Last year the Library’s education staff provided a selection of primary sources that documented what we did on our summer vacations. This was such a popular post that we decided once again to share how we spent our summer vacations using items from the Library’s online collections. We hope you enjoy this year’s adventures and get some ideas on how primary sources might help you learn more about your students and their interests.
Lee Ann Potter
My husband and I spent a long weekend in Niagara Falls. While walking along the Canadian side, we read a historic marker that described a mid-nineteenth century suspension bridge that carried trains over the Niagara River not far from the amazing falls. While my imagination could envision such an engineering feat, an 1856 Currier and Ives lithograph showed it to be even more remarkable.
I spent most of the summer in Washington, DC, at the Library working with teachers from across the country who came here for our Summer Teacher Institutes. Our last week was a special focus Institute on Civil Rights, in conjunction with the Library’s upcoming exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This image, “CORE members swing down Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn, toward 69th St. ferry on trek to Washington” would be powerful to use with students and reminds me of the amazing 131 teachers who also came to Washington, DC, our nation’s capital, on a mission.
This summer, three generations of my family vacationed together on the Delaware coast. We made several trips across the bridge depicted in this planning document from the Library’s collection to travel to and from Rehoboth Beach.
My husband and I got married in August on our way to a camping trip to Acadia National Park. As one of our first wedding gifts, we were given a framed map of Camden, Maine, the town we overlooked during our ceremony. As a wedding gift to ourselves, we purchased what I call the “condo tent” for our life-long married adventures in the great outdoors. I was amazed to find this image which I imagine to be one of the first to capture car camping. It was the best summer yet!
This summer my family visited New York, where we took in a retrospective on the Futurist movement at the Guggenheim Museum. It included a number of architectural drawings, including works by Antonio Sant’Elia, and it was interesting to view these plans for vast, angular towers within the organic curves of Frank Lloyd Wright’s museum building.
I spent a long weekend outside of Richmond, Virginia, and drove past a number of Civil War battlefields. The Library has rich collections related to the Civil War, so I had many choices. This photograph of a military balloon got me thinking about the role of technology in war, as in life.
For the past year I have had the great honor of serving as president of the Society of American Archivists, North America’s oldest and largest national archival professional association. This year’s conference was held in Washington, DC, and the all-attendee reception was held in the Great Hall here at the Library. I was proud to showcase where I work and grateful to my colleagues who helped to make the reception and the entire conference a success.
Travel was not in the cards for me this summer, so I “got away” by reading historical fiction. I like to delve into the actual events that inspire a book – or the life of the author – by hunting for and examining related primary sources. Viewing images of abolitionists Sarah Moore Grimké and her sister Angelina and reading what Frederick Douglass said about them brought me closer to these characters in the Sue Monk Kidd novel, The Invention of Wings.
Maine is a beautiful state I had the good fortune to visit this August. We spent a few days exploring Bar Harbor and its surrounding areas including Acadia National Park. This sunset picture from the top of Cadillac Mountain captures the beauty of the area. Our visit was a bit earlier in the evening, but accompanied by a rainbow ending an afternoon of rain.
Now it’s time for you to share your adventures using primary sources from the Library of Congress collections. Share your stories along with a link to an item from the collections, or tell us how you used primary sources to learn about your students at the start of the school year.