Teaching with Primary Sources

This program is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University.

Registration in these free seminars is open only to teachers in the following states. Click here to register.

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

Recertification Credit: The National Humanities Center programs are eligible for recertification credit. Each seminar includes ninety minutes of instruction plus approximately two hours of preparation. Because the seminars are conducted online, they may qualify for technology credit in districts that award it. The Center will supply documentation of participation.

Technical Requirements

Teaching with Primary Sources is a program of the Library of Congress that helps educators get students engaged, excited, and empowered through the use of primary sources. It provides professional development opportunities for educators and guides them in using the digitized primary sources available from the Library’s web site in their classrooms, libraries, and museums. The TPS program contributes to the quality of education by deepening content understanding and improving student literacy in our nation’s schools.

Upcoming Seminars

Trying to Settle In: Why Some New World Colonies Failed and Others Succeeded

Leader: Kathleen DuVal
Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
National Humanities Center Fellow

Date: Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (EST)
Registration Deadline: July 31, 2012
Click here to register.

In the first two centuries after 1492, most European colonies in the New World failed. Why? Were the colonizers unprepared for the weather and climate they found? Did the mother countries send the wrong people? Did their misunderstanding of native cultures doom the first Europeans to come to the New World? Were the desires and power of local Indians the most important factors deciding success or failure? How much of a role did luck play? Should we be surprised that any colonies survived?

My Neighbor, My Enemy: The American Revolution as a Civil War

Leader: Timothy H. Breen
William Smith Mason Professor of American History, Northwestern University
National Humanities Center Fellow

Date: Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (EST)
Registration Deadline: Aug. 7, 2012
Click here to register.

Before the American Revolution became a war with Great Britain, it was a bitter street-level conflict that pitted neighbor against neighbor. How was that war fought? What did ordinary Americans do to each other in the name of independence, on one hand, and in the name of loyalty to the Crown, on the other? Moving the focus of interpretation away from the Founding Fathers, this seminar will ask questions about resistance to imperial power on the community level. What were the sources of popular mobilization? What role did violence and intimidation play in the relations between neighbors? How did national events turn people who had lived peacefully together for years into enemies?

Previous Seminars

For Union and Freedom: African Americans in the Civil War

Leader: Leslie Rowland
Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland

Date: Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (EST)

Registration Closed

Blacks served in the Union army from the very beginning of the Civil War. They handled pots, pans, horses, wagons, picks, and shovels but not rifles. When the War broke out, they volunteered to fight. Yet whites, knowing that blacks saw participation in the War as a step toward racial equality, flatly rejected their help in battle. Only when the War ground to a stalemate and casualties rose as enlistments fell did the Union turn to what Frederick Douglass called “the iron arm of the black man.” Ultimately, nearly 180,000 African Americans served in the Union Army. What impact did they have on the War, and what impact did the War have on them? And what of the enslaved? Did they strike at the Confederacy to win their freedom, or were they merely the passive benefactors of the Union victory?

“Something to Marvel At”: Urban Life in America, 1880–1910

Leader: Henry Binford
Associate Professor of History, Northwestern University
National Humanities Center Fellow

Date: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (EST)

Registration Closed

Between 1880 and the first decades of the twentieth century American cities became something new on the nation‘s landscape. Millions of men and women from small-town and rural America and from abroad flooded into them. Some found jobs in skyscrapers, rode the subways, and played in amusement parks. Others toiled in sweat shops, lived in tenements, and starved. But for all, the experience of the metropolis was new. How did life in the great cities change the way we worked, the way we traveled, the way we played, the way we saw the world, and the way se saw ourselves?

Opportunity Costs: The Perils and Profits of Assimilation

Leader: Joy Kasson
Professor of American Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
National Humanities Center Fellow

Date: Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (EST)
Registration Deadline: Feb. 16, 2012

Registration Closed

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries immigrants to America gladly gave up the hunger, poverty, and oppression of the Old World to embrace the opportunity of the New. But that opportunity came at a price. Left behind were family, friends, traditions, language, and, in some cases, even the name that told you who you were. The adopted country demanded a lot. What did assimilation mean? What strategies of assimilation were available to immigrants at that time? What of the Old World did immigrants have to jettison? What could they safely retain?

Join Our Email List: