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We welcomed teachers to Atlanta for our Primarily Teaching summer institute from July 21–25. They explored the topic “FDR and the Tennessee Valley Authority: The Controversy of Progress”—a case study within the broader Leadership and Legacy in History theme across all of our workshops this summer.

Transmission Lines and Tower, with Cows in Foreground

Photograph of Newly Built Transmission Lines, from the Records of the Tennessee Valley Authority

Participants researched in the original records of the Tennessee Valley Authority, held in the National Archives at Atlanta. The records there document the story of the TVA, one of the first New Deal agencies, from its enactment to modern activities. The Primarily Teaching educators identified primary sources suitable for classroom use, that we then scanned and posted online.

Their efforts doubled our collection of TVA-related documents on DocsTeach.org!

photographs of dwellings before and after relocation.

Some documents described family relocations as a result of the TVA’s work, including photographs of dwellings before and after relocation.

The National Archives at Atlanta will further the study of the Tennessee Valley Authority records through their symposium, Valley of the Dams: The Impact & Legacy of the Tennessee Valley Authority, on Saturday, September 20, 2014. Check out their online exhibit, including a sampling of the TVA records demonstrating accomplishments, controversies, and progress through documents, maps, drawings, and photographs.

It’s been a great summer! We have over 130 newly digitized documents on DocsTeach.org, thanks to teachers in our Primarily Teaching summer institutes!

 

Primarily Teaching is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives, through the support of Texas Instruments.



Last week, educators visited the National Archives at Boston to explore and examine primary sources related to desegregating Boston Public Schools. It was part of our annual Primarily Teaching summer institute.

Educators At Primarily Teaching

Educators Attending Primarily Teaching in Boston, with Education Specialist Annie Davis

These educators-turned-digitization scholars identified classroom-appropriate documents from the 1970s civil action court case Tallulah Morgan et al. v. James W. Hennigan et al. As a result of their work, teachers, students, and anyone interested in Civil Rights can now investigate 30 documents from this important case—online for the first time!

Western Union Mailgram Document

Western Union Mailgram Urging Intervention by U.S. Marshalls on DocsTeach

In 1972, parents of African American children brought a class action lawsuit alleging that the Boston School Committee violated the 14th Amendment with a deliberate policy of racial segregation. The judge found that Boston schools had intentionally carried out a program of segregation and ordered the School Committee to formulate a desegregation plan. When the committee failed to present an adequate plan, the court assumed an active role and oversaw implementation of court-ordered desegregation in Boston public schools.

Staff at the National Archives at Boston scanned these finds and we’ve loaded them all onto DocsTeach.org so that they can be used in online student activities. See them all on DocsTeach!

Individual Teachers Working at Primarily Teaching in Boston

Boston is one of four Primarily Teaching locations this summer. All of the workshops fit within the national theme of “Leadership and Legacy in History,” matching that of National History Day in 2015. Educators at each location are exploring a specific case study, with original documents in our archival holdings, that fits within this broader theme.

The National Archives at Atlanta also held the Primarily Teaching summer institute for teachers last week. We’ll report on their findings next week!

 

Primarily Teaching is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives, through the support of Texas Instruments.



Educators from around the country participated in our Primarily Teaching summer institute in Washington, DC, last week. They explored documents in the holdings of the National Archives that were created or received by immigration and naturalization officials from the late 1800s through the early 1900s.

Primarily Teaching DC 2014 Participants

Educators Participating in Primarily Teaching, with National Archives Staff and Interns, in the Boeing Learning Center at the National Archives

Postcards to the President urging strict immigration laws

These 1911 postcards were pre-addressed to the President so that supporters only had to fill in their name and address. The message urges strict immigration laws against the “foreign hordes.”

The teachers found and described over 50 documents relating to operations at Ellis Island, public opinion about immigration, and immigration policy reforms.

We scanned and loaded them all onto DocsTeach, our online tool for teaching with documents, so that they can be used in interactive activities for students. See them all on DocsTeach!

Washington, DC, is just one of four Primarily Teaching locations this summer. All of the workshops fit within the national theme of “Leadership and Legacy in History,” matching that of National History Day in 2015. Educators at each location are exploring a specific case study, with original documents in our archival holdings, that fits within this broader theme.

