History Lounge

Uncovering sources from the past

The Other Gig Economy

William Bennett, “View of South Street, from Maiden Lane, New York City,” ca. 1827, courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art

A half century ago, the industrial economy of the United States appeared to bring with it prosperity and job stability. While some Americans were undoubtedly denied access to the growing middle-class, increasing numbers of men and women in the postwar era enjoyed economic security and new consumer comforts. Today there’s great concern over the economy, however. The good...

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Whose Civil Rights Movement?

Marchers With Signs At The March On Washington, 1963
March on Washington, 1963. U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection. Wikimedia Commons.

Most of your students have probably heard of 1963's March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous "I Have a Dream Speech." But they're probably not aware of the differences and disagreements within the Civil Rights Movement that shaped what was said and what wasn't said by the leaders of the movement on the Washington Mall that August.

598px John Lewis 1964 04 16
One of those who...

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The Great Train Robbery

The Great Train Robbery 0018
Screenshot from The Great Train Robbery (1903) Wikimedia Commons

I'm a historian of the American film industry, so I always enjoy introducing students to the history of film. I'm of the opinion that doing so requires more than just showing students old movies, or articulating how media technology has progressed over time. It requires encouraging students to think about what it would have been like to live in a time before media saturated our daily lives. And in doing this, you will impress...

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My Dinner with Franklin and Winston

Louis Adamic
Louis Adamic courtesy Wikimedia

On the web, it's common for American history instructors and educators to find and share short primary sources, ones that are brief enough that they don't take more than five or ten minutes for students to read. But to my mind, it's also worth considering longer primary sources. These sources can be assigned as reading for homework, or they can excerpted for in-class activities. Instead of assigning a scholarly monograph, consider a long primary source...

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The First Civil Right?

ImageSome political advertisements are fairly straightforward. Lyndon Johnson's famous "Daisy" ad, for example, was clearly making use of anxiety about nuclear war to scare Americans away from voting for Barry Goldwater in 1964. You can view the advertisement on Living Room Candidate, a great web resource for televisual political ads. Living Room Candidate includes ads from the birth of television to the present.

Other ads are more complex than the "Daisy" ad. Consider another advertisement on ...

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Narratives from the Great Depression

1200px Scott's Run, West Virginia. Children Of Employed Miner At Sessa Hill Ewra Hennar's Children. Nara 518368
(Image: Federal Works Agency. Work Projects Administration. National Research Project. (ca. 1941 - ca. 1942) "Scott's Run, West Virginia. Children of employed miner at Sessa Hill - Ewra Hennar's children," 1936 - 1937, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Studying the Great Depression presents great opportunities for exploring social history, because of all of the interviews that were conducted by the federal government during this period. The Library of Congress offers easy access to...

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Looking East from the M'ikmaq Nation

1024px Miqmaq Canoe Fundy Desbarres

(Image: J.F.W. Desbarres, "Grand Passage in the Bay Fundy on the Western Shore of Nova Scotia," c. 1770, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Primary sources allow students to see the world through other people's eyes, and sometimes, you hope, this might make their own customs, norms, and beliefs seem worth questioning. Rarely does a source accomplish this so explicitly, and perhaps acerbically, as this document from George Mason University's Many Pasts project, a great resource for primary...

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Welcome to the History Lounge

History Lounge

Greetings from Asheville, and welcome to the Soomo Learning History Lounge. On this blog, I'll be sharing my favorite American history-related finds from across the internet. But first, I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself.

I'm Andy, Soomo's development editor for all things history-related. I also provide support to all the instructors that use our American history webtexts. I received my PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2014, and after spending 7 years in the wonderful but frigid city of Minneapolis, it didn't take much convincing to join the team at Soomo Learning in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.

Continue to full blog post for more on teaching with primary sources.
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