Teaching with Primary Sources and Government Documents


Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. These documents are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later. Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original format, in microfilm/microfiche, in digital format, or in published format.

Primary Sources at Oklahoma State University can easily be found in the Special Collections department within the Edmon Low Library and Government Documents are available both within the online catalog and on the 5th floor of the Library.

More about primary sources:

Some sources for Primary Sources and Learning Strategies:

CML Professional Resources for Using Primary Sources

Author: Johnson, Mary J.,
//Primary sources in the library : a collaboration guide for library media specialists//
Publisher: Worthington, Ohio : Linworth Pub., c2003.
Location: CML, Professional Collection
Call Number: 027.8222 J58p

Author: Baicker, Karen.
Title:The Civil War
Publisher: New York : Scholastic Professional Books, c2003.
Location: CML, Professional Collection
Call Number: 973.7 B152c

Author: Baicker, Karen.
Title: Colonial America
Publisher: New York : Scholastic Professional Books, c2002.
Location: CML, Professional Collection
Call Number: 973.2 B152c

Author: Baicker, Karen.
Title: Immigration
Publisher: New York : Scholastic Professional Books, c2003.
Location: CML, Professional Collection
Call Number: 372.89 B152i

Author: Baicker, Karen.
Title: The westward movement
Publisher: New York : Scholastic Professional Books, c2002.
Location: CML, Professional Collection
Call Number: 973 B152w

Author: Johnson, Carolyn
Title: Using Internet primary sources to teach critical thinking skills in the sciences
Publisher: Westport, CT : Libraries Unlimited, 2003.

Location: CML, Professional Collection
Call Number: 025.065 J66u

Author: Veccia, Susan H.
Title: Uncovering our history : teaching with primary sources
Publisher: Chicago : American Library Association, 2004.
Location: CML, Professional Collection
Call Number: 973.071 V398u

Author: Kent-Drury, Roxanne M.
Title: Using internet primary sources to teach critical thinking skills in world literature
Publisher: Westport, Conn. : Libraries Unlimited, 2005.

Location: CML, Professional Collection
Call Number: 025.068 K37u

Author: Thimmesh, Catherine.
Title: The sky's the limit : stories of discovery by women and girls
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
Location: CML, Juvenile Collection
Call Number: j500.82 T443s

Author: United States. National Archives and Records Administration.
National Council for the Social Studies.
Title: Teaching with documents : using primary sources from the National Archives.
Publisher: Washington, DC :
National Archives and Records
Administration : National Council for the Social Studies, 1989.
Location: CML, Professional Collection
Call Number: 973.0712 T253

Author: Price, Sean.
Title: Route 66 : America's road
Publisher: Chicago, Ill. : Raintree, c2008.
Location: CML, Juvenile Collection
Call Number: j388.122 P946r

Author: Wyman, Richard M.
Title: America's history through young voices : using primary sources in the K-12 social studies classroom
Publisher: Boston : Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, c2005.
Location: CML, Professional Collection

Call Number: 973.071 W984a

Resources for U.S. History

American Memory
The Library of Congress's National Digital Library contains more than 40 collections, which feature historical photos, maps, documents, letters, speeches, recordings, videos, prints, and more.

Documenting the American South
This electronic text archive from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill contains primary source slavery narratives and first-person narratives of the South as well as a digitized library of southern literature.

A Hypertext on American History
This site contains over 100 historical documents relating to United States history, from the 1400s to the present. It includes letters, charters, essays, speeches, journal entries, inaugural addresses, autobiographies, biographies, and more. An outline of American history provides context for the primary source materials.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
Learn about the history of the city of St. Louis and the construction of the Gateway Arch through historic photographs at this site.

The Library of Congress
Legislative information, historical exhibits, primary source materials, resources for educators, research tools, and more are available from the Library of Congress.

Mr. Lincoln's Virtual Library
The Library of Congress presentsinformation on Abraham Lincoln, including the Emancipation Proclamation and his assassination, in this online exhibit of primary sources.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
NARA preserves historically valuable archives of the U.S. government, including documents, photographs, images, maps, audio clips, letters, speeches, and films. Check out the **Exhibit Hall** for fascinating primary sources on such topics as the Lincoln assassination and World War II propaganda posters.

National Museum ofAmerican Art
This museum site offers online exhibitions of American art.

New Deal Network
This site contains hundreds of primary sources related to the Depression era and the New Deal, including letters, photographs, posters, political cartoons, government documents, speeches, and more. You can also find background information on New Deal programs.

The Papers of Jefferson Davis
Learn about Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, through his writings. You can also find background information on his life and family.

Truman Presidential Museum & Library
Find primary source documents, photos, letters, journals, and more on 20th century history from the Truman Presidential Library.

Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution offers access to primary sources and other resources on a wide variety of topics, including military and political history.

The University of Oklahoma Law Center: A Chronology of US Historical Documents
This site offers an extensive directory of historical documents from pre-colonial days to the present. Many presidential inaugural addresses are included, as are some songs, poems, letters, and more.

The Valley of the Shadow
Learn about the impact of the Civil War on two counties, Pennsylvania's Franklin County and Virginia's Augusta County, through the primary source images, documents, letters, newspapers, and maps at this site.

Resources for World History

Alex is a comprehensive catalog of books and other works that enables users to find and retrieve the full text of documents on the Internet. It currently indexes almost 1,800 books and shorter texts by author, title, subject, language, and year of publication.

The Chauvet Cave
Learn about the 1994 discovery of Paleolithic cave paintings in France and view photographs of the paintings.

The History Net
This collection of resources highlights topics in United States and world history through eyewitness accounts, interviews, photographs, and other primary and secondary sources.

The Labyrinth
This collection of medieval resources includes an electronic library of poetry and prose in medieval languages, on-line bibliographies, professional directories and news about medieval studies, links to related teaching resources, and information on medieval cultures.

Perseus Project
Perseus is a growing collection of online resources for studying the ancient world. Materials include ancient texts and translations, maps, articles, essays, and images from over 70 museums around the world.

Institute of Egyptian Art & Archaeology
This site contains an exhibit of ancient Egyptian artifacts and a virtual tour of ancient Egyptian cities.

Vincent Voice Library
This site features primary source sound samples, such as speech clips from many U.S. presidents and other notable figures in history.

The Bill of Rights http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html
The Bill of Rights http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display_printable.cfm?HHID=295

History and Resources

· Repositories of Primary Sources http://www.uidaho.edu/special-collections/Other.Repositories.html
· Eurodocs http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/eurodocs/homepage.html
· In the First Person: Index to Letters, Diaries, Oral Histories, and Personal Narratives http://www.alexanderstreet7.com/firp/
· EyeWitness: History Through the Eyes of Those who Lived it http://www.ibiscom.com/eyindx.htm
· (Eyewitness accounts organized by date starting with Ancient Greece.)
· German Propoganda Archive http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/
· Hanover Historical Texts Project http://history.hanover.edu/project.html
· Historical Atlas of the 20th Century http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/20centry.htm#General
· History of the United Kingdom Primary Documents http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/eurodocs/uk.html
· Internet Medieval Sourcebook http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook.html
· Middle East Peace Process Documents http://www.mideastweb.org/history.htm
· National Archives Learning Curve (British documents) http://learningcurve.pro.gov.uk/
· Penn Library: Government Treaties http://www.library.upenn.edu/resources/subject/government/treaty.html
· United Nations Treaty Collection http://untreaty.un.org/English/treaty.asp
· University of Texas Historical Maps http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/map_sites/hist_sites.html
· Victoria Research Web: 19th-Century Britain http://www.indiana.edu/~victoria/

· World History Archives http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/index.html
· World War I Document Archive http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/
· World War II Documents http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/

Speeches and other voices

· American Rhetoric: Online Speech Bank http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speechbank.htm
· All Things Considered Archive (radio transcripts including many interviews) http://www.npr.org/programs/atc/archives/
· BBC Interviews http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/audiointerviews/
· Conversations with History (Interviews) http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/conversations/
· Douglass: Archive of American Public Address http://douglass.speech.nwu.edu/
· Gifts of Speech: Women's Speeches from Around the World http://gos.sbc.edu/
· Graduation Speeches http://dir.yahoo.com/Education/Graduation/Speeches/
· Historical Voices http://www.historicalvoices.org
· History and Politics Out Loud http://www.hpol.org/
· History Channel: Speeches http://www.historychannel.com/speeches/index.html
· History Place: Great Speeches Collection http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/previous.htm
· "I Do Solemnly Swear . . .": Presidential Inaugurations http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/pihtml/pihome.html
· Lost and Found Sound (from NPR's All Things Considered) http://www.npr.org/programs/lnfsound/
· Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents (Washington to Bush) http://www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/inaugural/
· Martin Luther King Online: Speeches http://www.mlkonline.com/speeches.html
· Online Speech Bank http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speechbank.htm
· Oral History Online! Oral History Online http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/BANC/ROHO/ohonline/
· Social Activism: Sound Recording Project http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/pacifica.html
· Speech Archive (History Channel) http://www.historychannel.com/speeches/index.html
· Speech/Transcript Center http://www.freepint.com/gary/speech.htm
· Speeches and Transcripts (University of Albany) http://library.albany.edu/reference/speeches.html
· Speeches of Abraham Lincoln http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/speech.htm
· Speeches of United States' Presidents http://www.ocean.ic.net/rafiles/pres/thelist.html
· Speechbot http://speechbot.research.compaq.com/cgi-bin/query
· Speeches and Transcripts (U. Albany) http://library.albany.edu/reference/speeches.html
· Talking History http://www.talkinghistory.org
· Vincent Voice Library http://www.lib.msu.edu/vincent/
· White House.gov (for speeches of the President, Vice Presidents, First Ladies) http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Presidential Resources
· Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/
· "I Do Solemnly Swear . . .": Presidential Inaugurations http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/pihtml/pihome.html
· Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents (Washington to Bush) http://www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/inaugural/
· Nixon White House Tapes http://www.c-span.org/executive/presidential/nixon.asp
· Presidential Debates http://www.debates.org/
· Presidential Libraries http://www.ibiblio.org/lia/president/
· Speeches of Abraham Lincoln http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/speech.htm
· White House.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/
· LBJ White House Tapes

