Teaching With Primary Sources

tps_logo2.gifPrimary sources are defined as "works of human endeavor that were created at the time or very close to the time that is studied." Teaching with primary sources allows students to interpret information for themselves and demands of them higher level critical thinking skills. They also provide students a "window to the past," and depending on the era or subject taught, can provide eye-opening perspectives about social and political issues, economics, artistic movements, and so much more.
We have organized this part of the wiki categorically: (1) Tennessee-Specific Resources, (2) National Resources, (3) International Resources, and (4) Teaching With Document-Based Questions (DBQ).
Consider the following links to find resources for using these tools in your classroom:

Tennessee-Specific Resources

Tennessee Virtual Archive - This is a digital repository of Tennessee history and culture. TeVA's mission is to bring electronic versions of the state’s rich collections to a wider audience. TeVA provides a searchable array of historical records, photographs, documents, maps, postcards, film, audio and other original materials of enduring value.
Tennessee's Founding and Landmark Documents - From King George’s Proclamation of 1763 to the earliest purchase of land from Native Americans to the first Constitutions of the State of Tennessee, these are among the most important records from our past. Significant milestones in the formation and early history of the state are presented here for the first time in digital form taken directly from the originals, with full transcription and accompanying historical text. These Landmark Documents are available for citizens and students to search, study, and download. The series will continue with future installments of Tennessee’s recorded heritage from the 1830s to the Civil War and beyond.
Volunteer Voices provides a central point for accessing digital collections of primary sources (photos, letters, diaries, oral histories, artifacts, etc.) that document the history and culture of Tennessee. This site searches the original Volunteer Voices database, a growing number of digital collections across the state, and the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.

National Resources

Teaching With Primary Sources Across Tennessee
is a partnership between the LOC and the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. The site offers primary sources sets, newsletters, and lesson plans written by Tennessee educators.

The African-American Mosaic is a Library of Congress resource guide for the study of black history & culture.

Chronicling America allows you to search and view American historic newspapers, published 1836-1922, digitized through the NDNP, as well as discover more about newspapers published in the U.S., 1690-present.

The Cornell University Library Making of America Collection is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. This site provides access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.

Digital History focuses on American history from the earliest days through the 20th century. The site features a wealth of classroom-ready resources including links to primary sources, lesson plans, quizzes, and more.

DocsTeach is available from the National Archives. Find and create interactive learning activities with primary source documents that promote historical thinking skills.

Duke University's Digital Collections contains several primary sources related to American history, the arts, advertising and consumer culture, and more.

EDSITEment provides several ready-made lesson plans which require students to think critically and cite evidence from primary sources. This service is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History features several links to online exhibitions and primary source documents. The collection ranges from 1493 through the twentieth century and is widely considered one of the nation’s great archives in the Revolutionary, early national, antebellum, and Civil War periods.

The Internet Archive is sometimes a good resource for finding historic videos and audio recordings. The site hosts material that is not copyright-protected, and so you can find items based on historic period or decade or a major historic event like World War I or World War II.

The Library of Congress (LOC) Teaching With Primary Sources Program works with colleges and other educational institutions to teach educators how to use the LOC's wealth of primary sources. Check out the "Related Resources at the Library" menu on the bottom left of this page for access to LOC's many databases full of primary sources.

The National Archives provides a wealth of information available to teachers. Of particular interest is the Teachers' Resources sub-page for lesson plans, professional development opportunities, discussion points, and more.

The Native American Affairs Documents Project includes the narrative reports of the commissioner of Indian affairs for 1871, 1872, 1874, 1875, and 1876, and three additional reports for 1871. It also includes a map of western reservations published with the 1875 report. From California State University at San Marcos.

Only2Clicks is a portal full of resources including primary source materials. Find special collections related to the American Revolution, slavery, America in the 1930s, and more.

Primary Documents in American History is from the Library of Congress. The LOC is home to many of the most important documents in American history. This Web site provides links to materials digitized from the collections of the Library of Congress that supplement and enhance the study of these crucial documents. Find full-text "web guides" for the U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, the Federalist Papers, and more.

Primary Source Analysis Tool is a simple tool from the Library of Congress. Students may use it to record responses to a primary source. There are options to observe, reflect, and question the information therein.

"Primary Source Teaching the Web 2.0 Way K-12" is a collection of links on LiveBinders.com to help teachers integrate primary sources into the curriculum.

Primary Sources on the Web - A good collection of primary source documents, maps, images, and more that you can use in your classroom. Divided into two categories: United States history and world history.

Science and Medicine Research Guide - From the University of Washington Libraries, this guide links to several primary and secondary sources for topics related to science and medicine. Of possible interest is links to the Newton Papers, the Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers, and collections of rare books on plague and epidemiology.

The Smithsonian's Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web contains a vast searchable collection of digitized collections and archives from around the world.

International Resources
The Asian History LibGuide provides links to primary and secondary sources related to the study of Asian history. From the University of Washington Libraries.
The Avalon Project provides primary sources relevant to the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy, and government. The resources are organized by era and may be perusable by category: ancient history, medieval history, and the 15th century to the present.
British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles.

EuroDocs provides links that connect to European primary historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated. They shed light within the respective countries over a broad range of historical happenings (political, economic, social and cultural).

The Labyrinth from Georgetown University provides several resources about medieval studies including primary and secondary sources.

The Latin American History LibGuide provides links to several primary source materials in native languages. From the University of Washington Libraries.

The Middle East Documents includes several primary source documents relating to the history of the Middle East and especially to the creation of the state of Israel.

The National Archive of Australia offers photographs and some documents related to Australian history.

World History Sources contains an online primary source archive and classroom suggestions. Browse by time period or try the advanced search.

Teaching With Document-Based Questions (DBQs)
An Internet Hotlist on Document Based Questions - Paula Goldstein’s collection of primary source materials, document-based questions (DBQs), and constructed-response questions.

StudyPlans.com’s Guide to DBQs - Learn how to write your own DBQs with this extensive set of resources.

The United States History & Government Thematic Essays and DBQ page is from Greece Public Schools (NY). Find several resources for U.S. History-related topics here.

The Upstate New York History Alliance’s Guide to DBQs - Features an introduction to DBQs, resources to consider when writing your own, and lessons you can use in your classroom.

Please report broken or dead links to cmitchell1(at)k12tn.net.