The Primary Source Librarian

Dedicated to Excellence in Teaching with Primary Sources

Adding Hispanics to 4th Grade State History

| February 9, 2011

Two days ago I attended a grant planning meeting for “The Hispanic Experience in Colorado” – a collaboration among Teaching with Primary Sources-Colorado, The Center for Colorado & the West, and History Colorado. We developed an agenda for a one-day face-to-face workshop, to be followed by six weeks of online collaboration. We are expecting about […]

Zoom into Maps

| November 24, 2010

I spent the past week writing an article about ways to teach with maps. Along the way, I discovered hundreds of rich collections and outstanding lesson plans. In fact, there are so many map-related websites that it’s nearly impossible to know what to include. And what to leave out. Believe me, I am no expert […]

Passing Strange: A Story of Primary Sources

| September 20, 2010

I depend a lot upon New York Times book reviews when selecting books to add to my “I wish I had the time to read” pile. Between listening to my growing collection of audible.com books on my iPod while working out at the Y and reading about 1/5 of the books I put on hold […]

Slavery: Textbook vs. Narrative History

| September 5, 2010

Once you have read a handful of narratives from the Library of Congress collection, Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project 1936-1938, you will never again rely wholly on textbooks to teach about slavery. These narratives tell more about the actual slave experience than any American history textbook can convey in a […]

Evaluating Eyewitness Reports

| August 21, 2010

When I give workshops on teaching with primary sources, I always ask participants to define the term primary source and to give examples. Participants always offer “eyewitness reports” as an example. It stands to reason, then, that the ability to analyze eyewitness reports for point of view, accuracy, and context is an essential primary source […]

Back in the Primary Source Librarian Blog Business

| August 9, 2010

Time passes swiftly when you’re NOT writing a blog. Apparently I needed a longer vacation from blogging than I predicted back in January. What have I been doing? Well… Two trips to Europe–Sicily in April and Brittany (northwest France) in June. I continued my Italian studies and brushed up on my once fluent French. Hours […]

Primary Sources as Alternatives to Print Requirements

| November 28, 2009

In his always thought-provoking, shake-up-the-status-quo way, Bud Hunt wrote a post last week suggesting that perhaps primary sources could replace print materials as a requirement in all research assignments. I agree with Bud that “print” sources have largely been replaced by online books, newspapers, magazines, etc., certainly in my own life if not in the […]

Primary Source Teaching the Web 2.0 Way, K-12

| November 16, 2009

I just realized that over the past couple of years, I’ve made a handful of veiled references to a book that I was writing, but I’ve never actually posted a photo of the cover or a description of the contents. Guess I’m not a tooter of my own horn. Then there’s the fact that when […]

Faked Photographs – Primary Sources or Not?

| August 30, 2009

Last Sunday’s (August 23) New York Times had a fun article by Bill Marsh called “Faked Photographs: Look, and Then Look Again.” The article made me wonder just how much editing makes a primary source photograph no longer a true primary source. Most of the photographs in the online slide show that accompanied the article […]

Which Primary Source Tells the Truth?

| August 16, 2009

Today’s New York Times published an article by Rachel L. Swarns entitled “Madison and the White House, Through the Memoir of a Slave.” As a 10-year-old slave, Paul Jennings first set foot in the White House of President James Madison. “…over the course of his long life, Mr. Jennings witnessed, and perhaps participated in, the […]