Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > News and Events > Past Events > 2008 > Summer Institute


the Dome of the Library of Congress

Summer Institute: Analyzing Images and Documents
This workshop explores ways to think about the use of primary source images and documents in teaching about immigration. After general discourse, participants will concentrate on recurring themes immigrants to the United States have experienced through the country’s historical eras. Participants will analyze documents, share their findings with the whole group, and discuss possible classroom applications.

Explore the Institute Resources

Workshop Framework

Introduce the workshop and set the stage (5 minutes)
The task, the materials, strategies for analysis and interpretation.  The goal—opportunity for close reading of materials available online and to share thinking about classroom/school assignment applications in using such materials, regardless of the historical theme.

Jigsaw Image/Document analysis activity (35 minutes)
Participants are subdivided into two or three groups. Each group will be given document analysis recording forms and chart paper to record group responses. Groups are given magnifying glasses and sets of “white gloves” to provide an “authentic” experience that they can replicate with their own students.

Part I — Individual analysis  (10 minutes)

  1. Each group is given a different set of materials that consist of 2 – 6 images/documents loosely assembled around an undisclosed “theme.”
  2. Participants will carefully observe each item in their set, individually, and will use a primary source analysis tool (PDF) to record observations.
  3. The group will pass the items around until all have seen and “analyzed” several of them.

Part II — Small group analysis (10 minutes)

  1. The group will compare and combine their individual observations.
  2. The group will consider all the items in their set, collectively, and will see if they can discover a unifying theme or topic that the items illustrate.
  3. Groups will organize themselves so that someone is responsible for recording and someone will be responsible for sharing their discussion.
  4. Teacher/facilitator circulates and provides observations and prompts as needed.

Part III — Jigsaw sharing (15 minutes)

  1. Each group will share their documents and observations/findings.
  2. “Audience group” will question and comment.
  3. Teacher/facilitator will also comment and prompt, as appropriate to steer towards how they can use these activities/ideas in their schools with their students.


Workshop Resources

(Note: A plus sign denotes “facsimile” materials that will be used in the exercise, other links represent additional resources on the theme)

Life in America(education, work, citizenship)

+ Making neckties in the kitchen of Mrs. Rothenberg, 170 Allen St., N.Y., Room 15. Back of the camera was the little inner bed-room shown in photo 2876[A] in which the father works at his machine. The eleven year old girl and thirteen year old boy work on the ties every day after school. It is exceptional to find Jewish children doing home-work. The mother on the right works steadily. Girl and woman in middle distance come here from their home on another street every day, as does a woman across the hall on this floor.
Location: New York, New York (State), 1912 February.
Artificial flower making at  8 cents a gross. Youngest child working is 5 years old.
Location: New York, New York (State), 1908 January.
A typical view of Carmina Caruso, a ten year old Home Worker as she walks around crocheting as she goes. See also other photos of her and Home Work report. Location: Somerville, Massachusetts, 1912 August.

Only 5 pupils present out of about 40 expected when beet work is over. School #1, Dist. 3, Ft. Morgan, Colo. Oct. 26/15, over five weeks after school opened. The poor attendance in all these schools is due, almost entirely to beet work. Location: Fort Morgan, Colorado / Photo by Hine, 1915 October 26.

A case of "Economic Need." Jacob Roomel [i.e., Rommel?] and his family live in this roomy shack, well-furnished, with a good range, organ, etc. They own a good home in Ft. Collins, but late in April they moved out here, taking contract for nearly 40 acres of beets, working their 9 and 10 yr. old girls hard at piling and topping (altho[ugh] they are not rugged) and they will not return until November. The little girl said, "Piling is hardest, it gets your back. I have cut myself some, topping." The older girl said, "Don't you call us Russians, we're Germans," (although they were most of them were born in Russia). Family been in this country eleven yrs. (See photo 4041.) Location: Ft. Collins [vicinity], Colorado / Photo by Hine, Oct. 30/15.


National Child Labor Committee report – Child Labor in the Canning Industry of Maryland. Lewis W. Hine, July 1909.

Marie and Albert Kawalski. 615 S. Band St., Baltimore, Md. Albert is 10 and Marie 11 years old. They worked, with mother, last winter, shucking oysters for Varn & Beard Packing Co., Young Island, S.C. (near Charleston). Mrs. Kawalski did not have things represented to her correctly and she found that all the children that had fare paid were compelled to work for the company. Other smaller children worked some and went to school some. Maire and Albert have worked several summers in the berry, beans and tomato fields packing houses near Baltimore. (see my report, July 10, for further [particulars]). Location: Baltimore, Maryland, 1909 July.

