Featured Primary Sources

The Roaring Twenties

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

Mount Rushmore (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress)

Building Mount Rushmore, 1926

Creator: Gutzon Borglum Curriculum Subjects: Art Grade Levels:
William Mitchell, October 1925 (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Div.)

Creating the Air Force, 1924

Creator: William E. Mitchell Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover, ca. 1929 (Library of Congress)

Herbert Hoover’s Inaugural Address, 1929

Creator: Herbert Hoover Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Broadside against the Sacco-Vanzetti execution, ca. August 1927. (GLC05712.02)

Sacco and Vanzetti, 1921

Creator: Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:

Primary Sources from Other Sub-Eras

John P. Sousa to John W. Hughes, March 12, 1930. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

John Philip Sousa critiques modern music, 1930

Creator: John P. Sousa Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

The Supreme Court upholds national prohibition, 1920

Creator: Wayne B. Wheeler Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
William Howard Taft, 1916 (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

William H. Taft recalls dispute with Theodore Roosevelt, 1922

Creator: William H. Taft Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: