Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘National History Day

Educators looking for digital primary resources representing world history and cultures will be excited to learn about a growing collection of significant, multilingual resources accessible through the World Digital Library, a Library of Congress global partnership resource.

World Digital Library MapAn interactive  world map on the launch page has thumbnails representing 9 geographic regions. Each image invites browsing through thousands of manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.  Search by topic, region, time period or in one of 7 languages.  Over 40 world languages are represented in the artifacdts.  WDL is a great source for discovering resources for world history and cultures, foreign language, United States History and world literature.  Click the map to begin exploring.  It’s that easy!

How can I  use primary resources like these in the media center and classroom or to support Common Core Standards?
Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas: Using Primary Sources 
See what former students have to say


The Interesting History of Prince Lee Boo, Brought to England from the Pelew Islands

The book tells the story of Captain Henry Wilson’s shipwreck on Palau and his subsequent encounter with the Palauan people, one of whom, a young prince named Lee Boo, later came to England with Wilson. Prince Lee Boo was one of the first Pacific Islanders to visit Great Britain, and his life and untimely death, only five months after his arrival in London, captured the imagination of the British, and wider European and American, audiences. This work was so popular that between 1789 and 1850, more than 20 English and a dozen foreign-language editions were published in different countries.  Listen to information about this artifact! View the book and Bibliographic record
World Digital Library: http://www.wdl.org
About the WDL:  http://www.wdl.org/en/about/

When I visited  Ford’s  theater earlier this year I learned  walking tours of downtown DC led by “Mrs. Keckely” are offered. Bummer!  I would have loved to learn more about Mrs. Keckley’s neighborhood, but  was unable to go for a tour that day.

I met Mrs. Keckley in Mrs. Keckly* and Mrs. Lincoln, a fascinating biography by Jennefir Fleischner about Mary Todd Lincoln’s friendship with Elizabeth Keckly, a former slave who was her seamstress and friend.   I searched the American Memory Collections for more information and located Mrs. Keckley’s Behind the Scenes, an early DC insider book that was also an interesting read.  Both books rank high on my memorable books list.


Behind the scenes.: By Elizabeth Keckley. Or, Thirty years a slave, and four years in the White House.
1868 Atlantic Monthly review of Behind the Scenes
The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana  A [Bookmark prospectus for three works by Willsie Morrow: With malice toward none; Forever free; and Mary Todd Lincoln.]
Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
Object of History: The Keckley/Lincoln Dress
   A lively, fun Smithsonian teaching activity!

**Keckly is spelled without the e in the book title; both spellings appear in published works.

Share ideas for using  wonderful primary resources like these in your classroom:
Online course: Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas

Benz and Einhorn, Blacksmith Shop

William Benz and Henry Einhorn visit at the Benz Blacksmith Shop. Winona Republican Herald, April 5, 1954

An evening out for pizza at a former blacksmith shop (the buildings limestone shell was built in 1857) got me thinking about a newspaper photo of my great-grandfather, Henry Einhorn, visiting with blacksmith William Benz. Located on Winona’s east end, Benz Blacksmith was Winona’s last surviving blacksmith shop.

The April 5, 1954 Winona Republican Herald said a Benz worked in the shop for 84 years;  blacksmiths who once shod horses and oxen now worked with plows. William Benz spent much of his time with his old crony, Henry Einhorn. The decaying building was torn down in 1957 and the equipment was sold. A replica of the shop and the photo are displayed in the Winona County History Center.  It’s one of my favorite exhibits!  The 1954 newspaper article and photo are digitized in the  Winona Newspaper Project. Select the image on the left to view the full article.

Looking for newspaper articles about your community?   Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers  is a good place to start.  What primary sources are part of your story?

Online course: Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas .

From Bluffs at Reads Landing, Minnesota looking down stream, 1885.

From Bluffs at Reads Landing, Minnesota looking down stream, 1885. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul Minnesota Reflections

Yesterday’s trip to the Reads Landing Brewing Company turned out to be a history lesson. We’ve driven through the Mississippi River town of Reads Landing countless times, but hadn’t ever turned off Highway 61. First stop: the Wabasha County Historical Society. The museum’s brochure describes the building, built in 1870, is the oldest schoolhouse in Minnesota. Initials of hundreds of students carved in the school’s walls. The museum’s old barn holds old agricultural machinery used in the early days of Wabasha County.

