Primary Sources in the Classroom


Newspapers: "the rough draft of history"

Paper: The State; Date: Dec. 5, 1905; Issue 5302; Page 1; Columbia, South Carolina

Newspapers: "the rough draft of history"

America's Historical Newspapers reviewed in new issue of Journal of American History

The September 2010 issue of the Journal of American History—the quarterly journal of the Organization of American Historians—features this review of America's Historical Newspapers

America's Historical Newspapers reviewed in new issue of Journal of American History

Exploring Mexico's Revolutions in American Newspapers

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the initial uprising that would lead to the independence of Mexico from Spain.  2010 is also the 100th anniversary of the Mexican revolution of 1910, which overthrew President Porfirio Diaz.  Both revolutions lasted around a decade. The 1810 uprising is traditionally thought to have begun on September 16. This article published on December 20, 1810 in Boston’s Independent Chronicle shows how early news of the uprising was presented in the United States. It’s short and to the point.
On February 23, 1811, Baltimore’s Federal Gazette contained this translation of an article from the November 20, 1810 issue of the Spanish-language Mexico Gazette. The original article is a first-person account by Brigadier Don Felix Calleja of his actions in the field against the insurgents. Everything traveled slowly then, not just news. Publishers had no fear of reprinting materials from wherever they could get them.

Exploring Mexico's Revolutions in American Newspapers

Women's Suffrage: The Frontier Background

"Spirit of the Frontier" by John Gast (1872)

Women's Suffrage: The Frontier Background

Materials and Methods in Early American Religion: A Society of Early Americanists Conference Roundtable

Panel Chair: Chris Phillips, Lafayette College Scholarly interest in early American religions has greatly expanded in recent years across a variety of disciplines. This panel is intended to generate discussion about how ideas about doing research on religious topics has changed, and how scholars can best use archives, both digital and physical, many of which are only newly available. The chair invites one-page proposals for 10-minute talks (not formal papers) from any field, including interdisciplinary studies. Possible questions may include: • What is a religious artifact? • What can we know from what we find in the archive? • How do issues of access (cataloging, access costs, research funding, etc.) inform or limit research in these areas? • What might the future relationship between digital and physical collections look like? • Do digital forms of research and delivery offer new paradigms for understanding religions? • How do contemporary notions of religiosity and secularity affect work on early American religion? • How do we deal with “gaps” in the archive? • What new paradigms or metaphors, beyond recovery, reconstruction, etc., might we use in studying this topic, especially in the context of women, children, and ethnic minorities? • What are the possibilities for studying the place of orality in American religions? How do we bring the study of religion to our students? Please send proposals to Chris Phillips, Assistant Professor of English, Lafayette College (phillipc@lafayette.edu) by September 20, 2010.
Materials and Methods in Early American Religion: A Society of Early Americanists Conference Roundtable

Right to vote for U.S. women approved August 1920

 

Proposing the 19th Amendment

In her recent NewYork Times column titled "My Favorite August," Gail Collins wrote about women getting the right to vote in August 1920.  The previous year—on May 19, 1919—both Houses of the 66th Congress had approved House Joint Resolution 1, proposing the 19th amendment to the 48 states. The Joint Resolution was only two sentences long: 
"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. "Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." 
The following summer, on August 18, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify what many referred to as the "Susan B. Anthony federal suffrage amendment."

Right to vote for U.S. women approved August 1920

Early American newspaper issue takes $12,300 at auction

 
Antiques and the Arts Online recently reported the results of a Judaica auction held this past May that included important Americana items. Among the books sold was the first Haggadah printed in America (New York, 1837), which had been part of the Gratz College of Philadelphia’s library for nearly 100 years.
 
Bringing $12,300 was a June 19, 1790 issue of the Gazette of the United States, which contains this transcript of George Washington's four-paragraph letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Savannah, Georgia.  
Early American newspaper issue takes $12,300 at auction

Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes: The U.S. Congressional Serial Set and the Building of the Panama Canal

A Readex breakfast event during the 2010 American Library Association annual conference included a presentation by Steve Daniel, an internationally known authority on government documents. In "Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes," Daniel traced the history of the idea of a water route through Central America as it is documented in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Daniel writes:
"The building of the Panama Canal was without doubt one of the great engineering and technological achievements of the modern era, equal in every respect to the first transcontinental railroad and putting a man on the moon. Its completion in 1914 was the realization of a dream that dates back to the early years of European settlement in the New World. "Because of the Serial Set’s importance as a collection of legislative history materials, the even greater importance of the 19th and early 20th century Serial Set as a fundamental resource for research on the major and minor issues of American political, economic and social history is sometimes overlooked.  Highlighted here are only a small number of the hundreds of publications in in the Serial Set that might be cited on the Panama Canal." 
Here is Daniel’s PowerPoint. A video of his live presentation will be available here soon. Daniel adds:
"Whether it’s biographical research on Civil War generals and politicians, the history of civil rights and women’s suffrage in America, or the building an interoceanic canal, the Serial Set is a logical place to begin."
Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes: The U.S. Congressional Serial Set and the Building of the Panama Canal

The Dunlop Broadside a k a The Declaration of Independence

The Dunlap Broadside from Early American Imprints

According to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, there are 26 known copies of the "Declaration of Independence," which is often referred to as the "Dunlop Broadside."   The name is attributed to the Philadelphia printer, John Dunlop, who was responsible for the first printing. After Dunlop printed and distributed his broadside during the late afternoon on Thursday, July 4, several newspapers published this historic document, including Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6, 1776 and Pennsylvania Packet on July 8, 1776.

The Dunlop Broadside a k a The Declaration of Independence

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