Featured Primary Sources

The Origins of Slavery

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. Additionally, you may want to search the Gilder Lehrman Collection itself for other resources to enrich your lessons.

Posting bond for manumission of a slave, May 5, 1757 (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

A bond for the manumission of a slave, 1757

Creator: Eve Scurlock Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
he Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano.... (London, 1794). (Lib

Olaudah Equiano

Creator: Olaudah Equiano Curriculum Subjects: Economics, World History Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
New York in 1750, a fore-edge painting on History of the University and colleges

The death of slaves on a voyage, 1725

Creator: Stephen Bayard Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Primary Sources from Other Sub-Eras

A View of Savannah, Georgia, 1734

Creator: Pierre Fourdrinier Curriculum Subjects: World History Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Map of Coral Bay on St. John, 1720, drawn by Anders Sørensen. Danish National Ar

Slave revolt in the West Indies, 1733

Creator: John Peter Zenger Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography, World History Grade Levels:
A new & correct map of the trading part of the West Indies, London, 1741.

The New York Conspiracy of 1741

Creator: Daniel Horsmanden Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: