From The Library of Congress: children and teens of other eras

Greetings from TPSNVA (Teaching with Primary Sources, Northern Virginia),


With school back in session, we thought your students might be interested in a retrospective of their counterparts from other eras.  The Library of Congress has extensive digitized primary sources reflecting the lives of children and teens at school, home and work. The links below will connect you to just a sampling of these compelling collections.  What conclusions about change over time will your students reach?

First School House, Vienna, Virginia, 1910


Lewis Hines: National Child Labor Committee (NCLC)

This collection consists of more than 5,100 images taken by investigative photographer Lewis Hines (1874 – 1940), who was tasked with documenting living and working conditions of American children between 1908 and 1924.  His photographs played a significant role in convincing Congress to reform child labor laws.

The Primary Source Set, Assimilation Through Education, focuses on the history of American Indian students in The United States and the detrimental attempt to replace traditional ways with those sanctioned by the U.S. government.

Another Primary Source Set, Children’s Lives at the Turn of the Century, examines how children worked, played and learned around 1900.

For both these Primary Source Sets, be sure to open the excellent Teachers Guide for historical context, teaching suggestions, links to other resources, and more. Then return to the thumbnails and click on the original item, the caption for the item, or download a PDF or MP3.

Do you teach early elementary?  This lesson plan, Classrooms Then and Now ( for K-2) will encourage students to practice their observation skills with an historic photograph of a classroom.