Browse Primary Sources

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

Sally Fields in the film Norma Rae (1979)

Norma Rae: Depicting Women's Labor History through Film

In this still shot from the movie Norma Rae, two pretty and petite white actors represent southern mill hands. Norma, portrayed by the famous actress Sally Field, stands with her mother (Barbara Baxley).

Puerto Rican Needleworkers in a Factory, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1942

Puerto Rican Needleworkers in a Factory, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1942

This government photograph provides an important contrast to the popular culture images of poor southern whites. During the 1940s and 1950s, U.S. government agencies hired photographers to travel the main island of Puerto Rico to capture the conditions of working people. This photo was taken at a “good factory” subsidized by the U.S. government to serve mainland manufacturers.

Brochure Cover for the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition/Charleston, 1901-1902

Brochure for the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition / Charleston Exposition, 1901-1902

This is the cover for a pamphlet to promote the Charleston Exposition and recruit exhibitors and attendees from along the entire U.S. Atlantic, which ran from New England to Florida to Cuba and Puerto Rico. It is an effective visual representation of how cotton growers and textile and apparel producers envisioned the U.S.

Least Cost Pathway Analysis Showing Movement Across a Landscape

These side by side charts show the basics of how least cost pathway analysis works in action. A geographic surface, landscape or seascape, is broken into standard size squares (or cells). These cells are then given a value based on an underlying factor in the geographic area, such as the slope of a hill calculated into a cost to climb up it, or the force and direction of a sea current.

Remains of the Stargate Canoe

Remains of the Stargate Canoe

This image showcases one of the few remains of a canoe found in the Caribbean. The ‘Stargate’ canoe, found in a blue hole—a large marine cavern--on the island of South San Andros in the Bahamas, represents only the tip of the canoe. The image above shows the prow or stern of a canoe, similar to those found in Venezuela in the Upper Orinoco River basin. 

Article on Mohammed Abdul Rashid. Full text in module folder.

Britain pressures U.S. to revoke citizenship of Indian activist

The US press often carried news of diplomatic issues in its headlines. This included references to matters of citizenship. In the early twentieth century, national and local newspapers in the United States inquired whether Asian immigrants were White and therefore eligible to naturalize as US citizens. The Black press also raised similar questions.

Headline: U.S. May Revoke Das' Citizenship. Full transcript in folder in module.

U.S. targets Indian activist, Taraknath Das

During World War I, U.S. and British officials expanded a transimperial surveillance apparatus designed to police enemy aliens and foreign threats. U.S.

2 Prints of a Sole Amerindian in a Canoe

2 Prints of a Sole Amerindian in a Canoe

These images of a man in a canoe come from the work of the Spanish official, historian, and botanist Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo (1478-1557), who created many images of Amerindians while he was in the Caribbean during the 1520s.

Newspaper headline: "O.A.C. graduates are eighty-two" transcription in folder in module.

Rashid graduates from Oregon Agricultural college, 1908

Indian and other Asian immigrants attended land grant universities across the United States in the early twentieth century. These universities offered degrees in agriculture that were important to imperial subjects like Muhammad Abdul Rashid because of agriculture’s importance in the global economy.

Gold earring featuring a skull with three dangles below it.

Aztec Skull Earring, 16th Century

Featured in this image is a pair of Skull Earring created by the Aztec. They were believed to have been created around the time of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire beginning in the early 16th century.

A woodcut of a man with no head and a face in his chest.

The Foreign Travels and Dangerous Voyages of Sir John Mandeville, 14th Century

This image shows a print from the 1568 version of the Voyages and travailes of Sir John Mandevile, knight. Sir John Mandeville’s Travels is believed to have been first published in the mid-14th century and rereleased many times in subsequent decades. It was reedited anonymously and released in 1725.

Map of Asia showing the lands Marco Polo traveled to.

Marco Polo’s Travels

Macro Polo lived from 1254 to 1324. He spent twenty-four years journeying through the Asian continent and left behind an impressive amount of documentation including travelogues of his adventures. He recorded his travels in the manuscript is the Les voyages de Marco Polo de Venise (The Travels of Marco Polo).

"Fourth Pan-African Congress Ends Session and Issues Manifesto," The Monitor, 2 September 1927, Omaha, Nebraska

Newspaper Report on the Fourth Pan-African Congress Meeting in 1927

This article comes from The Monitor, a historically African American newspaper published in Omaha, Nebraska. The article offers readers insight into the fourth Pan-African Congress meeting held in 1927 in New York City.

Page from al-Biruni's writing. Description in annotation.

Travel writing of al-Biruni, 11th century Persian scholar

This image is taken from a page of al-Biruni work called Chronology of an Ancient Nations. al-Biruni was a native of Iran. He was a prolific Persian scholar. While he published works in a wide variety of subjects, the majority of those works were on the subject of astronomy. He was also a pioneer in the study of comparative religion.

Photograph of a group of men posing. Description in annotation.

Photograph of "Principal Chiefs" from West Africa

The following is an image that appears in the on page 296 in the book Britain Across The Seas: Africa; A History And Description Of The British Empire In Africa published in 1910 and written by Harry Johnson. This particular photograph was taken by Capt. T.C. Hincks.

"The Pan-African Congress," Clayton's Weekly, 19 April 1919, Seattle, Washington

W.E.B. DuBois Details the 1919 Pan-African Congress in Newspaper Article

This article comes from Cayton’s Weekly, a historically Black newspaper published in Seattle, Washington. The article, written by W.E.B. Du Bois, offers readers insight into the 1919 Pan-African Congress held in Paris, France.

Text of Principall Investigations. Full text in transcription folder

Hakluyt's The Principall Investigations

This is an image of the first page of The Principall Investigations by Richard Hakluyt. The book was originally published in 1589. This is a reprint from between 1885 and 1890. Hakluyt was born around 1552. Hakluyt developed an early interest in travel through interactions with older relatives. He studied at the Christ College of Oxford and gained a B.A. and M.A. in Geography.

"The Pan-African Congress," The Monitor, 4 August 1921

Newspaper Article Promoting the Pan-African Congress

This article appears in the August 4, 1921 edition of the Omaha, Nebraska based newspaper, The Monitor. The Monitor was an African American run newspaper and typically featured stories about African Americans. This article contains quotes from African American intellectual, writer, and activist W.E.B. Du Bois, an organizer and American delegate for the 1919 Pan-African Congress.

Poster for olympic games features drawing of an athlete surrounded by flags.

Olympic Games Poster, Stockholm, 1912.

This is an image of a poster advertising the 1912 Summer Olympic games held in Stockholm, Sweden. This particular poster was created by the artist Olle Hjortzberg as part of an advertising campaign.

Image of the Mahabodhi Temple: a stepped pyramid with round dome-shaped structure (stupa) on top

Mahabodhi Temple

This photograph shows the Mahabodhi Temple complex. The temple is a part of Bodh Gaya a religious place in the Gaya District in Bihar that is one of the four and most important pilgrimages associated with the life of Gautama Buddha. It is said to have been the place where Buddha obtained enlightenment.