Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

National History Day Resources

National History Day® engages more than half a million students around the world to conduct historical research on a topic of their choosing and then enter these projects at the local and state/affiliate levels, with top students advancing to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. 

The 2018–2019 theme is Triumph & Tragedy in History.

Click here for highlighted National History Day resources. 


Spotlights on Primary Sources

Each of the Spotlights from our Collection provides explanatory text, a transcript, and an image of the featured document. Questions for classroom discussion are available to K–12 teachers.

Below are some highlights from the Collection.

Click here to see all Spotlights on Primary Sources

Anti-Communist Trading Cards, 1951

Era: 1945 to the Present, Postwar Politics and the Cold War, The Fifties

Theme: Global History and US Foreign Policy

Curriculum Subject: Government and Civics

Grade Level: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, 1963

Era: 1945 to the Present, The Civil Rights Movement, The Sixties

Theme:

Curriculum Subject:

Grade Level: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The World War II experience of Robert L. Stone, 1942–1945

Era: The Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945, World War II

Theme:

Curriculum Subject:

Grade Level: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Map of the Foreign-Born Population of the United States, 1900

Era: The Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900, Immigration and Migration, The Progressive Era to the New Era, 1900-1929

Theme: Immigration and Migration

Curriculum Subject:

Grade Level: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

A brawl between Federalists and anti-Federalists, 1788

Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815, Creating a New Government, Hamilton

Theme: Government and Civics

Curriculum Subject: Government and Civics

Grade Level: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Japanese announcement of the attack at Pearl Harbor, 1941

Era: World War II, The Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945

Theme: Military History

Curriculum Subject:

Grade Level: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

A family torn apart by war, 1777

Era: The American Revolution, 1763-1783, The War for Independence

Theme: Military History, Women's History

Curriculum Subject:

Grade Level:

“The war ruined me”: The aftermath of the Civil War in the South, 1867

Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877, Reconstruction

Theme:

Curriculum Subject:

Grade Level:

“Columbia’s Noblest Sons”: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, 1865

Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877, The American Civil War

Theme: Art, Music and Film

Curriculum Subject: Art

Grade Level: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Slave Patrol Contract, 1856

Era: Slavery and Anti-Slavery

Theme: American Indian History

Curriculum Subject:

Grade Level: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+