Browse Primary Sources
Locate primary sources, including images, objects, media, and texts. Annotations by scholars contextualize sources.

Susanna and the Elders

Susanna and the Elders, a 17th-century Italian painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, portrays the biblical story of Susanna, a virtuous Jewish woman preyed upon by two judges, important members of the community. Without her knowing, the men spied on her while she bathed.

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Drawing of Digging Stick and Stone Weights

The Khoikhoi were semi-nomadic pastoralists (herders of sheep and cattle), who hunted game and gathered edible plants, nuts, roots, berries, and honey to supplement their diets. There was a division of labor between men and women: men hunted and tended the cattle while women looked after small stock and gathered food in the surrounding countryside.

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Market in Southeastern Nigeria

This is an image of local women at a market in southeastern Nigeria in the 1930s. In the precolonial period, women in this society had a very strong role in the economy. They were, in fact, the major traders in palm oil. As palm oil becomes a more valuable export commodity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, men take over that trade.

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Commission Hearing Excerpt

Commission Hearing Excerpt

This is an excerpt from a commission hearing conducted in southeastern Nigeria in 1930 by British colonial officials. The hearing investigated a series of disturbances by local women following a rumor that the British were going to tax women. This excerpt is a statement by one of these woman.

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Manifest Record from the S.S. Atenas

This document is part of a manifest record from the SS Atenas. This ship sailed from Kingston, Jamaica, to New York City in 1920. These records provide information on individual passengers for 29 categories, including age, race, gender, marital status, occupation, how the cost for the voyage was paid, and the nearest relative living in New York.

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Guadeloupean Household Workers at Ellis Island

This is a photograph of household workers from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe just after their arrival in New York in 1911.

This source is a part of the Analyzing Manifest Records methods module.

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Colonial Childhoods Oral History Project

The Colonial Childhoods Oral History Project (CCOHP) comprises recorded interviews with 165 New Zealanders, male and female, Maori and Pakeha, the majority of whom were born before 1903. Interviews focus on the period before an individual’s 15th birthday.

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Map of Ichan Qala

This type of image is known as a map. Represented on this paper is the old, walled city that forms a part of the larger, contemporary city of Khiva, Uzebekistan. This image covers one half of one side of the page of the map. Looking at it closely tells us as much about contemporary material culture as it does about the old city that it represents.

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Barada Panel in Great Mosque in Damascus

The panel shown here is five meters (16.7 feet) above ground level on the wall in the courtyard of the Great Mosque in Damascus. The original image is created in mosaic technique. Choosing to execute an image in mosaic involves setting thousands of small pieces of glass, ceramic, or stone into mortar.

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Egyptian Mummy Coffin

The same image can be valued differently over time and in different cultures. Take, for example, the long journey in time and space of images and hieroglyphic writing that cover the surfaces of the coffins of mummies from Egypt.

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