

Creator: George Washington Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9
Franklin D. Roosevelt, [Press release of speech delivered on Memorial Day at Get

George Washington would have supported the New Deal, 1934

Creator: Franklin D. Roosevelt Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Herbert Hoover to Louis L. Emmerson, July 10, 1931. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Herbert Hoover on the Great Depression and New Deal, 1931–1933

Creator: Herbert Hoover Curriculum Subjects: Foreign Languages Grade Levels:
Inaugural Address of President Herbert Hoover, March 4, 1929 (Gilder Lehrman Col

Herbert Hoover’s Inaugural Address, 1929

Creator: Herbert Hoover Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
John F. Kennedy, [Portion of an address], ca. August 12, 1952 (GLC02313)

JFK on the containment of Communism, 1952

Creator: John F. Kennedy Curriculum Subjects: Economics, World History Grade Levels: 13+
John S. Mosby to Sam Chapman, July 25, 1897 (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

John Mosby on the silver issue, 1895

Creator: John S. Mosby Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels:
Abraham Lincoln, speech fragment on slavery and the American government, ca. 185

Lincoln speech on slavery and the American Dream, 1858

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
he Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano.... (London, 1794). (Lib

Olaudah Equiano

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Economics, World History Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Hooverville in Portland, Oregon, photograph by Arthur Rothstein, July 1936. (Lib

Photograph of a “Hooverville,” 1936

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Abandoned farm in the Dust Bowl, Coldwater District, near Dalhart Texas, photogr

Photograph of an abandoned farm in the Dust Bowl, 1938

Creator: Dorothea Lange Curriculum Subjects: Art, Economics, Geography Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Ronald Reagan to Harold Ward, May 26, 1962. (GLC00782.17)

Ronald Reagan on economics and political parties, 1962

Creator: Ronald Reagan Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
“$2,500 Reward!,” Mississippi Co., Missouri, broadside, August 23, 1852. (Gi

Runaway slave ad, 1852

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Freedmen’s contract between Isham G. Bailey and freedmen Cooper Hughs and Charl

Sharecropper contract, 1867

Creator: Isham G. Bailey Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Stephen Bayard to Robert Livingston, November 12, 1725.

The death of slaves on a voyage, 1725

Creator: Stephen Bayard Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“I feed you all!” lithograph by American Oleograph Co., Milwaukee, c. 1875. (Lib

The Grange Movement, 1875

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
A Memorial of the State of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England to Q

The Province of Massachusetts Bay requests aid from Queen Anne, 1708

Creator: Thomas Oliver Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Joseph Rumshinsky, “Mamenu” or “The Triangle Victims,” 1911. (GLC06225)

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, 1911

Creator: Joseph Rumshinsky Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Foreign Languages, Literature, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: