Upcoming Professional Development Webinars

Check out our schedule of summer and fall webinars for educators. Visit the National Archives without leaving your school or home! Our interactive webinars feature historical documents, images, maps, posters, and other primary sources — as well as resources and strategies for bringing primary sources into your classroom. All are free of charge.

Find the complete list and more information on our website.

An Introduction to DocsTeach.org and Online Resources from the National Archives

Monday, August 13, 2018, 12 p.m. EDT & Friday, August 17, 2018, 3 p.m. EDT
Register today

DocsTeachGear up for the 2018-2019 school year with an introduction to DocsTeach.org, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives. Discover primary sources for teaching history and civics topics. Explore the 12 different document-based activity tools and learn how, with a free DocsTeach account, you can create your own activities or modify existing activities to share with your students. Also learn about additional online resources from the National Archives including document analysis worksheets, and lesson plans and eBooks from the Center for Legislative Archives.

Preview of 2018 Distance Learning Programs for Students

Monday, August 13, 2018, 3 p.m. EDT & Friday, August 17, 2018, 12 p.m EDT
Register today

Students in a Distance Learning ProgramDiscover how you can bring the National Archives to your classroom through interactive, primary source-based distance learning programs! In this special half-hour session, you will preview our K-12 distance learning programs, including new programs for the 2018-2019 school year. Learn about the technology requirements and how to prepare your students for the different programs.


Women’s Voices in the Records of Congress

Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 12 p.m. EDT
Register today

Appeal from the National Woman Suffrage Association

Appeal from the National Woman Suffrage Association, including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 11/10/1876, View on DocsTeach

This program is part of a new webinar series from the Center for Legislative Archives. Get an early look at new education resources and projects in development at the Center for Legislative Archives featuring the records of Congress.

The first webinar in this series will explore women’s voices in the fight for suffrage in the records of the 45th Congress around the time when Senator Aaron Sargent first introduced a woman suffrage amendment to the Constitution. During this webinar you will receive primary sources and activity suggestions that will help students understand the agency of women in the fight for the right to vote, and evaluate the arguments made for and against woman suffrage by women and men in the 1870s.

Teaching the Constitution with Political Cartoons

Wednesday, September 5, 2018, 7 p.m. EDT
Register today


Anyone Home? Cartoon by Clifford Berryman, 2/24/1920, View on DocsTeach

Join the Center for Legislative Archives to discover how to use political cartoons to teach about the United States Constitution. Offered for the second year, this webinar will draw from the collection of Clifford K. Berryman cartoons from the U.S. Senate Collection. Berryman’s career as a political cartoonist in Washington, DC, spanned five decades and his cartoons are a rich resource for history and civics lessons.

During this interactive webinar, you will practice techniques for helping students evaluate visual content and explore ideas for how to use political cartoons to illustrate the “Big Ideas” of the Constitution, such as separation of powers and representative democracy. You will also explore additional resources from the National Archives for integrating political cartoons in the classroom, such as DocsTeach.org. This webinar is designed for middle school and high school educators.

Citizen Archivists in the Classroom Using the New “Native Communities” Program and DocsTeach

Saturday, September 15, 2018, 12 noon EDT
Register today

laptop and documentsJoin us for a step-by-step introduction to the using the new “Native Communities” program in conjunction with Citizen Archivist initiatives and DocsTeach.org to introduce students to effective primary source research with the possibility of real-time application and practice.

This program is especially for high school and college students and their educators, as well as tribal communities wishing to incorporate relevant Federal Government records into their classrooms. Final products can be published for the general public or kept private for single classroom use only.

This webinar is part of our Native American professional development series. Each program features new resources for locating and using Federal records related to American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Native American Stories about the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Thursday, October 18, 2018, Offered at both 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT
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List of

“Indian Presents” Purchased by Meriwether Lewis, 1803, View on DocsTeach

Join us for this program focusing upon specific curriculum approaches from Honoring Tribal Legacies (from the University of Oregon, National Park Service Lewis and Clark Trail, and the National Archives) using primary sources, stories, songs, theater, video, and classroom experiments. Incorporate these and other National Archives resources into your own classroom materials to teach the Native side of the Lewis and Clark experience. Included will be new material designed to help relate the Native American experience to your own area of the United States. (Live Native storyteller to be announced.)

This webinar is part of our Native American professional development series. 

The Making of American Indian Treaties

Thursday, November 1, 2018, Offered at both 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT
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Sherman and Commissioners with Indian Chiefs at Fort Laramie

Sherman and Commissioners with Indian Chiefs at Fort Laramie, 4/1868, View on DocsTeach

The National Archives holds all original American Indian treaties and their associated materials. Many of these materials are now being digitized for the first time as part of an ongoing scanning project. Imagine your students producing a play, video, or reenactment using the actual materials produced by treaty negotiators at the time – and focused on the area your students know best, their very own community.

This webinar is part of our Native American professional development series.


Teaching the Indian Removal Act of 1830

Thursday, November 15, 2018, Offered at both 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT
Register today

Trail of Tears Exhibit

Trail of Tears Exhibit at the Cherokee National Museum, View on DocsTeach

Many people associate the term “Trail of Tears” with the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from the southeastern U.S. to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). However, there were hundreds of other forced removals of tribes to various locations across the United States, some of which might have been from (or crossed through) your very own area of the country.

New online lessons and resources provide perspectives from Native American community members, documents, maps, images, and classroom activities to help teach an important and difficult chapter in the history – both of Native communities and of the United States. Coupled with historical U.S. Government records, these resources provide a fuller picture of the scope of removal and its impact on Native people. Join us to learn what resources are available so you can incorporate them into your own curriculum. Suitable for secondary grade levels.

This webinar is part of our Native American professional development series. 

Penpals from the Past: American Indian Schools in the United States

Thursday, December 13, 2018, Offered at both 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT
Register today


“Native Americans from Southeastern Idaho,” ca. 1897, View on DocsTeach

Is there anything more compelling than a letter from a penpal? What if you and your students could read letters, or even see Christmas lists, from American Indian students living in boarding schools in the past – or see images of students in their classrooms? Join us for a look at some examples. Learn a little about their experiences; and engage in the formerly complex process of accessing American Indian boarding and day school records, now made easier through our Native Communities Program.

This webinar is part of our Native American professional development series.

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Finding Rabindranath Tagore in the Holdings of the National Archives

Today’s post comes from National Archives volunteer Tisha Mondal and Judy Luis-Watson, manager of volunteer and education programs at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. It was cross-posted on our sister blog The Unwritten Record.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Rabindranath Tagore (May 7, 1861 – August 7, 1941). His words are as meaningful in the 21st Century as when he first wrote them.

“Music fills the infinite between two souls.” –Rabindranath Tagore

Federal records and poetry – what could possibly be the connection? How might Rabindranath Tagore—an Indian (Bengali) writer and poet, educator, musician, and visionary—have crossed paths with the Federal Government of the United States?

Tagore being world-renowned improved the likelihood there might be Federal records at the National Archives related to him. Many saw Tagore as a bridge-builder between the East and West, and his world travels, especially several visits to the U.S., suggested there might be a connection. Controversy over his support for an India free from British colonial rule offered another clue. The records of several Government agencies reveal even more about Tagore’s complex relationship with the West, especially the U.S. where he was beloved in some circles and viewed with suspicion by others.

Photographs of Tagore in Paris, circa 1930, are part of a huge collection the United States Information Agency (USIA) acquired from the Paris Bureau of The New York Times. The Prominent Personalities file includes photographs of Tagore (RG 306, National Archives Identifier 2830620).

Photographs from the New York Times Paris Bureau (National Archives Identifier 2830620). Translations of original French captions by volunteer Judy Koucky.

Tagore’s earliest visit to the U.S. in 1912 followed the first publication of his poetry in Chicago’s literary journal Poetry that year. Six “free verses” of his devotional poetry were translated from his work Gitanjali (The Offering of Songs). Many years later, during the 1961 centenary celebrations of Tagore’s birth, President Kennedy quoted a “majestic verse” from Gitanjali that “might serve as today’s universal prayer.” It was included in a draft copy of his letter to be read at the centenary celebrations in New York City. The letter is preserved in USIA’s India: Action Messages, Tagore file. (RG 306, National Archives Identifier 72053874)

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth….

Draft of President Kennedy’s letter for the centenary celebration of Tagore’s birth. (National Archives Identifier 72053874)

During that seven-month visit in 1912, Tagore spent time with his daughter-in-law and son Rathindranath Tagore who was a student at the University of Illinois and an active member of the Urbana Unitarian congregation. Tagore’s regular meetings with local Church members and students, and his famous Harvard lecture series established long-lasting ties with communities in the U.S., where Tagore Societies soon sprung up to study his work.

Finding mention of Tagore in the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service was a surprise. Because of the special relationship between Tagore and the Unitarian Church of Urbana, his interactions with the Church are included in the nomination materials of the Church submitted in 1991 to the National Register of Historic Places (RG 79, National Archives Identifier 28891794). This Church was the first religious center at the University of Illinois to accommodate international students (including Tagore’s son) whose religions were Christian and non-Christian. These attendees became known as the Unity Club. Educators and students in Urbana who drew inspiration from Tagore’s poetry, music, and art, became known as the Tagore Circle.

Between 1912 and 1930, Tagore visited the U.S. five times, traveling from coast to coast and receiving a warm welcome. In 1913, Gitanjali was translated and published in England in its entirety. Being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature that same year propelled Tagore onto the world stage. He literally became a man of the world, traveling, lecturing, and raising funds for the famous, unconventional educational institution he founded 93 miles from Calcutta, Santiniketan (Abode of Peace). Tagore Visits the United States and Tagore and America are two publications that were prepared for the 1961 centenary celebrations in English, Hindi, and Bengali by U.S. Information Services (USIS) as the local overseas posts of USIA were known. (RG 306, National Archives Identifier File 6087550)

Front cover and second page of Tagore Visits the United States, a 1961 USIS publication.
(RG 306, National Archives Identifier File 6087550)

Front cover and pages 10-12 of Tagore and America, a 1961 USIS publication.
(RG 306, National Archives Identifier File 6087550)

Records created by the War Department, Military Intelligence Division between 1918 and 1947, include biographies of leaders, politicians, and significant people such as Tagore. From the undated, typewritten draft, we learn that the close circle of friends referred to Tagore as “spiritual master,” and Mahatma Gandhi as “great soul….”  Tagore’s “Nobel prize money, his royalties…, and the revenue of his estates were all made gifts to this school [Santiniketan].” (RG 165, National Archives Identifier 3431609)

Biography file for Rabindranath Tagore, Records of the War Department (RG 165, National Archives Identifier 3431609)

The publications and multimedia programs created in 1961 for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tagore provide a glimpse into the depth of his popularity and esteem as well as a perspective on U.S. foreign policy. Private organizations across the U.S., like the Asia Societies, Tagore Societies, and university-affiliated literary groups began planning for the centenary activities two years earlier. Faculty and administrators from universities across the country who were members of The Rabindranath Tagore Centenary Committee in America included American University, Georgetown, Howard, Yale, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

During the Cold War, when India was a “non-aligned” country, these centenary activities were embraced by the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) responsible for the public image of the U.S. abroad and the overseas USIS posts. Because of Tagore’s significance to Indians and Pakistanis, the centenary celebrations became fair game for the U.S. to compete with the Communist bloc for “psychological leadership.” The file, India: Action Messages, Tagore can be found in the records of the Department of State (RG 59, National Archives Identifier File 72053874).

Memo concerning the need for the United States to position itself prominently in Tagore’s centenary celebration

Memo concerning the need for the United States to position itself prominently in Tagore’s centenary celebration (National Archives Identifier File 72053874)

Two days of a week-long program commemorating the memory of Tagore sponsored by the Asia Society of New York were recorded by Voice of America (VOA) for distribution overseas. “Robert Frost on Tagore” is part of a treasure trove of VOA audio recordings housed at the National Archives at College Park. (RG 306, National Archives Identifier 122176; 306-EN-J-T-3601) John D. Rockefeller, III, opened the large public meeting by reading letters from Prime Minister Nehru and President Kennedy. Robert Frost then speaks informally, with a sense of humor and deep appreciation for Tagore’s work.

“Robert Frost on Tagore” (306-EN-J-T-3601, National Archives Identifier 122176)

Even during World War I, politics and international intrigue enveloped Tagore when his name became associated with the Hindu-German Conspiracy trials in San Francisco. The British Secret Service uncovered plots in the U.S. by Germans and Indian Nationalists conspiring against British rule in India, which were in violation of the U.S. neutrality laws. National newspapers reported in early 1918 that secret papers purported to show Tagore enlisted the help of Japanese statesmen in establishing an independent India and the plot implicated such luminaries as Tagore.

A handwritten letter and cablegram from Tagore to President Wilson in early May 1918 are preserved in the records of the Department of State. (RG 59, National Archives Identifier File 83577575) Tagore calls for protection against the prosecution counsel’s “lying calumny.” He explains his thinking on patriotism and honesty and assures the President that the hospitality he received in the U.S. “was not bestowed upon one who was ready to accept it while wallowing in the subsoil sewerage of treason.” A letter from the Department of Justice to the Department of State in August 1918, ends with, “When Preston [the prosecution counsel] was on here he told me that Tagore was not in any way implicated in the plot….”

Handwritten letter from Tagore to President Wilson. (RG 59, National Archives Identifier 83832584)

Cablegram from Tagore to President Wilson, and the Department of Justice’s letter to the State Department about the situation (RG 59, National Archives Identifier 83832589)

During World War II, when Paris fell in June 1940, Tagore sent a telegram to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the handwritten draft of which was published in Tagore and America (RG 306, National Archives Identifier File 6087550). It is a plea to the President and the United States.

Today, we stand in awe before the fearfully destructive force that has so suddenly swept the world. Every moment I deplore the smallness of our means and the feebleness of our voice in India so utterly inadequate to stem in the least, the tide of evil that has menaced the permanence of civilization.

All our individual problems of politics to-day have merged into one supreme world politics which, I believe, is seeking the help of the United States of America as the last refuge of the spiritual man, and these few lines of mine merely convey my hope, even if unnecessary, that she will not fail in her mission to stand against this universal disaster that appears so imminent.

Less than two years later, the U.S. entered World War II after Japan bombed the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941.

In 1944, Eleanor Roosevelt mentioned Tagore’s writings in her “My Day” column (available through the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project at The George Washington University, in partnership with the National Archives). “My Day” was a daily column, written in an informal style beginning in 1935, that appeared in approximately 90 newspapers throughout the country. She wrote:

A young woman from India came to see me yesterday, a niece of Tagore, the Indian philosopher and poet. I have always loved his writings and therefore I felt it a privilege to see this young woman, who lived so closely to him in her early youth.

In 2011, the 150th anniversary of Tagore’s birth was marked by the publication of The Essential Tagore, the largest anthology of his work available in English. It was a collaboration between Harvard University Press and Visva-Bharati University.

Many thanks to Netisha Currie, Billy Wade, and Carol Swain for their technical assistance with the records.

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“Separate but Equal” in Photographs

In April 1951, students at Moton High School in Prince Edward County, VA, led by 16-year-old Barbara Johns, went on strike to persuade their local school board to build them a better school. This eventually led to the landmark civil rights case Dorothy E. Davis, et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, et al. – which was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, along with three other school segregation cases, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

Moton High School English 9 Class

Moton High School English 9 Class, available at www.docsteach.org/documents/document/moton-english-class

Schools in Virginia were segregated in 1951, and Moton was typical of the all-black schools in the county. It was built in 1939 to hold half as many students as it did by the early 1950s. Its teachers were paid substantially less than teachers at the nearby white schools. It had no gymnasium, cafeteria, or auditorium with fixed seats like Farmville or Worsham high schools, which were for white students.

The students asked for help from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who filed suit on behalf of the students and their parents against the school district. The first plaintiff listed was Dorothy E. Davis, a 14-year old ninth grader. They asked that the state law requiring segregated schools in Virginia be struck down.

Both the plaintiffs (the students) and the defendants (the Prince Edward County school district) entered several photographs as exhibits in the case. The plaintiffs wanted to demonstrate unequal facilities. The defendants were trying to show that they were providing equal facilities in both black and white schools.

The over 100 photographs were recently digitized and made available in the National Archives Catalog by the staff at the National Archives at Philadelphia. Over 30 of them, showing Moton, Farmville, and Worsham high schools, are now available on DocsTeach.

You can look at the photos submitted by the plaintiffs and ask your students to determine whether the facilities seem “equal,” and why the attorneys for the plaintiffs might have chosen these images in particular.

Exterior views of Moton and Farmville high schools

Moton High School (on the left, for black students) and Farmville High School (for white students),  available at www.docsteach.org/documents/document/moton-exterior & www.docsteach.org/documents/document/farmville-exterior

Home Economics Living Rooms at Moton and Worsham High Schools

Home economics classrooms at Moton High School (on the left, for black students) and Worsham High School (for white students), available at www.docsteach.org/documents/document/moton-home-economics-sewing & www.docsteach.org/documents/document/worsham-home-economics-living


You can then compare the photos submitted by the defendants (the school district) and ask students if these images make the facilities seem equal, and why the attorneys for the defendants would have chosen these.

Auditoriums in Moton and Worsham High Schools

Auditoriums in Moton (on left, for black students) and Worsham (for white students), available at www.docsteach.org/documents/document/moton-auditorium-stage & www.docsteach.org/documents/document/worsham-auditorium


In the spring of 1952, the U.S. District Court decided in favor of the school board and upheld segregation. On appeal, the case made it to the Supreme Court and was decided along with cases from South Carolina, Delaware, and Kansas, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The Brown decision marked the end of the “separate but equal” precedent set nearly 60 years earlier in Plessy v. Ferguson, stating that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal,” and that school segregation violated the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Commonwealth of Virginia, and Prince Edward County in particular, resisted the Supreme Court’s decision. The county closed its public schools from 1959 to 1964 to avoid desegregation.

You can find all 30-plus images of the schools on DocsTeach, and can use the tools available there to create your own online learning activities based on the photographs. You may also wish to use our photograph analysis worksheet to help students analyze the photos.


Sections of this post were adapted from the article: Potter, Lee Ann. “Frontiers in Civil Rights: Dorothy E. Davis, et al. versus County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia.” National History Day Teachers’ Guide: Frontiers in History: People Places, Ideas (2001); 71-75.

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New on DocsTeach: WWI Stories, Google Classroom Integration, Maps, Voting Rights, and More

We’ve been busy adding new primary sources and features to DocsTeach, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives. Here are some recent highlights:

Map of North AmericaMaps from the Moll Atlas – Cartographer Herman Moll worked on “The World Described or, A New and Correct Sett of Maps” from 1707 to 1717. His series took into account all of the known parts of the globe; several maps from the atlas are available.

going over the topPersonal Experiences of World War I – Servicemen wrote these eyewitness accounts after their return from the Western Front. The men were personnel of the Lone Star Division, the 36th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). Learn more about these narratives in our recent blog post.

D.M. Schools Ban Wearing of Viet Truce ArmbandsTinker v. Des Moines – Documents and exhibits from this case, about free speech and a student protest against the Vietnam War, include protest plans, school policy documents, and testimony. You can find other Vietnam War-related primary sources and teaching activities on our special Vietnam War page.

President Lyndon B. Johnson Meeting with Thurgood MarshallVoting Rights – Documents from the LBJ Presidential Library include correspondence and conversations from civil rights leaders, Governor George Wallace, and the White House. Find more primary sources and teaching activities to explore the ways Americans have fought for their rightson our Rights in America page.

Google Classroom iconDocsTeach now integrates with Google Classroom!

If you use Google Classroom with your students, look for the “Share to Google Classroom” button on DocsTeach pages. You can add activities, documents, and folders straight to Google Classroom for your students. And your students can turn in their work via the Google Classroom button! Learn more.

If you don’t use Google Classroom, there are multiple ways to assign and manage activities – via DocsTeach, email, or your LMS.

What treaties should we add?

Sauk and Fox Treaty, 1804Recently, the National Archives embarked on an ongoing project to digitize all 377 “Ratified Indian Treaties” in our holdings. We’ve added several treaties to DocsTeach already. Below is a link to our main online catalog with many more treaties — if you find one that you think your students (and others around the world) would benefit from, comment below, or send us the URL or the “National Archives Identifier” number and we’ll add it.

Ratified Indian Treaties:

After the Revolutionary War, the United States negotiated treaties with the Native Peoples similarly to how they negotiated with foreign governments. This changed over time. In 1831, the Supreme Court case Cherokee Nation v. Georgia changed the status of Native tribes from “independent, sovereign nations” to “domestic dependent nations.” Treaties, however, still followed the pattern of requiring negotiations between the U.S. Government and tribal governments and ratification by Congress. In 1871, Congress passed the Indian Appropriations Act, which suspended all further treaties.

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Personal Experiences of World War I

Today’s post comes from Judy Luis-Watson, manager of volunteer & education programs at the National Archives at College Park.

Written by WWI servicemen after their return from the front, 2,300 narratives in the holdings of the National Archives document the experiences of the Lone Star Division during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Twenty-two boxes of Personal War Experiences were discovered during a volunteer project to preserve these old and often fragile records housed at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland. Included are the personal stories of the men who served in the 132nd and 142nd Machine Gun Battalions, and the 141st, 142nd, and 143rd Infantry Regiments. These narratives were recently digitized and are now searchable in the National Archives Catalog.

These documents can be difficult to read because of the aging and faded records. Most are handwritten on YMCA or Salvation Army note paper or scrap paper. Many are detailed and moving stories; some are peppered with humor, while others are evidence of men struggling to write.

They come from a series called Records of Divisions (National Archives Identifier 301641), from the Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), that includes the service of each combat division during its participation in World War I. Of the 59 Divisions that were formed, with 28,000 personnel in each Division, only the 36th Division – known as the Lone Star Division, formed by men from the Texas and Oklahoma National Guard – contains Personal War Experiences.

The servicemen were asked to write about their experiences presumably to keep them busy. But is it possible that the very act of writing helped them to process often horrific experiences; and their stories might have offered the leadership some insight into the final Allied offensive of WWI.

Private Dave Faris, Co. I, 141st Inf., 36th Div. 1918, 236.33.61

Private Dave Faris, a runner, had 15 minutes to deliver a very important message about an attack. He ran a quarter of a mile through the “enemy’s bursting shells.” His journey back was even more harrowing as he searched for his unit which had started on the attack.

Corporal Harry S. Hovey Co. E, 142nd Inf., 36th Div. 1918, 236.33.61

Corporal Harry S. Hovey’s brief chronology of his unit’s activity gives his first impression of France and of war.

Corporal W. P. B. Otho, Co. L, 141st Inf., 36th Div. 1918, 236.33.61

Corporal W.P.B. Otho dressed the wounds of soldiers and was in the thick of trench warfare for 22 days. With no opportunity for a bath, he wore the same clothes for about 40 days and lived to write about his war experience.

Corporal Eugene S. McLain Co. D, 132nd M.G. Bn., 36th Div. 1918, 236.33.61

Corporal Eugene McLain found parts of the war “exciting.” He was glad he had the experience and was “also glad when it ended. Because honestly it is Hell.”

Captain Clark Owsley Co. B, 142nd Inf. 36th Div., 1918, 236.33.61

Captain Owsley describes his first experience of going over the top, and his different reactions to seeing dead American and enemy soldiers.

Corporal Joe R. Robinson 142nd Inf. Band 36th Div., 1918, 236.33.61

Corporal Joe Robinson, member of the 142nd Infantry Regiment Band, was part of the clean-up crew, picking up U.S. Government property left by soldiers. He only experienced the front when “he was detailed to go get us some pistols,” and then was hit by a “G2 can explosion.”

Find more Personal War Experiences in the National Archives Catalog.

This post was cross-posted on our sister blog, The Text Message Blog. An earlier post related to The Lone Star Division can be found on The Text Message BlogThe Blue Arrowhead.

In our sister blog, The Unwritten Record, the last post in a series by volunteer Jan Hodges featured the art of Harvey Dunn, one of the AEF’s official artists. Excerpts she selected from the Personal War Experiences provide context for the war art and the combination creates documentation of the Meuse-Argon Offensive that is even more powerful and memorable.

Many thanks to the team of dedicated volunteers and staff at the National Archives who worked to preserve and make these WWI records available online!

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The “Write” Stuff at the National Archives on June 2nd

Today’s post comes from education specialist Amber Kraft.

This summer we’re hosting award-winning authors Gennifer Choldenko (author of “Al Capone Does My Shirts”), Christopher Paul Curtis (“Bud, Not Buddy”), Brian Floca (“Moonshot: The Flight Of Apollo 11”) and Jim Murphy (“An American Plague”) for the 2018 “Write” Stuff festival celebrating writing and research.

Visitors looking at books and photographs

Inspiring young authors, parents, teachers, and others are all invited to the festivities at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, on Saturday, June 2.

All activities are free and are designed especially for upper elementary and middle school audiences.

From 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., join us in the McGowan Theater or online for a conversation with all four authors, followed by questions from the audience.

Author panel on stage

Author panel during the 2017 “Write” Stuff festival

From 1:30 – 4:00 p.m., the program moves to the Boeing Learning Center with activities for the whole family! Highlights include:

Discussion with author

Author workshop from the 2017 “Write” Stuff festival

  • Meeting one-on-one with the award-winning authors
  • Discovering how research can impact stories
  • Enjoying hands-on activities
  • Exploring authors’ work and getting your book copies signed
  • Engaging with DC Public Library and National Archives staff members

Tell your students, fellow educators, librarians, and friends — and bring your family to the “Write” Stuff festival. To find out more about the day, read author bios, or reserve a seat for the morning author conversation, visit www.archivesfoundation.org/the-write-stuff.

Download the flyer and bookmarks:

Write Stuff Flyer Write Stuff Bookmarks

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Summer Professional Development Around the National Archives


This summer, join us for one of our professional development workshops for educators.

Professional Development Webinars

Visit the National Archives without leaving your school or home! Our interactive webinars feature resources and strategies for bringing primary sources into your classroom:

  • An Introduction to DocsTeach.org and Online Resources from the National Archives, August 13 & 17
  • Preview of 2018 Distance Learning Programs for Students, August 13 & 17
  • Women’s Voices in the Records of Congress, August 15
  • Teaching the Constitution with Political Cartoons, September 5

Find program details and registration links in our Upcoming Professional Development Webinars post.

Native American Professional Development Series Webinars

Programs in our Native American professional development series feature new resources for locating and using Federal records related to American Indians and Alaska Natives:

  • New American Indian & Alaska Native Resources and Programs, May 17
  • Bringing Native Voices into the Non-Native Classroom, June 14
  • The Making of American Indian Treaties (rescheduled to November 1)
  • And more programs throughout the year

Find more information about each webinar and register on our Professional Development Webinars page.

Social Justice: On the Field and in the Classroom

LBJ Presidential Library
Austin, Texas
June 25 – 27

During this three-day educator institute, we will examine the relationship between organized sports, education, and the on-going fight for social justice in American society. Through lectures and conversations with experts in the fields of education, sociology, sports, history, and law, educators will be able to explore social justice movements as they relate to their curriculum as well as their students’ lives. This workshop is being presented in conjunction with a temporary exhibit at the LBJ Presidential Library, Get In The Game: The Fight for Equality in American Sports. The exhibition highlights the significance and contributions of minority athletes to the fight for social justice in American society from the late nineteenth century until the present day.

Learn more and register.

National History Day Teacher Institute

National Archives
Washington, DC
June 26 – 28

Learn about resources and primary sources available from the National Archives for teaching and guiding students working on National History Day projects. The institute will take place from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day. To register, email missy.mcnatt@nara.gov with subject line “DC NHD Institute.”

American Studies Summer Institute: Memory Matters: Constructing America’s Past

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Boston, MA
July 9 – 20

This intensive two-week program, co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston American Studies Department and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, includes thought-provoking lectures and discussions led by distinguished scholars and guests. We will explore how America’s past has been defined and redefined by a range of agents – from memorials, museums, monuments, and other tourist sites, to textbooks, family stories, communal observances, and popular culture.

Register and learn more.

Primary Sources and Project-Based Learning: A Hybrid Summer Institute

The National Archives at College Park
College Park, MD
July 23 – 27

K-12 educators working in Maryland schools are invited to a hands-on research experience. Participants will spend three days at the National Archives in College Park, and will participate remotely for two days. Choose a research topic and explore primary sources from the Library of Congress and the National Archives. Work with electronic resources, learn about the National History Day 2019 theme, and complete your own mini research project to take back to your classroom. Funded by a grant from the Library of Congress to Maryland Humanities.

THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL Register and learn more. Updated 4/2/18

Clinton Presidential Library Workshops Available Upon Request

Clinton Presidential Library
Little Rock, Arkansas

“What is a Presidential Library?”
Participants will learn about the resources available through the National Archives and the Presidential Libraries, including programming available for students at the Clinton Presidential Library. A tour of the museum exhibits is included in the workshop.
Credit: 3 hours professional development credit

President Clinton and Arkansas
President Clinton’s Arkansas childhood is explored through a primary source analysis activity. Artifacts and photographs are compared to excerpts from his autobiography, “My Life.”
Credit: 2 hours Arkansas History professional development credit

To request a workshop, email education specialist Kathleen Pate at kathleen.pate@nara.gov or call 501-244-2704. The Clinton Presidential Library is an Arkansas Department of Education approved provider.

[Post updated with new webinar information July 18, 2018]

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Focus on Reconstruction: New Teaching Activities

Today’s post comes from social studies teacher Andrew Zetts, who was an education intern at the National Archives at Philadelphia during the summer of 2017.

As a United States history teacher whose curriculum covers Reconstruction to the present day, I often find myself fumbling and rushing through the years of history immediately following the Civil War. The beginning of any school year is hectic—there are seating arrangements to fuss over, new names to learn, and the daunting task of quickly making a dent in the enormous curriculum—and I often struggle to give the Reconstruction unit its due diligence.1

Sumner Civil Rights Bill

Excerpt from the Sumner Civil Rights Bill that became the Civil Right Act of 1875

But during my summer internship with the National Archives in Philadelphia, I was able to rediscover the importance of this period of American history and reconfigure it as a cornerstone in my approach to teaching my entire United States history curriculum.

Delving deeply into Reconstruction with my U.S. history classes this school year allowed me to introduce the mechanisms of government that influenced the tension between continuity and change in the United States for years to come. With debates over equal citizenship, reconfigurations of constitutional boundaries, and the agency of citizens exercised in public and private arenas, my Reconstruction unit now allows my students to see more accurately how history unfolds and how some debates in our history have recurred in every generation.

