Browse Primary Sources

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

Photo shows three men in pith helmets with a device on a cart in the foreground. A small hut is in the background.

Disinfection of Dakar houses with a Clayton Apparatus

This is a photograph from the collections of the Rockefeller Archive Center depicting a Clayton apparatus disinfecting African houses during the yellow fever outbreak of 1927. The image illustrates a number of transnational linkages that shaped the epidemic. Clayton apparatuses were steam disinfection devices that used sulphuric gases to destroy pathogens in infected homes.

The cover of Nisa, The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman by Marjorie Shostak, featuring a headshot of a !Kung woman.

Nisa, The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman by Marjorie Shostak

Made up of a series of analyses and personal interviews conducted by Marjorie Shostak, Nisa, The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman is an anthropological work about women of the !Kung tribe of the Kalahari desert in southern Africa told through the perspective of one individual, Nisa.

An image on the cover of Dreams of Trespass featuring three women in Moroccan dress walking away down a hall decorated with aniconic ornament.

Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi

Written by Moroccan feminist and sociologist Fatima Mernissi, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood is a semi-fictional tale about a young girl growing up in a traditional Moroccan harem in the 1940s and 1950s. The main character, self-named Fatima, observes the experiences of the women around her and their struggles with restricting patriarchal rules.

Title page of Patience and Power by Susan Schaefer Davis, with the subtitle "Women's Lives in a Moroccan Village."

Patience and Power by Susan Davis

Patience and Power, Women's Lives in a Moroccan Village is an anthology of anecdotes, interviews, and observations by American anthropologist Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis. Fluent in Moroccan Arabic and "comfortable" in the culture, Davis compile her work to combat previous studies of Moroccan women that were written from a male viewpoint and were frequently superficial in their content.

Title page of Memoirs and Poems of Phillis Wheatley, with the subtitle "A Native African and a Slave" and dedicated to the friends of the Africans.

Memoirs and Poems of Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley (c.1753-1784) was an enslaved African American poet and author. Despite this, the work Memoirs and Poems of Phillis Wheatley was compiled and the memoirs themselves written by Margaretta Matilda Odell, a supposed "collateral descendent of Mrs.

The book jacket of Living History featuring a portrait of Hillary Clinton and her signature

Living History by Hillary Clinton

Written shortly after being elected a United States Senator, Living History is an autobiography by Hillary Rodham Clinton, politician and former First Lady of President Bill Clinton. Living History is a memoir covering Clinton's early years and her time as First Lady.

The page of a diary with hand writing on it

Original Manuscripts of Anne Frank

Born to a Jewish family in 1929, Anne Frank is most known for the diary she kept while in hiding from Nazi forces during World War II. The War broke out in 1939 when Anne was ten-years-old. As the measures against Jewish people in Nazi-occupied Netherlands became more brutal, the Frank family went into hiding in "the Secret Annex," a hiding place in an empty part of Otto's business, in 1942.

Image of bill written in script. Transcription on source page and explanation in source annotation.

Bill of Lading of a ship from Piscataqua to Bilbao in Spain, 1721

This bill of lading is a standard form used in shipping in the 18th century. This particular bill shows the sloop (a type of wooden ship) Wren who is captained by Charles Deming carrying 125 quintals of salted cod from the River Piscataqua (near present-day Portsmouth, New Hampshire) to Bilbao in Spain.

Image of a list written in script. Explanation in source annotation.

Lisbon Port Entry List for Colonial American Ships, 1771

This is just one example of thousands of pages and documents that the Portuguese use to manage and record the trade coming in and out of their ports. The one chosen here is particularly interesting as the 7th entry (2nd from bottom) shows that an English ship has arrived and paid duties for its cargo.

Inset of Prester John from larger world map. Shows a man sitting in front of a tent.

Catalan Map of the World, c.1450

Dated to the mid-fifteenth century, this Catalan world map is over a meter in diameter on a sheet of vellum (high-quality parchment made of calfskin). Unlike many other surviving charts, this was not meant for practical navigation, though it was based on such nautical charts.

Map with network lines radiating from fixed points

Nautical Chart, 1385

This nautical chart is signed by Majorcan cartographer Guglielmo Soler and dated to 1385, and ranges from the Black Sea to the Atlantic. Less beautiful than the Catalan map, it was also more practical for navigators to use.

Front page of Hicky's Bengal Gazette Newspaper

Hicky's Bengal Gazette

Hicky’s Bengal Gazette was the first printed newspaper to be published in India. While the cartoon of Henry Dundas alluded to governmental control over the flow of information between Britain and Bengal, newspapers such as Hicky’s Bengal Gazette served as an alternative and public venue for the circulation of information and even the expression of anti-government views.

Cartoon depicts a tug of war over a pie.

Cartoon Depicts Debate at Hasting's Impeachment Trial, 1788

Printed in London in 1788, this satirical print was a response to the debate unleashed by the impeachment trial of Warren Hastings, the former and first Governor General of India, as well as the impeachment proceedings initiated against Elijah Impey, the former and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature in Calcutta, Bengal.

Cartoon of a giant man wearing a kilt and a turban straddling two land masses separated by water

Cartoon Mocking British Policy toward India, 1788

This satirical print from 1788 constituted a cartoonist’s effort to make sense of and criticize growing governmental control over territories in South Asia. “Dun Shaw” or Henry Dundas, the British minister and leading member of the Board of Control for India Affairs is shown extending his leviathan-like self across Britain and Bengal.

Photo of handwritten letter. Transcription and translation on source page.

Chilean Consul Writes of Immigrants Seeking to Avoid Military Service, 1865

This document is a portion of a letter, written by José de la Cruz Zenteno, the Chilean consul in Mendoza, Argentina to the Minister of Foreign Relations in Chile is from the National Archive of Chile. Mendoza was and is an Argentinian province that borders Chile.

Photo of handwritten letter. Transcription and translation on source page.

Chilean Consul Writes of Immigrants Needing Assistance, 1864

Found in the National Archive of Chile, this is a letter from José de la Cruz Zenteno, the Chilean consul in Mendoza, Argentina to the Minister of Foreign Relations in Chile. Mendoza was and is a province that borders Chile.

Black and white photo of 10 girls and one teacher seated at tables with needles, fabric, and sewing machines.

Sewing Classes at Mount Margaret Mission

These two photographs, from the State Library of Western Australia, show Aboriginal girls learning to sew from Dorothy Lovick at the Mount Margaret Mission in Laverton, Australia, in the 1930s. The first photograph shows a middle school class, while the second one features a senior class.

Cover with text South African Native Affairs Commission 1903-1905 Report

South African Native Affairs Commission report on education

In 1903, Alfred Milner, the British High Commissioner for South Africa, appointed the South African Native Affairs Commission to examine “the status and condition of the Natives” and to provide recommendations “on questions concerning Native policy” (1-2). When the Commission published its report in 1905, education formed a central theme.

Text of an article on girls school transcription below

“Maori Girls School”

This article, which was published in the newspaper Manawatu Times on April 14, 1905, announces the opening of a school for Māori girls. As described in the article, while missionaries and the colonial state originally focused on educating youth, by which it meant only boys, they gradually realized the necessity of girls’ education.

Video still showing Scouts paddling canoes

Video: Boy Scouts at 1929 World Jamboree Perform as Native Americans

This video features film footage of events at the Boy Scouts’ third World Jamboree, held in England in 1929. The jamboree was known as the “Coming of Age” Jamboree, since it marked twenty-one years since the foundation of the Boy Scouts.