This page presents a selected list of high quality websites to find primary sources and to learn about and especially to teach American history.
To guide you in finding other resources, check out the Evaluating Internet Resources page.
This website includes teaching materials, ideas for teaching history thinking skills with primary sources, links to quality history websites, lesson plans, information on research about teaching and learning history, and much more. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History (TAH) program, and developed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, teachinghistory.org serves as a national history education clearinghouse (its previous name). The site is designed to help K-12 history teachers access resources and materials to improve U.S. history education in the classroom.
American Memory at the Library of Congress
American Memory is an online archive of over 100 collections of rare and unique items important to the history of the United States. The collections come from the Library of Congress and contain more than 7 million primary source documents, photographs, films, and recordings that reflect the collective American memory. Users can search the site by time period, place, material format, digital format, and keyword. Each image is accompanied by basic information including author/creator, date, title, brief summery, etc. American Memory also provides a Learning Page specifically for teachers. The Learning Page contains lesson plans, information on professional development, bulletin boards, and many other features.
This site allows users to search and view newspaper pages from 1836-1922 from 22 states and the District of Columbia. The collection includes 3.14 million pages from 414 titles, including Ohio newspapers such as the Stark County Democrat, the Perrysburg Journal, the Democratic Banner of Mount Vernon, the News-Herald of Hillsboro and the Democrat-Sentinel of Logan.
There are numerous search options. Users can search specific newspapers by date or by key word or phrase. Or they can search all newspapers, or papers from Ohio, or from another state, by date or by key word or phrase. They can also browse the available run of a particular newspaper.
The project is a great resource to give students easy access to these interesting sources of the past.
The National Archives
The National Archives is where federal government records are kept. Many important documents are available on-line. See Charters of Freedom, Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents of American History, and America's Historic Documents. And search the site for many more documents, photographs, and other materials.
To use these and other primary sources in your classroom, go to the Teaching with Documents page. Here you will find links to worksheets that guide students through the analysis of a variety of primary sources, including written documents, maps, photographs, cartoons, artifacts, motion pictures, and music. You will also find lesson plans here that include reproducible copies of primary documents from the holdings of the Archives, teaching activities, and cross curricular connections—several of which relate to the core themes of Connecting to the Past.
The digital outreach portal of Ohio State’s Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching, eHistory features a collection of primary sources (including the well-regarded "Official Records of the Civil War") and collections of historic maps and images. eHistory also features multimedia histories, such as on-line exhibitions, videos and interactive sites.
This website has over 75,000 primary sources from 330 archives, historical societies, libraries, and museums that document Ohio’s past from prehistory to the present.
A collection of images from the Ohio History Connection Collections.
The companion website to the Eltis and Richardson Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The database has information about almost 35,000 slave voyages. It offers researches, students, and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history with maps, a searchable database, and the ability to create charts and graphs from selected parts of the data. The site also includes lesson plans for classroom use.
Records of slavery are presents on this web site from the Virginia Historical Society. Specifically focused on records that contain the names of slaves, the records include high quality images of various primary sources: account books, bills of sale, court records, church records, broadsides, and many more. Users can search by record type, name of slave, name of owner, gender, location, and many more. Excellent access to primary sources. While some are printed—such as broadsides—most are handwritten and no transcriptions are available. Still, with some work, every teacher can find something here that will make the history of slavery more real to students.
EdSITEment at the National Endowment for the Humanities
This site is a collection of web resources for the humanities. The intent is to provide teachers with a listing of resources for the classroom. There are four categories to choose from (Art & Culture, Language & Literature, History & Social Studies, and Foreign Languages). Each category lists both lesson plans and web sites.
Teaching with Historic Places
This program of the National Park Service uses properties listed in the Park Service's National Register of Historic Places to enliven history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects. TwHP has created a variety of products and activities that help teachers bring historic places into the classroom.
A collection of on-line documents assembled by scholars at Yale Unvieristy Law School. The collection consists primarily of official records and documents from Mediveal times to the 20th century. Rich in classic American history documents. The website design and formatting is basic, which makes it very easy to navigate.
The complete, one stop shop for the primary source history of the American presidency. Sponsored by the University of California, Santa Barbara, the site contains the text of all presidential Inaugural Addresses, State of the Union Messages, plus Public Papers of the Presidents, and election maps. Video and audio of presidents is availible from Hoover to the present.
Ohio History Resources
Links to the websites of historical museums, historic sites, and libraries across Ohio compiled by the Ohio Historical Society.