For each issue, Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) partners submit summaries of and links to online resources—articles, research reports, Web sites, and white papers—that provide research and current thinking relating to the theme. This issue's Research & Current Thinking focuses on helping teachers use primary sources to teach about the Civil War across disciplines.
The Civil War
Developed by the National Park Service in celebration of the war’s 150th anniversary, this website provides information on Civil War-related national parks, a Civil War timeline, commemorative events, and other educational resources.
The Civil War: In the Classroom
PBS created this website of educational resources to accompany its landmark nine-part series, The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns. Teachers can access primary sources, learning activities, discussion questions, video excerpts, timelines, bibliographies, and guides to the documentary’s episodes, all for classroom use.
A Civil War Soldier’s Everyday Life
This website offers many Civil War-era primary sources from the Library of Congress, organized by battle, as well as historical content, an all-learner curriculum for reading printed texts and a bibliography.
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
This searchable database, maintained by the National Park Service, contains information from over six million Confederate and Union records housed at the National Archives. The website includes three sections: “Education” offers information on using the database and creating family trees, curriculum materials and Civil War-related National Parks; “New Stories” features essays on the war’s social, economic, political, and military aspects, and; “Black History” provides background information on African Americans who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.
Civil War Trust
The Civil War Trust’s website’s “Education” section provide resources for both students and teachers, including essays, lesson plans, glossary, interactive features, and primary sources. Information is also available about the Trust’s annual conferences and teacher institutes that explore Civil War topics in multi-disciplinary ways.
The Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History: The Civil War Era
Dedicated to creating programs and resources for K-12 teachers of American History, this non-profit organization’s website offers curriculum modules on the topics of slavery, the coming of the Civil War, the Civil War and Reconstruction. The modules contain resources such as primary sources, learning tools and podcasts.
History Blueprint: Civil War Unit
This Civil War unit “combines historical investigation, carefully selected primary sources, activities to strengthen reading and writing, and practice evaluating arguments based on historical evidence.” It is aligned with the Literacy in History/Social Studies section of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.
Shades of Gray and Blue
This website is a collaborative project designed to tell personal stories of the Civil War in Tennessee through art and artifacts. It explores several themes, including “Holding Fast to Beauty,” “Making Music,” and “Building a Future,” using different types of sources to reach across disciplinary boundaries and look at the Civil War from different perspectives.
The Valley of the Shadow
The Virginia Center for Digital History and the University of Virginia have partnered for this project, which follows the stories of two communities through the eve of the Civil War, the war years, and the aftermath. Stories are told through a wide variety of sources such as maps, diaries, records, newspapers, and photographs, with all print sources digitally transcribed.
With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition
This Library of Congress exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln features primary sources around the themes of Lincoln’s rise to national prominence, his presidency, and the assassination. A special “Learn More” section highlights related exhibitions, Webcasts, a brief bibliography, and resources for teachers.