Primary Sources

Primary Sources:

Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL)

  •, a gateway to research resources for, by, about, and from the greater Philadelphia area. It provides access to collections of thirty-seven member libraries and archives in the Greater Philadelphia Region. These institutions collect, care for, and share with a world-wide audience, collections that in their depth and variety, comprise an internationally important body of unique materials for students, scholars and lifelong learners at any level. PSCSCL also provides a special web portal for students engaged in National History Day.

National Archives of the United States

Offers an array of educational online tools and support resources for schools, educators and students.

  • is the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives. Students and teachers can explore thousands of primary source documents, including those related to Reconstruction and Civil Rights topics. Visit and enter a search term. Use the Historical Era and Document Type filters to narrow your results. For example, see results for a search for “civil rights” narrowed to the Civil War and Reconstruction era. You can also leave the search box blank and apply the Civil War and Reconstruction era filter to see all results for that era. Or explore our list of Popular Topics from the Menu, such as Rights in America, with select primary sources and teaching activities.
  • Educators can also discover and create their own primary source-based student activities that promote historical thinking and build inquiry skills. Search for activities created by fellow educators at Docsteach, using the filters for Historical Era, Thinking Skill, Grade Level, and Activity Type. Learn about all 12 tools available to build your own activities on the Tools page. To create an activity, simply pick documents, follow the setup directions, and write instructions for your students. You can include questions or an assignment for students to complete and submit if you wish.
  • Our Document features the 100 milestone documents of our nation. This initiative is a collaborative effort among National History Day® The National Archives and the USA Freedom Corp.
  • Rights in America. Explore the ways Americans have fought for, attained and protected their rights.


The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

  • Through its Center for History and Learning, the Society provides content for lessons connected to academic standards and for student project learning – from the founding of the nation through the twentieth century. It also gives the public the ability to research in the online catalogs, as well as browse our exhibits and publications. The staff stands ready to aid students in research and assist them in understanding the past and its meaning to their lives today and in the future. It’s Education Resources site provides a great first step to using the Society’s large and varied collections. (