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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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"I Am the Little Irish Boy"

Henry David Thoreau is one of America's best-loved poets and authors, known especially for his work Walden, with its meditations on nature. In this 1850 poem, Thoreau turns his attentive eye to a "little Irish boy," destined for a life of manual [...]

A California Businessman Contracts for Chinese Immigrant Labor

This labor contract between a Chinese worker, "Affon," and California businessman Jacob P. Leese, was made in Hong Kong on July 28, 1849, and witnessed by A. Shue, C. H. Brinley, and Henry Anthon, Jr., acting U.S. Vice Consul in Hong Kong. The [...]

Selling Sweet Potatoes in Charleston

Slaves commonly sold produce like sweet potatoes or peanuts and other goods on the streets of Charleston. Slave owners coordinated this “slave-hiring system” to help raise additional income for the plantation. Mary Reynolds, a former [...]

Item Type: Poster/Print
Daughters of Free Men Viewer's Guide

This booklet is curriculum support for the American Social History Project's 30-minute documentary Daughters of Free Men. The viewer's guide contains background information on issues raised by the documentary as well as additional primary source [...]

Tags: Lowell
Item Type: Viewer's Guide
Telling the Whole Story Worksheets

These worksheets help students gather evidence from the Five Points census database. Students then compare their data with prevailing 19th century stereotypes of Irish immigrants and conclude whether or not they were accurate. These worksheets are [...]

Item Type: Worksheet
A Mill Girl Explains Why She Is Leaving Factory Life

Born on a Vermont farm, Sarah Rice left home at age 17 to make it on her own. Eventually she journeyed to Masonville, Connecticut to work in textile mills much like those of Lowell. Rice's first letter was written after she had been weaving in the [...]

Item Type: Diary/Letter
Statistics about Life in Five Points

Five Pointers were destitute when they arrived and settled in New York’s poorest and most run-down neighborhood. On top of this, Irish Five Pointers worked for some of the lowest wages in the most dangerous and unstable jobs in the city. [...]

A White Californian Argues for Indian Indenture

White Californians complained that the new American government, which took over California after the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in May 1848, was not doing enough to control and regulate Indian labor. In the chaos of the Mexican War, many Indian [...]

A White Californian Argues for Indian Indenture (with text supports)

White Californians complained that the new American government, which took over California after the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in May 1848, was not doing enough to control and regulate Indian labor. In the chaos of the Mexican War, many Indian [...]

Miners Describe Life and Business in the California Gold Rush

Unlike earlier generations of Americans, many of the ‘49ers could read and write. Not surprisingly, thousands recorded their observations and experiences in letters and journals. Miners often reflected on changes in mining that made it [...]

Tags: Gold Rush
Item Type: Diary/Letter