Browse Primary Sources
Primary sources from world and global history, including images, objects, texts, and digitally-born materials – annotations by scholars contextualize sources.

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.

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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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Apollo 11 Moonwalk

Look at this famous photograph of the July 1969 moon landing. When we look at an image like this, historians ask not only what the image shows us, but also how the image was used and how various audiences reacted to it. On the one hand, the photograph itself represented a triumph of technology. Minimally speaking, U.S.

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Rare photograph of women from Bohemia thumbnail

Women from Bohemia

This is a rare photograph of women from Bohemia. Information about women during this period is especially difficult for historians to uncover, and these sources can provide valuable insights into women’s daily lives.

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Excerpt of Le Fresne

Lais are short, poetic romances written during the Middle Ages in Western Europe. These stories were written and shared orally among nobility. Click on the image of writing to read an excerpt from the lai entitled Le Fresne. You also see an image of the author, Marie de France.

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Interview with Sa’ida Jarallah

Read the excerpt on this page of an oral history interview taken by Professor Ellen Fleischmann. In it, Sa’ida Jarallah, one of the first Palestinian Muslim women to study abroad, discusses her life, especially the social and cultural aspects of growing up as a young woman in the 1930s.

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