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.

Inside the Vault Archive

September 3, 2020: Featuring the Emancipation Proclamation and Franklin D. Roosevelt's advice to high school students

Celebrate the start of the school year with three amazing items from the Gilder Lehrman Collection. We discuss the creation of these materials, what makes each item unique, and how they add to our national story. We also showcase a fun, bonus item as well. It answers the question “What is the strangest item in the collection?”

Panelist:

  • Tyler Belo, Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in Hamilton

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

August 21, 2020: Eleanor Roosevelt, “Four Basic Rights,” and Desegregation

Explore a 1944 letter from Eleanor Roosevelt defending the four basic rights of all Americans and desegregation in war-related industries. We also demonstrate how text can be manipulated and why it is important to go back to the source.

Panelists:

  • Chris Brick, Director, The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
  • Valerie Gilson, Educator at Xaverian High School in New York City

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

 

August 7, 2020: George Washington and Slavery

Explore a 1786 letter from George Washington to John Mercer in which Washington states that he “wishes to see some plan adopted by the Legislature by which slavery in this Country may be abolished by slow, sure, & imperceptible degrees.”

Panelists:

  • Darnell Abraham, George Washington in Hamilton 
  • Jeanette Providence, Educator at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, California
  • Nancy Hayward, former Director of Educational Outreach at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

 

July 24, 2020: “Your Future Rests...In Your Hands!”

Explore a 1964 comic book exploring institutional segregation in employment, housing, education, and the importance of voting produced by the NAACP.

Panelists:

  • Keisha Rembert, Assistant Professor of Teacher Preparation at National Louis University
  • Nate McAlister, History Educator at Seaman High School in Topeka, Kansas

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

 

July 10, 2020: The Election of 1800

Explore Alexander Hamilton’s letter to Representative Harrison Otis voicing his support for Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr in the election of 1800.

Panelists:

  • Jamael Westman, Alexander Hamilton in the Eliza Tour of Hamilton 
  • Ryan Scheb, history educator at Cristo Rey New York High School in New York City

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

June 26, 2020: July Anniversaries

Explore a rare South Carolina printing of the Declaration of Independence and a soldier’s experience at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Panelists: 

  • Mandel Holland, educator at Woodlands Middle High School in Hartsdale, New York
  • Peter Vermilyea, educator at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village, Connecticut, and at Western Connecticut State University

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

 

June 12, 2020: The Schuyler Sisters

Explore a love letter from Alexander Hamilton to Elizabeth Schuyler and Angelica Church’s letter announcing Alexander Hamilton was shot by Aaron Burr.

Panelists:

  • Paige Smallwood, Principal Standby for all three Schuyler Sisters in the Angelica Company of Hamilton
  • Gena Oppenheim, Hamilton Education Program Senior Education Fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Institute and educator at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

May 29, 2020: Jackie Robinson

Explore a comic book about Jackie Robinson’s rookie year and documents written by Richard Nixon and Robert Kennedy to Jackie Robinson about the Civil Rights Movement.

Panelists:

  • Jason Butler, Professional Learning Facilitator from DeKalb County (Georgia) School District
  • Taína Quiñones, Manager of Content Development at the Jackie Robinson Museum

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented:

Related Materials:

 

May 15, 2020: Ulysses S. Grant

Explore the earliest known letter by Grant, written when he was a 17-year-old cadet at West Point and a political cartoon showing Grant’s “bull-dog” grip on the Confederacy in 1864.

Panelist:

  • Patience LeBlanc, the 2018 Gilder Lehrman Texas History Teacher of the Year

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented:

May 1, 2020: Founding Era Propaganda

Explore Paul Revere’s engraving depicting the Boston Massacre and Philip Dawe’s print “Bostonians Paying the Excise-man.”

Panelist:

  • Kevin Cline, the 2016 Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented:

April 17, 2020: Two Generals: George Washington & Robert E. Lee

Explore a letter from George Washington about becoming the first President of the United States in 1789 and General Robert E. Lee’s letter to General Ulysses Grant requesting a cease-fire to discuss terms of surrender.

Panelists:

  • Lois MacMillan, the 2006 Gilder Lehrman Oregon History Teacher of the Year
  • Vaughan Danvers, New York City public school teacher

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented:

April 3, 2020: Highlights from the Collection

Collection Director: Sandy Trenholm, Assistant Curator: Allison Kraft, Curatorial Assistant: Laura Hapke, and Hamilton Education Program Coordinator: William Roka discuss a few of their favorite items in the Gilder Lehrman Collection: “I Am a Man” and “Honor King End Racism” placards, Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, a letter from 1775 calling troops to Lexington and Concord, and a firsthand account of the sinking of the Titanic.

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented: