Skip to Main Content

Resources for Teachers: Online Primary Sources from Manuscript Division

A diverse collection of historical materials are available in the digital collections of the Library of Congress. This guide highlights the unique manuscript materials of particular interest to teachers and students.


The Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress is home to a wealth of primary source materials, many of which you and your students can use online. These document American history and culture from the colonial period to the present. They include papers of presidents, journals of sea captains, notebooks of inventors, manuscripts of poets, letters and diaries written by ordinary Americans, and more.

Every summer the Library’s Professional Learning and Outreach Initiatives offers week-long Summer Teacher Institutes. These routinely include presentations by Manuscript Division curators. For more information, see the schedules and resources posted to the Teachers Institutes page. One of the results of these institutes is the essay entitled "Counting Sheep: Unspinning the Mystery of the 1787 'Massachusetts Sheep Census'" found under the "How to Use Our Resources" section of this guide.

Highlights from the Manuscript Division Collections