A major part of the change in my perception of Reconstruction came from the time I spent reading through primary source documents made available on the National Archives’ online teaching resource, DocsTeach. The sources I accessed on DocsTeach provided me with countless historical voices I could use to create activities for my students. By the end of my summer internship, I made three activities on DocsTeach which are all related to Reconstruction and are now available for you to use!

Navigating the Rails

Students engage with the intersection of race and gender in this activity. It follows Lola Houck, an African American woman from Texas, who was brutally harassed on the railroad when trying to visit her family. By interacting with her court testimony, students are enlightened about the different racial and gender norms that someone like Lola Houck had to be mindful of as she engaged in the post-War South.

Navigating the Rails Screen Shot

Enforcing Civil Rights Legislation During Reconstruction

Screen Shot from Enforcing Civil Rights Legislation During Reconstruction

This activity has students evaluate the hope and frustrations that Reconstruction carried with it. Students read the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which provided African American citizens the ability to take businesses to federal court if they were denied services based on their race. Students then see how this legislation impacted Fields Cook, an African American minister visiting Philadelphia. In the end, students see how courts’ different interpretations of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 impacted how the law was enforced.

Reconstruction and the Constitution

Screen Shot from Reconstruction and the ConstitutionThe primary focus of this activity is for students to review the sequence and significance of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. It also has students consider the male-centricity of the amendments from the Reconstruction Era by having them read a proposal for a Sixteenth Amendment that will provide women with the right to vote.

The beauty of DocsTeach is that if you would like to use any of these activities, you can — and you can also modify them to fit your class’s particular needs.

Two sources that helped me in recognizing and articulating this problem were Ric Doringo’s “We Need the Lessons of Reconstruction” and Hannah Rosen’s “Teaching Race and Reconstruction.”

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“The Struggle for Voting Rights” Workshop on February 21

If you’re in the Austin, Texas, area, join us at the LBJ Presidential Library for an engaging one-day teacher workshop: “The Struggle for Voting Rights: From the 15th Amendment to Today.” The workshop will take place on Wednesday, February 21st from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., and focuses on the history of minority voting rights in the United States.

Register online. The workshop is free for current classroom teachers.

Voter Registration Drive

Voter Registration Drive, 9/1973. From the Records of the Environmental Protection Agency. www.docsteach.org/documents/document/voter-registration-drive

Engage with subject matter experts on the past and present struggle for the right to vote. Create interactive lessons using primary sources with DocsTeach.org, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives. And leave with lesson plans and resources for the classroom provided by the LBJ Library.


  • 8:30-9 a.m. – Welcome and breakfast
  • 9-10:30 a.m. – Dr. Dwight D. Watson, Associate Professor of History, Texas State University
  • 10:45 a.m.-noon – Dr. Peniel Joseph, Professor of Public Affairs, Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values, and founder of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin
  • 12-12:45 p.m. – Lunch
  • 12:45-1 p.m. -LBJ Library resources for educators
  • 1-3:30 p.m. – Using Primary Sources with DocsTeach and the National Archives

Please bring your own device (preferably a laptop) for the DocsTeach session. TEA-approved Continuing Professional Education hours will be received upon completion.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Registration is required. Sign up online.

For more information or questions, contact the education department at education@lbjlibrary.org.

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American Indian Boarding School Workshop on January 29

If you’re in the New York City area, join us for the workshop “American Indian Boarding School Experience” on Monday, January 29th from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York.

Chiracahua Apache Students at Carlisle Indian School

Registration is required: www.facinghistory.org/calendar/pe2018ny1-smithsonian-institute-national-museum-american-american-indian-boarding-school

What is the legacy and impact of American Indian boarding schools?

Join the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, Facing History and Ourselves, the National Archives at New York, and Dr. Lori Quigley (Seneca Nation, Wolf Clan) to investigate the history and multi-generational legacy of two all-Indian boarding schools: Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania and Thomas Indian School in New York. We will consider the complex issues of identity, particularly the differences between how a group defines itself compared to how others perceive it.

Gain a deeper understanding as Dr. Quigley shares her research, scholarship, and personal narratives on multi-generational and historical trauma from her family’s boarding school experiences at Thomas Indian School, Cattaraugus Territory, Seneca Nation.

Coffee, breakfast, lunch, and a free copy of the book Stolen Lives is included with the $10 registration.

Images above:

Chiracahua Apaches Arriving at the Carlisle Indian School, 1886, From the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (available at https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/chiracahua-apache-arriving-carlisle)

Chiracahua Apache Indians After Training at the Carlisle Indian School, 1886, From the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (available at https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/chiracahua-apache-at-carlisle)

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