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.

National History Day Resources

National History Day® engages more than half a million students around the world to conduct historical research on a topic of their choosing and then enter these projects at the local and state/affiliate levels, with top students advancing to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. 

The 2019–2020 theme is Breaking Barriers in History.

Click here for highlighted National History Day resources.


Spotlights on Primary Sources

Each of the Spotlights from our Collection provides explanatory text, a transcript, and an image of the featured document. Questions for classroom discussion are available to K–12 teachers.

Below are some highlights from the Collection.

Click here to see all Spotlights on Primary Sources