Reads Landing now is now home to 100 people, but in “its day “ as the landing spot for thousands of rafts hauling lumber down the Mississippi River. There were 17 hotels, 21 salons, and 15 stores.

A remaining brick storefront building is home to the Reads Landing Brewing Company. Like many businesses of its type, it has its own history and displays reproductions of historical photos on the walls. A window seat gave us a great view of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River dredging in action.  Reads Landing is a short drive from National Eagle Center in Wabasha.

Photo:  From Bluffs at Reads Landing, Minnesota looking down stream, 1885,  Henry Bosse, Creator. Minnesota Reflections, Minnesota Digital Library

Primary sources are all around us! What’s in your backyard? Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas starts Jan.23.

One more travel adventures post with a local history theme!

Our visit to Hibbing was a pleasant surprise.  We discovered a lovely city and enjoyed visiting variety of interesting sites.

The Hull Rust Mahoning Mine, is the largest open pit operational mine in the world and nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the North.” We climbed aboard equipment in a pretty park at the overlook and saw other equipment in action below the overlook.

Stop #2 was the Greyhound Bus Museum which has historical buses on display along with a terminal replica and many artifacts. I was especially  interested in the museum because my uncle drove for greyhound after World War II until the 1970’s.  Family members contributed career artifacts to the museum.  The Branding of America,  a Library of Congress Teachers’ Page Activity features  Greyhound as an iconic Minnesota brand. Visit Branding to learn how Greyhound got it’s start.

Hibbing High School was built in 1922 when Oliver Mining Company relocated the city of Hibbing.  Bob Dylan’s alma mater features  marble steps, chandeliers, a rare pipe organ, and ornate ceilings. The piano Dylan played is still used. The Hibbing Public Library has a Dylan Collection.

Primary sources are all around us! What’s in your backyard? Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas starts Jan.23.

Looking for more information about Charley Goddard and Company K in the Civil War?
Charley, the young soldier in Gary Paulsen’s young adult novel A Soldier’s Heart  is mentioned in an August post,  Music and letters connect us with the Civil War.   Here are more resources about Charley and the Minnesota 1st regiment.

Sergeant Buckman’s Diary; First Minnesota at the Battle of Gettysburg is not specifically about Charley Goddard, but is about the Minnesota regiment Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 30, 2013. 

Winona County Historical Society
Company K, A Civil War Journal, Minnesota 1st Volunteer Regiment
Letters, diaries, newspapers, regiment roster, and more primary sources.

Christmas, 1852. Winona’s Early History (Winona County History Center)

Winona’s Early History.  The Pioneer Settlers section has information about Catherine Goddard Smith, Charley’s mother, and his friend Charles Ely.

Library of Congress American Memory Collections
Civil War Photos, Brady Collection.  Subject: Minnesota troops
Pioneering the Upper Midwest:
   Keyword:   Christmas in Early Winona.
Read about an 1852  Christmas dinner at a Winona home and a unique menu item!

Teaching with Primary Sources
, an online class for teachers of all content areas begins January 2012.  Students comments.

Register Online: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.cfm

Alexander Graham Bell's Induction Device
What’s the connection between the phrase ignorance is bliss, Alexander Graham Bell’s induction device, the insanity plea, an apparatus used to treat polio patients, and the assassination of President James Garfield?  What son of a famous American was present at both Garfield’s assassination attempt and President McKinley’s?   It’s all in Candice Millard’s  incredibly fascinating and very readable book Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.

When I read historical fiction or  non-fiction like Destiny of the Republic, I have fun discovering more about the supporting facts and the primary sources the author used for research.  Millard relied extensively on resources held in collections at the Library of Congress, The Smithsonian, the Alexander Graham Bell papers, Garfield’s Ohio library (the first presidential library! ) and many more.   Notes , primary source illustrations and bibliographic information comprise 25% of the book!

I do Solemnly Swear: The Inauguration of James Garfield
Life and Death in the White House
Map of Washington DC and Photos relating to the Assassination

Learn how to use primary sources like these! Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas

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