Browse Primary Sources

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

Toumi Djaïdja (third from right) in Lyon, 1983.

SOS Avenir Minguettes President Toumi Djaïdja in Lyon, France

Toumi Djaïdja (third from right) in Lyon, 1983.  Source:  Le Progrès photo archives.

Clip from Pittsburgh's North Hills News Record in 1993 with the headline "“PCRG challenges financial institution lending practices."

Pittsburgh News Coverage of the Community Reinvestment Group

"PCRG challenges financial institution lending practices,” Pittsburgh, Dec. 22, 1993.

Picture of the 1988 headline in the New Pittsburgh Courier “Bank Gives Boost to Black Areas"

Pittsburgh Newspaper Article “Bank Gives Boost to Black Areas”

“Bank Gives Boost to Black Areas,” New Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh, July 2, 1988.

Picture of the title page of Edward Waring's book "Remarks on the Uses of Some of the Bazaar Medicines and Common Medical Plants of India"

Edward Waring on Borax as medicine in India

Waring published the book in several Indian languages and another publication Supplement to the Pharmacopoeia of India, written by Moodeen Sherriff, an Indian doctor working for the colonial administration, provided the translations and medical plant knowledge in 14 different languages.

Picture of the title page of Edward Waring's book "Remarks on the Uses of Some of the Bazaar Medicines and Common Medical Plants of India"

Edward Waring on Assafœtida as medicine in India

Medical publications appealed to a medical and popular audience in the hopes of providing surgeons with tips on how to obtain similar drugs and medicine in local bazaars which could not be obtained elsewhere. Waring compiled local and indigenous medical knowledge and provided the Latin and local name of each medicine found in markets in southern India.

Several pages taken from the Veritable Records of the Chosŏn Dynasty

Veritable Records of the Chosŏn Dynasty

In the twenty-first century, we are used to post-Westphalian norms of inter-state equality and noninterference. These norms, however, did not apply to interstate relations between the Qing empire and its tributary states.

Page from the Pentaglot Manchu Glossary from

Page from the Pentaglot Manchu Glossary

The Qing empire was founded by the Manchus, and they used a language and a script that were distinct from those used in China Proper. From the 1630s to the 1760s, the Manchus went on to build an early modern empire consisting of its core of China Proper as well as the Inner Asian frontiers such as Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, and Xinjiang.

Page from the Qing Veritable Records

Page from Qing Veritable Records

The Qing court used a twelve-month lunar calendar based on the sexagenary cycle, distinct from the solar Gregorian calendar used by most of the world today. This page from the Qing Veritable Records (Da Qing shilu) provides a good example. Here, the date is given in the following format: Qianlong year 2, dingsi [year], month 4, jiaxu [date].

US pamphlet parody of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle

Somoza cartoon

This pamphlet cover, published in 1978 by a U.S. solidarity organization, is a fantastic focal point for exploring periodization in the history of U.S.-Nicaraguan relations. It depicts a cartoonish parody of the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle being propped up by the legs of the U.S. eagle.

1987 letter from the Nicaraguan embassy to Richland County Citizens for Peace and Justice

Letter from the Nicaraguan embassy

This 1987 letter from the Nicaraguan embassy to Richland County Citizens for Peace and Justice, RCCPJ, a Wisconsin solidarity organization, highlights the ways in which non-state actors can craft impactful foreign policies.

Frontpage of the French pamphlet Femmes Nicaragua

Femmes Nicaragua

This pamphlet is an excellent example of the alternative diplomacy pursued by the  FSLN in its struggle with the United States government in the 1980s.

First letter from the British military officer and diplomat Atkins Hamerton on British merchants in the East

1841 Letter from Atkins Hamerton

Atkins Hamerton (d. 1857) was a British military officer and diplomat, who served as the first British Consul to the Omani Empire based in Zanzibar. He left behind thousands of pages of sources, presently scattered between archives in the U.K., Zanzibar, and India.

Title page of Dr. William Ruschenberger's memoir

Memoir of William Ruschenberger

Dr. William Ruschenberger (d. 1895) was a United States Navy surgeon and was assigned to the USS Peacock, serving with Edmund Roberts as part of an American delegation representing the Jackson Administration to negotiate treaties with the Omani Empire and the Kingdom of Siam.

Photograph of the landraad in Pati in 1865

The landraad in Pati

This is a photo of a mixed colonial law court, the landraad, in Pati, a town located on the island of Java, now part of Indonesia. The photo was made by the British photographers Woodbury & Page on the request of the bupati (regent) Raden Adipati Ario Tjondro Adhi Negoro. We know the names of a few of the court members. Seated on the chair on the left side is the Chinese Captain Oei Hotam.

Painting of The Batavia Castle seen from the Kali Besar West

The Batavia Castle

Seventeenth-century market in the city Batavia (nowadays Jakarta, Indonesia), the central node of Dutch imperial activities in the Indian Ocean region. The Batavia Castle is visible in the background and to its right the Council of Justice with the gallows and whipping post in front of it. The Dutch artist depicts a varity of people at the market.

Picture of families in Togo cracking oil palm kernels

Togo farm families cracking oil palm kernels

This photo was part of a short photo series documenting palm oil production in the German colonies in Africa, included in a report by a special oil commission of the German Colonial Society (Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft) in 1913.

Picture of Stephen Robinson Parson's notebook where he recorded an ideal ration

Ideal ration recipe

This is one page out of a notebook kept by Stephen Robinson Parsons, a somewhat improvement-minded farmer in South Paris, Maine. Around 1896, Stephen copied into his fact book an ideal ration: 

Clip from Wolff's article on hay's nutritional values

Wolff’s justification for omitting hay values

In 1864, for the first time, Emil Wolff did not include hay values alongside nutritional components in the data tables published annually in the calendar. In this accompanying article, Wolff reframed his previous translation into hay values as merely educational.

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Mikhail Gorbachev’s Resignation Speech

This is a transcript of Gorbachev’s resignation speech. This speech signified the complete end of the Soviet Union. According to the speech, what reasons does Gorbachev give for his resignation? What is the overall tone of this document? Why do you think Gorbachev uses this tone?

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The Alma-Ata Declaration

This document is a translation of the Belovezh Accords, the agreement which essentially declared that the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Those who signed it agreed to form a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Which states were signatories of the Belovezh Accords? Were these all of the former Soviet republics or not? Which states did not sign?