Featured Primary Sources

The Fifties

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.

Albert Einstein to Rose Russell [in German], [May 28], 1953. (Gilder Lehrman Col

Albert Einstein on the McCarthy hearings and the Fifth Amendment, 1953

Creator: Albert Einstein Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Douglas MacArthur to Mary Cushman, October 24, 1950. (GLC05508.173)

Condolence letter from General MacArthur, 1950

Creator: Douglas MacArthur Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
John F. Kennedy, [Portion of an address], ca. August 12, 1952 (GLC02313)

JFK on the containment of Communism, 1952

Creator: John F. Kennedy Curriculum Subjects: Economics, World History Grade Levels: 13+

Primary Sources from Other Sub-Eras

George Wallace to Ms. Martin, April 14, 1964. (GLC00295)

George Wallace on segregation, 1964

Creator: George Wallace Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Irving Kaplan, Preliminary statement of the Association of Manhattan District Sc

Physicists predict a nuclear arms race, 1945

Creator: Association of Manhattan District Scientists Curriculum Subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, World History Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Harry S. Truman, Farewell Address, 1953. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

President Truman’s Farewell Address, 1953

Creator: Harry S. Truman Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9