Featured Primary Sources

The Politics of Reform

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.

Eugene E. Schmitz, Proclamation by the Mayor broadside, April 18, 1906. (Gilder

A perspective on the San Francisco earthquake, 1906

Creator: Silas Mack Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Lifeboat carrying Titanic shipwreck survivors. (National Archives)

Eyewitness account of the sinking of the Titanic, 1912

Creator: Washington Dodge Curriculum Subjects: Geography, World History Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9
Lincoln Said Women Should Vote, ca. 1910 (GLC09103)

Suffragists invoke Lincoln, 1910

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Susan B. Anthony, ca. 1900 (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Susan B. Anthony on suffrage and equal rights, 1901

Creator: Susan B. Anthony Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:

The Supreme Court upholds national prohibition, 1920

Creator: Wayne B. Wheeler Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Joseph Rumshinsky, “Mamenu” or “The Triangle Victims,” 1911. (GLC06225)

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, 1911

Creator: Joseph Rumshinsky Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Foreign Languages, Literature, Religion and Philosophy 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:
Woman Suffrage Party of the City of New York, Women in the Home broadside, ca. 1

Women’s suffrage poster, 1915

Creator: Woman Suffrage Party of the City of New York Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:

Primary Sources from Other Sub-Eras

Letter from John S. Mosby to Sam Chapman, June 4, 1907. (GLC03921.21p1)

A former Confederate officer on slavery and the Civil War, 1907

Creator: John S. Mosby Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
"The Protectors of Our Industries," by Bernhard Gillam, February 7, 1883  (LOC)

Anti-corporate cartoons, ca. 1900

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Art, Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
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:

Literacy and the immigration of “undesirables,” 1903

Creator: Immigration Restriction League Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels:

The Haymarket Affair, 1886

Creator: Dyer D. Lum Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Anne Brown Adams to Alexander Ross,circa 1880s (GLC03007.53)

The struggle for married women’s rights, circa 1880s

Creator: Anne Brown Adams Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
William Jennings Bryan, 1896 (Library of Congress)

William Jennings Bryan and the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, 1895

Creator: William Jennings Bryan Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: