Browse Primary Sources

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

Map titled Map Showing Cornell University Lands in Wisconsin for sale. Description in annotation

Map of Land Grant for Cornell University, 1877

Similar to the New Zealand land grant, yet within a distinct political context, the development of land-grant universities in the United States followed and encouraged an institutional financing model based upon Indigenous land acquisition, leasing, and sale.

Map of North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand outlines the lands that surround the Kimihia and Hakanoa Lakes.

Map of Land Grant for New Zealand University, 1873

Depicting the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand, this map outlines the lands that surround the Kimihia and Hakanoa Lakes in the Waikato Region. Small plots of land, 50 acres each, are demarcated and assigned to various landholders. Running parallel to these plots is the Waikato River, the map’s westernmost feature.

List of items in several columns. Explanation in annotation.

Outward Cargo Manifest of the Rowena, 1841

Cargo manifests and other shipping records offer a tangible glimpse into expansive commercial networks, reminding observers of the physical goods underwriting long distance trade. Amongst other merchandise, the Rowena carried hundreds of thousands of yards of cotton cloth—shirtings, sheetings, and drills—which served as the basis of American trade in the Western Indian Ocean.

Text of contract in English and Arabic. Explanation in source annotation.

American and Zanzibari Trade Contract, 1841

This contract, one of few bilingual agreements that survive, illustrates the practical commercial system that Indian, Arab, and American traders developed on Zanzibar. The document outlines the quantity, quality, and price of the cloves being sold as well as their expected delivery date.

Ad for auction of ship's cargo. Description at link.

Advertisement for the Auction of the Ann’s Cargo, 1827

This flyer advertises the Ann’s 1827 arrival in Salem, Massachusetts, after making one of the first American trips to Zanzibar. The Ann’s cargo included goods that were likely procured on the island, such as ivory and gum copal, alongside wares from the Arabian Peninsula like coffee, dates, frankincense, and myrrh.

Text of report. Transcription at link.

Rockefeller Foundation Report Concerning the Yellow Fever Vaccine

The creation of the yellow fever vaccine turned out to be quite controversial. Many of these controversies are revealed in documents such as this summary of correspondence between Georges Stefanopoulo, a Pastorian microbiologist, and his colleagues at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York.

Headline of newspaper article "La fièvre jaune à Dakar - Il n’y a pas d’épidémie," explanation at link.

"Yellow fever in Dakar – There is no epidemic"

This is an excerpt from an interview with Blaise Diagne, the Senegalese deputy to the National Assembly, published in Le Matin, one of the major national dailies in metropolitan France. The yellow fever outbreak of 1927-28 was quickly politicized by French and African commentators alike.

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.

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.

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.

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.