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Primary Sources for K-12 Educators

This guide is for K-12 educators seeking digital primary sources to use in their classrooms.
Many libraries, archives, and galleries create collections of resources based on a specific topic, time period, geography, or influential person in history.  The following is a list of a few quality special topics collections and exhibits.

Special Topics


  • The War of 1812 Digital Collection - Open access resource containing historical documents and artifacts related to the war, including rare or unique books, maps, memoirs, military correspondence, and physical objects.


  • CBC Digital Archives - These archives bring the archived film and video library of the CBC online. Lesson plans by grade and by activity are on the For Teachers page.


  • Ad*Access - Duke Libraries - Collection of over 7000 digitized advertisements printed in US and Canadian newspapers and magazines from the 1910s to the 1950s. Product categories include: Beauty and Hygiene; Radio; Television; Transportation; and World War II propaganda.


  • Canadian Pamphlets and Broadsides - Provides access to pre-1930 Canadian pamphlet and broadside holdings of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. Includes items printed in Canada, by Canadian authors, or about Canadian subjects.


  • Canadian War Poster Collection - Contains digitized images of over 250 Canadia posters from World War I and World War II. Provides basic descriptions and images of each poster, an artist index, and an essay about Canadian War Posters.


  • Canadian Letters & Images Project - Online archive of the Canadian war experience, from any war, as told through the letters and images of Canadians themselves. Provides access to digitized contemporary letters, diaries, photographs, and other related materials.



  • Transgender Archives - The University of Victoria holds the world's largest collection of archival material related to modern transgender activism and research and seeks to preserve the history of pioneering activists, community leaders, and researchers working for the betterment of transgender people.