· NARA 100 Milestone Documents http://www.ourdocuments.gov/content.php?page=milestone
· AP US History: Docs http://www.historyteacher.net/APUSH-Course/Weblinks/Weblinks4.htm
· OurDocuments.gov http://www.ourdocuments.gov/
· Primary Sources: Chico High School (a major gateway!) http://dewey.chs.chico.k12.ca.us/primary.html
· Ad Access Database (advertisements) http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/adaccess/browse.html
· AmDocs: Documents for the Study of American History http://www.ukans.edu/carrie/docs/amdocs_index.html
· American and British History Resources on the Internet http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rulib/socsci/hist/amhist.html
· American History and Government Hotlist http://sln.fi.edu/tfi/hotlists/government.html
· American Hypertexts http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/hypertex.html
· American Colonist's Library (primary sources) http://www.universitylake.org/primarysources.html
· American Memory Learning Page http://lcweb2.loc.gov/learn/
· American Memory Collection Finder http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/collections/finder.html
· American Originals (NARA) American Originals: The Original Exhibit http://www.nara.gov/exhall/originals/original.html
· Avalon Project: American History A Documentary Record 1492--1988 http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/chrono.htm
· Black History: Primary Source Links blackprimary.html
· Boondock's Net http://www.boondocksnet.com/
· Census Statistics http://www.census.gov
· Charters of Freedom http://www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/charters.html
· Chronology of US Historical Documents (U. Oklahoma) http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/
· CIA/EDRC: Popular Documents Collection http://www.foia.ucia.gov/frame2.htm
· Conversations with History (interviews with notables) http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/conversations/
· Core Documents of U.S Democracy http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/locators/coredocs/index.html
· Digital Classroom http://www.nara.gov/education/classrm.html
· Documents in Early American History http://history.missouristate.edu/FTMiller/Docs/DocsEarlyAmer.htm
· Emergence of Advertising in America http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/eaa/
· Eye Witness: History Through the Eyes of Those Who Lived It http://www.ibiscom.com
· Federal Resources for Educational Excellence http://www.ed.gov/free/
· Charters of Freedom http://www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/charters.html
· Conversations with History (Interviews) http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/conversations/
· Electronic Literature Foundation (ELF) http://elf.chaoscafe.com/
· EyeWitness: History through the Eyes http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/
· Eyewitness to Labor History http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/collections/exhibits/tam/reiss/opener.html
· From Revolution to Reconstruction http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/usa.htm
· Founders' Constitution http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/
· Great Documents http://civnet.org/resoures/greatdoc.htm
· History Central Source Documents http://www.historycentral.com/documents/index.html
· Historic Documents (Project Vote Smart) http://www.vote-smart.org/reference/histdocs/
· Historical List of Policy Documents http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/NSC/html/historical/
· Historical Photographs Online http://horus.ucr.edu/hist-art/photo.html
· Historical Text Archive http://historicaltextarchive.com/
· History Central: Primary Sources http://www.historycentral.com/documents/index.html
· History and Politics Out Loud (HPOL) http://www.hpol.org/
· Horus History Links http://www.ucr.edu/h-gig/search/horussearch.html
· Images of American Political History http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/amer_pol_hist/
· HistoryNet http://www.thehistorynet.com
· Internet Archive of Texts and Documents http://history.hanover.edu/texts.htm
· Making of America Project (American social history in journals and books--antebellum through reconstruction)
· http://moa.cit.cornell.edu/MOA/moa-main_page.html
· National Archives Search http://www.archives.gov/search/index.html
· National Archives Digital Classroom http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/index.html
· New Deal Network http://newdeal.feri.org/
· New York Public Library Digital Library http://digital.nypl.org/
· Nineteenth Century Documents http://www.furman.edu/~benson/docs/
· Oral History Online! Oral History Online http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/BANC/ROHO/ohonline/
· Our Documents http://ourdocuments.gov
· Primary Sources Network http://primarysources.msu.edu/
· Primary Sources, Activities, and Training for Educators and Students http://www.nara.gov/education/
· Primary Sources (Northern Trails Area Education Agency) http://www.aea2.k12.ia.us/curriculum/primarysources.html
· Project Gutenberg: Listing by Author http://sailor.gutenberg.org/by-author.html
· Research Help http://www.dordt.edu/dept/history/research.htm
· Smithsonian Institution http://www.si.edu/newstart.htm
· Texts and Documents http://history.hanover.edu/texts.html
· Thomas: Legislative Information on the Internet http://thomas.loc.gov/
· Uncle Sam - Migrating Government Publications http://www.lib.memphis.edu/gpo/mig.htm
· U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates 1774-1873 http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lawhome.html
· U.S. Founding Documents http://www.law.emory.edu/FEDERAL/
· U.S. Historical Documents http://www.law.ou.edu/ushist.html
· Unforgettable Letters (US Postal Service) http://www.usps.gov/letters/welcome.htm
· WWW-VL History Index http://www.ukans.edu/history/VL/
· Yale University Library Primary Sources Research http://www.library.yale.edu/ref/err/primsrcs.htm

