Browse Primary Sources
Locate primary sources, including images, objects, media, and texts. Annotations by scholars contextualize sources.
Close up of Manilla on Philippines map

Map of the Philippines, 1734

The city of Manila is a perfect place to think about the importance of cities to world history. Founded by Spanish conquistadors on the site of a small harbor town in 1571, Manila provided the specialized spaces necessary for the first truly globe-circling system of imperial exploitation and commerce.

... Read More »
Typed letter

Antifascism and Leftist Politics

In February of 1942, in the middle of World War II, the Mexican feminist, educator, and archaeologist Eulalia Guzmán wrote to Raúl Cordero Amador, president of the organization Acción Democrática Internacional (International Democratic Action). Guzmán prefaced her letter by emphasizing that this antifascist organization was doing important work to fight Nazism and totalitarianism more broadly.

... Read More »
Image of mimeographed letter.

Foundations: Research and Sponsorship

The Brazilian intellectual Paulo Duarte wrote Tracy Kittredge of the Social Science Division of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1941. Duarte, then living in the United States because of his opposition to Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas, had worked alongside the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss in São Paulo in the 1930s.

... Read More »

Photograph from an Independence Protest, Alexandria, Egypt, 1919

Following the close of World War I, Egypt became a hotbed of anti-colonial nationalism. Leaders of the nationalist Wafd party formally demanded Egyptian independence to British and US officials, utilizing many of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s own phrases and rhetoric in their appeals.

... Read More »

Excerpts from Harem Years: Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist, 1879-1924

The peace process that followed World War One catalyzed calls for self-determination around the colonized world. Existing nationalist organizations seized on the liberal pretensions of the Entente Powers to articulate social and political demands to colonial powers. Egypt, occupied by Britain in 1882 and declared a British protectorate in 1914, was one prominent site of this struggle.

... Read More »

The Miracles of Sainte Foy, Bernard of Angers, c. 1013–1020

In 1013, Bernard of Angers visited the relics of Sainte Foy at the abbey of Conques, in southern France. Initially skeptical of the cult which had formed around this little girl martyr, Bernard nonetheless fell under her spell.

... Read More »

Theophilus, On Diverse Arts (De diversis artibus), c. 1120

Theophilus’ De diversis artibus is the only complete treatise on art to survive from the High Middle Ages. Written under the pseudonym Theophilus, who seems to have been a Benedictine monk of the early twelfth century, it describes techniques of painting, stained glass, and metalwork, introducing each with a prologue deep in religious significance.

... Read More »

Bernard of Clairvaux, Apology (Apologia), 1125

Bernard of Clairvaux was abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux, in Burgundy, France, and a well-known preacher who travelled widely and was involved with many of the most pressing issues of his day, from papal power to the Crusades.

... Read More »

Abbot Suger, On What Was Done In His Administration (De administratione), 1144–1148

In the later 1140s, Abbot Suger of the Royal Abbey of Saint Denis, outside Paris, wrote an account of his extensive project to rebuild and redecorate his abbey church.

... Read More »

Map of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, 1768

In 1768, Sir William Johnson received permission from the British Crown to hold a treaty council with the Iroquois Confederacy and its dependents in order to establish a more official and lasting boundary line without French pressures. A clear boundary line between the Indians and Europeans would prevent colonial encroachments on Indian lands and minimize violence between the two parties.

... Read More »

Pages