Annotated Bibliography Assignment

The first step toward completing your History Engine episodes is to survey the available sources and decide which you would like to use. So that I can review your proposed primary and secondary sources, your first assignment is to submit an annotated bibliography. Use the History Engine citation formats to list your sources. Your bibliography should contain a total of ten items.

Relevant Primary Sources

You should locate six potential primary sources—three for your pre-emancipation decade[s] and three for your post-emancipation decade. Within each set of three, one primary source should be a folder or volume from a manuscript collection, one should be a microfilm newspaper, and the third can be a primary source of your choice. For each primary source, write a short paragraph describing it. The questions below should help:

  1. For a folder or volume from a manuscript collection: What is this item? If a single volume, who wrote it, and for what purpose (business vs. personal use, for example)? If a set of letters, were they written by a single person, to a single person, or to and from several different people? Were these primarily personal or business letters? (You should be able to find the answers to these questions in online or print guides to each collection.) What types of information am I likely to find in this source?
  2. For a newspaper: Was this a daily, bi-weekly, weekly, or monthly newspaper? Was this a local or regional paper? Did the editors of this paper use lots of notices from other newspapers? Was this newspaper affiliated with a specific political party or another type of group? (You will need to look at an issue of the paper in order to answer these questions.) How will this affect the information I am likely to find?
  3. If your third source is another manuscript collection or newspaper, answer the above questions. If another type of source, describe the source and consider the types of information you are likely to find. For example, if it is a government document, which government produced it, and for what purpose? If it is a published diary, how long after the events was it published, and who edited it? How are these factors likely to affect the material?

Relevant Secondary Sources

You should also locate three potential secondary sources (besides the books and encyclopedias on reserve for this class). Write a short paragraph describing each source and how you think it connects to your primary sources.

Census Data

Using the Historical Census Browser (linked to our Toolkit site) to examine census data for the years bookending one of your decades (1820 and 1830, for example). You can limit the browser to a specific state or even counties within a state. You can also select a wide variety of data to track—changes to overall population, new industrial developments, literacy—whatever interests you. Write a short paragraph describing one key demographic change to your state or region during the decade you selected. How might these changes affect life in that place?