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Cover of the book The Pearl and the Pumpkin with an image of a little girl and a "man" with a pumpkin for a head, a second pumpkin for a torso and vinelike arms and legs.
The Pearl and the Pumpkin by Paul West and W.W. Densmore, 1904

Celebrating the Mighty Pumpkin with Primary Sources from the Library

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As we enjoy Halloween we should also take a moment and celebrate the pumpkin. The pumpkin is a symbol of Halloween that can be found on doorsteps and windows but also in drinks, donuts, and dining rooms. As I explored the Library’s online collections, I found all sorts of pumpkin-related items.

Here are a few suggestions on how to bring pumpkin-related primary sources into the classroom:

Are you a music teacher? Explore some examples of sheet music that highlights pumpkins and Jack O’ Lanterns. Did you know that one person wrote a waltz, fox-trot and one step about pumpkins?

Looking for a story to read to your students? How about The Pearl and the Pumpkin by Paul Clarendon West and W.W. Denslow? It tells the story of a girl and her cousin, who is an expert pumpkin carver. And if you want to add to the atmosphere there is sheet music from a stage play of the same name.

Man in bakery cutting up a pumpkin for use in a pie.
Cutting Up Pumpkins for Pies. Russell Lee, 1939

A few years ago, the Teaching with the Library team discussed how many pumpkin pies could be created from a 707 pound pumpkin. Does thinking about that make you hungry? The Library’s Inside Adams blog explored the Library’s cookbook collections for recipes featuring pumpkins.

Looking for pictures of pumpkins? The Library’s Prints and Photographs division has a blog post just for you.

Looking for some ideas on decorating with pumpkins? Minerva’s Kaleidoscope has some suggestions. And if the ideas from this blog post give you some ideas our good friends at the Consumer Product Safety Commission remind us to be careful when carving our pumpkins. I wonder how they would feel about these children carving a pumpkin with a large knife without parental supervision?

A pumpkin looking concerned at a knife with the words "Pumpkin Laceration: Chapter Seven" at the top of the page

Pumpkin Laceration: Chapter Seven. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2017


How will you bring primary sources to your students while studying pumpkins and Halloween? Let us know in the comments.

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