The Primary Source Librarian

Dedicated to Excellence in Teaching with Primary Sources

Chronicling America – Short Version

In my last post, I suggested that summer vacation is a great time to explore primary source collections for fun and personal learning. You deserve a break from the pressure to write perfect lesson plans complete with assessments that meet content standards, AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner, ISTE NETS standards, and so on!

Chronicling America–the rapidly expanding nationwide collection of historic newspaper content–will keep you entertained for hours. In a Matt Raymond Library of Congress blog post, you can read about recent progress as well as the one-millionth-page milestone just reached.

Here are my suggestions for getting started:

  1. Take a quick look at the newspapers that are currently in the database.
  2. From the Search Newspaper Pages, select a state OR select a specific newspaper along with a date or a date range. Enter a random search term–horses, Indian, Cuba, liver pills, mining, Roosevelt, great war–just about anything from history as long as you use historical terms.
  3. Experiment with zoom, print, and other features of the display pages.
  4. Put the Chronicling America RSS feed into your reader for fun weekly updates filled with great leads.

Don’t expect to become an immediate expert, but every search skill you can add to your bag of tricks will pay off when you want to advise students in the future.

Historic Newspaper Image

“Virtual Nebraska” Newspaper

Creative Commons License


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