Photograph of three Italian men

This photograph was included with a letter explaining that these three Italian men were were excluded from entry and deported because they had been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude.

Primarily Teaching is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives, through the support of Texas Instruments.



Our Primarily Teaching summer institute wrapped up in Chicago less than two weeks ago. The educators in attendance became digitization scholars as they hunted for “teachable” primary sources in holdings of the National Archives at Chicago. Teachers Attending Primarily Teaching in Chicago, 2014

The teachers identified and described over 30 documents related to the topic “Chicago: Journey for Civil Rights in the Midwest.” Mostly from the 1960s and 70s, these documents come from the Records of District Courts of the United States.

Chicago is one of four Primarily Teaching locations this summer. All of the workshops fit within the national theme of “Leadership and Legacy in History,” matching that of National History Day in 2015. Educators at each location are exploring a specific case study, with original documents in our archival holdings, that fits within this broader theme.

We scanned and loaded the finds from Chicago onto our DocsTeach site so that they can be used in interactive online activities for students. You can find them all on DocsTeach!

Teachers doing research at Primarily Teaching in Chicago, 2014

Primarily Teaching is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives, through the support of Texas Instruments.



When most Americans think about U.S. Customs today, they probably imagine answering questions at the airport or at border crossings about their stay in a foreign country. While that is one of its major roles, Customs has also played a major role in the growth and development of the United States—collecting tariffs (or taxes) on imports.

An Act for Laying a Duty on Goods, Wares, and Merchandises imported into the United States

An Act for Laying a Duty on Goods, Wares, and Merchandises imported into the United States, 7/4/1789

Raising money was so important to the early Federal government that the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Acts of the First Congress dealt with setting up the Customs Bureau. From 1789 until the passage of the 16th Amendment (income tax amendment) to the U.S. Constitution in 1913, tariffs collected by Customs were a major source of federal revenue. Tariffs helped support the growth and development of our nation. Tariffs also allowed the U.S. industries to grow by encouraging Americans to purchase from domestic companies by raising the price of foreign goods.

The tariff was administered in dozens of Custom Houses across the country. One of these locations, the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan, is now home to the National Archives at New York City.

Aerial view of the tip of Manhattan, 1942 (modified)

Aerial view of the tip of Manhattan, 1942 (modified)

Alexander Hamilton US Custom House, home of the National Archives at New York City

Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, home of the National Archives at New York City

Completed in 1907 by architect Cass Gilbert, the U.S. Custom House is a monument to international trade and the United States government. Statues representing the Asia, America, Europe and Africa decorate the exterior façade. Carved within the capital of each column is the face of Mercury, Roman god of commerce. On the interior, the grand rotunda is surrounded by large murals depicting ships entering the Port of New York. These murals were completed in 1937 as part of a New Deal program.

Rotunda of the U.S. Custom House in New York City, 1937

Rotunda of the U.S. Custom House in New York City, 1937

At the time of its construction, the Port of New York was the busiest port in the United States accounting for the majority of customs revenue. Though the Custom House cost over $7 million to build (approximately $175 million in 2013 dollars), the revenue collected at the Port of New York covered that amount in less than a month. U.S. Customs abandoned the Custom House building in the early 1970s for modern facility located at 6 World Trade Center. The Custom House at One Bowling Green stood empty for over a decade as some proposals called for the building to be torn down. The Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian moved into the Custom House in 1987 and 1994 respectively. The Custom House became home to National Archives at New York City in February 2013.

Now through October, visitors to the Welcome Center can see an early Customs record in our New York on the Record gallery. The Brig Persis sailed into New York Harbor on August 5, 1789 carrying various goods destined for merchant William Seton. He would pay a fee of $774.71 to import these goods. This payment would be the first Customs duty ever collected by the United States government.

New York Vessel Arrivals, August 1789- March 1795

New York Vessel Arrivals,
August 1789- March 1795

 The Center for Legislative Archives is marking the 225th Anniversary of the First Congress by sharing documents from this formative time via Tumblr, Twitter, and Education Updates. Follow #Congress225 for more documents you can use in your classroom.

Visitors can see the volume of New York Vessel Arrivals in the New York on the Record gallery in the Welcome Center of the National Archives at New York City.  It is located on the 3rd floor of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at 1 Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan.

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