Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

American Revolution, 1763-1783 

The Gilder Lehrman Collection contains materials written by over 2,000 individuals who fought in and lived through the American Revolution. These firsthand accounts were written by leaders, soldiers, and civilians and include the perspectives of American Indians, African Americans, and women. The documents discuss not only the military and political aspects of the war, but also the private opinions of contemporary people and events. The experiences of soldiers, loyalists, and prisoners of war are recorded in numerous letters, diaries, orderly books, and other manuscript journals.

A comprehensive research database of the Collection with images is available to universities and libraries by subscription through digital publisher Adam Matthew.

A curated list of classroom-ready primary sources for the American Revolution is available here.

Selected searches in the Collection’s catalog