Primary Source / Item: map
(Image courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University)
Among the types of images that can be used as primary sources are maps. This example entitled: "Plan of the Town and Harbour of Boston" was published in London on 29 July 1775. It illustrates how military stores- arms, munitions and medical supplies- were being guarded outside the city, leading to the events of April 19 in Boston "and the Country adjacent with the Road from Boston to Concord, Showing the Plan of the late Engagement between the King's Troupes & the Provincials."
The best source for local historical maps is usually your town historical society and your town library. The National Heritage Museum's Libarary and Archives collection holds approximately 100 maps documenting the exploration and growth of North America as well as the development of the colonies. Among these holdings are a number of Revolutionary War battle maps, traveler's aids published during the period of westward migration, and maps that delineate roads, waterways, and mineral resources.
Several websites that specialize both in providing old maps as primary sources and in teaching how to read and analyze maps in the classroom are: Lewis & Clark: the Maps of Exploration 1507-1814, Special Collections Library, Univ. of Virginia, Mapping Colonial New England, a lesson plan of EDSITEMENT, the education website of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and History Matters, maps online feature links including the Library of Congress, Historic USGS Maps of New England, and cartography archives. There is also a special feature on 'Making Sense of Maps' as primary sources.