Featured Primary Sources

American Indian History

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, and text to place the document in historical context. Additionally, you may want to search the Gilder Lehrman Collection itself for other resources to enrich your lessons.

A Map of the Louisiana Territory, 1814. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

A map of the Louisiana Territory, 1814

Creator: Meriwether Lewis Curriculum Subjects: Geography, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8
San Diego, California, c1904. Detroit Publishing, Library of Congress

A report from Spanish California, 1776

Creator: Fernando de Rivera y Moncada Curriculum Subjects: Foreign Languages, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Andrew Jackson, “To the Cherokee Tribe of Indians East of the Mississippi [circu

Andrew Jackson to the Cherokee Tribe, 1835

Creator: Andrew Jackson Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Bartolomé de las Casas, Aqui se contiene una disputa .... Vallad, Spain: Casa de

Bartolomé de Las Casas debates the subjugation of the Indians, 1550

Creator: Bartolomé de Las Casas Curriculum Subjects: Art Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Gutzon Borglum,  National Monument Mount Rushmore Black Hills South Dakota..., S

Building Mount Rushmore, 1926

Creator: Gutzon Borglum Curriculum Subjects: Art Grade Levels:
Christopher Columbus’ letter to Ferdinand and Isabella, 1493. Gilder Lehrman Col

Columbus reports on his first voyage, 1493

Creator: Christopher Columbus Curriculum Subjects: Geography, World History Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
David Crockett to Charles Schultz, December 25, 1834 (Gilder Lehrman Collect

Davy Crockett on the removal of the Cherokees, 1834

Creator: David Crockett Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
De Soto's Discovery of the Mississippi, 1858

De Soto’s discovery of the Mississippi, 1541

Creator: Johnson, Fry & Co. Curriculum Subjects: Art, Geography, World History Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
George Custer, Report on the Battle of Washita, December 22, 1868 (Gilder Lehr

Indian Wars: The Battle of Washita, 1868

Creator: George Custer Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
John Winthrop. Oil on canvas, c. 1800.

John Winthrop describes life in Boston, 1634

Creator: John Winthrop Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Landing of Christopher Columbus, 1856

Landing of Columbus, 1492

Creator: Martin, Johnson & Co. Curriculum Subjects: Geography, World History Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The Landing of Henrick Hudson, based on a paint1857. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Landing of Henrick Hudson, 1609

Creator: Martin, Johnson & Co Curriculum Subjects: Geography Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Recens Edita totius Novi Belgii [New Netherland - New York], 1730. (Gilder Lehrm

Map of the New World, with European settlements and American Indian tribes, 1730

Creator: Matthew Seutter Curriculum Subjects: Geography Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
King George III, Proclamation of 1763, 1763. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Proclamation of 1763, 1763

Creator: George III, King of Great Britain Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The Algonquian village of Secotan in present-day North Carolina, an engraving ba

Secotan, an Algonquian village, ca. 1585

Creator: John White Curriculum Subjects: Art Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“A Correct View of the Battle of the Horse-Shoe, March 27th, 1814” (GLC06772)

The Battle of Horseshoe Bend and the end of the Creek War, 1814

Creator: Isaac Stephens Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
The Brotherton Indians’ agreement to oppose white settlement, January 6, 1780.

The Brotherton Indians of New Jersey, 1780

Creator: Bartholomew Calvin et al. Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Demarcation bull, granting Spain possession of the New World, May 4, 1493.

The Doctrine of Discovery, 1493

Creator: Pope Alexander VI Curriculum Subjects: Geography, Religion and Philosophy, World History Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Thomas Glascock to Andrew Jackson, April 30, 1818. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

The massacre of American Indian allies, 1818

Creator: Thomas Glascock and Andrew Jackson Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
A Memorial of the State of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (detail)

The Province of Massachusetts Bay requests aid from Queen Anne, 1708

Creator: Thomas Oliver Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
William T. Sherman to David Douty Colton, September 26, 1878 (Gilder Lehrman Col

William T. Sherman on the western railroads, 1878

Creator: William T. Sherman Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+