· American Posters of World War I http://www.library.georgetown.edu/dept/speccoll/amposter.htm
· American Slave Narratives: An Online Anthology http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/wpa/wpahome.html
· Avalon Project: World War II Documents http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/wwii.htm
· Black History: Primary Source Links blackprimary.html
· Civil War Women--Primary Sources http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/women/cwdocs.html
· Dr. Seuss Went to War (political cartoons) http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/speccoll/dspolitic/
· Ellis Island Database Search http://home.pacbell.net/spmorse/ellis/ellis.html
· Gulf War: An Oral History http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/gulf/
· Historic Government Publications of World War II http://worldwar2.smu.edu/
· Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive http://jarda.cdlib.org/
· Kappler's Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/
· New Deal Network http://newdeal.feri.org/
· North American Slave Narratives http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/neh.html
· Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art of World War II http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/powers_of_persuasion/powers_of_persuasion_home.html
· Private Art (Letters to and from the homefront--WWII) http://www.private-art.com/
· Publications of the War http://www.hcu.ox.ac.uk/jtap/pubs/
· Rutgers Oral History Archive of World War II http://fas-history.rutgers.edu/oralhistory/orlhom.htm
· Salem Witchcraft Papers http://etext.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft/texts/
· Suffragists Oral History Project http://library.berkeley.edu/BANC/ROHO/ohonline/suffragists.html
· They Drew Fire: Combat Artists of World War II http://www.pbs.org/theydrewfire/
· Veterans' History Project http://www.loc.gov/folklife/vets/
· War Stories http://www.newseum.org/warstories/
· World War I Document Archive http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/
· War Poster Collection http://content.lib.washington.edu/warposters/
· War Relocation Authority: Photographs of Japanese-American Relocation and Resettlement http://www.oac.cdlib.org/dynaweb/ead/calher/jvac/@Generic__BookView
· World War I Images http://pease1.sr.unh.edu/1/Images/
· World War I Trenches on the Web http://www.worldwar1.com/
· World War II Oral HistoryWeb Site http://www.tankbooks.com



Listed below are links to online resources that provide educational lesson plans, professional articles, or other documents that provide you with the opportunity to explore ways to teach with Primary Sources and Government Documents.

· Adventures in the Past--Heritage Education
· CELA - Literacy Corner
· Chemicals, the Environment, and You
· Doing Science The Process of Scientific Inquiry
· Echo the Bat Pop-up Book

· Elementary Careers
· EPA SunWise
· Federal Bureau of Investigation - Freedom of Information Privacy Act
· genome.gov Online Education Kit Understanding the Human Genome Project
· How Your Brain Understands What Your Ear Hears
· http--permanent.access.gpo.gov-websites-eric.ed.gov-ERIC_Digests-ed458161.htm
· http--science.education.nih.gov-customers.nsf-MSBone.htm
· http--sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov-edsecef.htm
· http--www.nrel.gov-docs-fy05osti-37545.pdf
· Looking Good, Feeling Good From the Inside Out
· NGDC Natural Hazards Stratovolcano Poster

· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for Elementary School - Open Wide and Trek Inside!
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for High School - Cell Biology and Cancer
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for High School - Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for High School - Human Genetic Variation
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for High School - The Brain Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for High School - Using Technology to Study Cellular and Molecular Biology
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for Middle School - How Your Brain Understands What Your Ear Hears
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for Middle School - The Brain Our Sense of Self
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for Middle School - The Science of Energy Balance
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for Middle School - The Science of Healthy Behaviors
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for Middle School - The Science of Mental Illness
· NIH Curriculum Supplement Series for Middle School - Understanding Alcohol
· NLS Reference Circular Sources of Braille Reading Materials (2007)
· NOAA Ocean Explorer
· NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Welcome
· Oklahoma Crossroads Documents and Images Compound Object Viewer
· Oklahoma Crossroads—Documents and Images
· Peace Corps Coverdell World Wise Schools Publications Voices From the Field
· Piece Out
· Resources for CELA Teachers
· Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Homepage
· Teachers Guide to Stratovolcanoes - Home
· The Brain Our Sense of Self
· The Science of Energy Balance Calorie Intake and Physical Activity
· The Science of Mental Illness
· To the Ends of the Earth and Beyond
· Transition of Students With Disabilities To Postsecondary Education A Guide for High School Educators
· U.S. Government Bookstore Browse by Subject High School Debate Topic
· Who Teaches Reading in Public Elementary Schools