Free classes in English! Learn to speak, read, & write the language of your children. [...] Special classes for educated foreign born, N.Y.C. : Federal Art Project, [between 1936 and 1941]

[Shoe Machinery Worker, Beverly #1] Interview with Roland Damiani. (M. R. Lovett) 2/15/39.
(pp. 1, 2)

+[email protected](amrlgs+ua1))
The united American magazine of good citizenship : selected issue from 1925, Vol. 4, No. 3: 1-28 (Dec). (pp. 6, 12)
O'Connell's call and Pat's reply. 1843.

School in the home. 1920
THE FRENCH-CANADIAN TEXTILE WORKER, New Hampshire Federal Writers' Project
#1801, Subject: Living Lore, reporting on the 1880s.
(pp. 13, 19)
Miss Mari Tomasi DATE: AUG 23 1940 {Begin handwritten}"Men Against Granite"{End handwritten}. A BARRE FAMILY


Attitudes Toward Immigrants

Examiner's questions for admittance to the American (or Know-Nothing) Party, July 1854.
(American Party Collection)[email protected](mcc/066))
Letter, California vigilante committee to John Stephens, 5 September 1856.
(Isaac D. Bluxome Collection)

The Propagation Society. More free than welcome. N.Y. : For sale [by Nathaniel Currier] at no. 2 Spruce St., c1855.

American citizens! We appeal to you in all calmness. Is it not time to pause? [ . . . ] A paper entitled the American patriot. 1852.

The great fear of the period That Uncle Sam may be swallowed by foreigners : The problem solved. San Francisco : White & Bauer, [between 1860 and 1869]

+[email protected](chs1079))
Evidence of Public Opinion on the Pacific Coast In Favor of Chinese Immigration.: From Miscellaneous Selections : Anti-Chinese Movement & Chinese Exclusion, 1879.[email protected](chs1160))
In the Supreme Court of the United States: Chae Chan Ping vs. The United States: From Miscellaneous Selections : Anti-Chinese Movement & Chinese Exclusion, 1888.

Which color is to be tabooed next? / Th. Nast, 1882.

Where the blame lies / Hamilton. New York : Sackett & Wilhelms Litho. Co., 1891 April 4.

Albert Edward Wiggam : "The Apostle of Efficiency". Eugenics, Heredity.

+[email protected](o4126))
Our Assimilation of Immigration [from newspaper]. Cleveland Journal 03, no. 47 (02/03/1906): 02.

The Argentines, the Portuguese and the Greeks (Historic American Sheet Music)


Culture: Traditions, Assimilation and Multiculturalism

 "The treasure" by David Pinsky, directed by Adolph Freeman. [California : Federal Art Project, between 1936 and 1941].

Irene Farias, who was queen of the Saint Jude Society of San Lorenzo, and her maids visit the Holy Ghost Festival at Novato, California. Miss Farias' mother was born in Portugal, her father in Honolulu, 1942 May.

In the parade of the Festival of the Holy Ghost, Novato, California, 1942 May.

24tes grosses baverisches volks-fest, New York, Sulzer's Harlem River Park / A. Reimherr des. ; Payn Engraving Company, New York : Druck von Voelcker Brothers, 1897.

 [Jews praying on Williamsburg Bridge, New York City, on New Year's Day], 1909.

Peddlers - shoe shine. Sept. 13, 1911

Front exterior of Mohammadia Islamic Association, including sign, 1994-09-15.

 Libertad / Ester Hernandez, c[19]76.
THE SWEDES  Mens sana in corpore sano With a flower in the working man's buttonhole. 

[Greek Mother] N. H. Federal Writers' Project #1801 Mr. Manuel SUBJECT: Living lore
in New England {Begin handwritten} N. Hampshire 1938-9{End handwritten}
A GREEK  MOTHER by Evanthea Keriazes

"Everybody speaks Spanish, they have no need not to." Interviewer: Carroll, Thomas D., 1994-09-03 (Sound recording)

View down East Main Street, near the corner of East Main and Roberts Street; business at right is "Al. Anwar Cafeteeria", 1994-08-13.

+ (image w/ text) (image alone)
Boychik Up-to-Date (sheet music cover) from LC online exhibits