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July in History with the Library of Congress

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This post comes courtesy of Uhuru Flemming of the Library of Congress.

Many teachers like to include mini-lessons or bell-ringers about “this day in history.” The Library of Congress offers two resources that recount what happened on a particular day using the Library’s collections of digitized primary sources: Jump Back in Time (introductory) and Today in History (advanced). Choose the one that best matches your students’ reading levels to build both content knowledge and research skills with primary sources in context.

July highlights include the origins of Independence Day (introductory; advanced) and  a new capital of the United States, Washington, D.C., (introductory; advanced), as well as milestones related to:

Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, baseball card portrait



  • July 28 1868:  The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified (introductory; advanced);

Military History



Farm boys eating ice-cream cones. Washington, Indiana

To engage your students immediately, distribute or display one primary source from an entry and invite them to jot down a single detail they notice and then share. To draw your students deeper into analyzing the primary sources, ask them to record observations, reflections and questions on the Library’s primary source analysis tool. Anne Savage offers tips in the Blog Round-Up: Using the Primary Source Analysis Tool.

Students can also:

  • Compare a secondary source account, such as a textbook explanation, to a primary source account. What can be learned from each? What cannot be learned from each? What questions do students have?
  • Consider how a series of primary sources support or challenge information and understanding on a particular topic. Ask students to refine or revise conclusions based on their study of each subsequent primary source.
  • Use the  list of additional resources at the end of each Today in History entry to search for additional primary sources.

Some of our favorite ideas for using these resources came in the comments reacting to Primary Sources Every Day from the Library of Congress. Let us know how you use them!

Comments (2)

  1. These are wonderful bell-ringer resources. I used “day in history” often in the past when I was teaching HS history. I wish there was a “day in geography” resource. If anyone knows of one, can you please post it?

  2. Hi Mark,
    I don’t know of a “day in geography” resource, but you might be able to use “Places in the News,” maintained by the Library’s Geography and Map Division: We’d love to hear how/if you make use of it!

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