What Teachers Are Saying About the Core Document Collections

“One thing Teaching American History does that’s really great is to share their primary source library. Even the curated collections are all online, free to download. This helps every social studies teacher across the country.”

—Rachel Kohl, Alaska

“I love that each collection is free, but you can buy a book if you want. (For my classes I always buy a book, because I want to write notes in it). I love that documents on a single theme or era are collected together. The document introductions are great, because they’re usually only two or three succinct paragraphs. I love that the documents have been excerpted. Some of the readings are still hard for kids, so I like that the editors footnote certain terms. I think these are super valuable and you guys have done a great job of compiling helpful collections.”

—Tyler Nice, Oregon

“I love the primary source anthologies. Knowing they are out there helps me when researching a topic to teach. Working through primary sources is also interesting for students, who read a story in a textbook or secondary source and ask, ‘how do we know that?’ The collections help students understand how we know what we know about history.”

—Donna Fedele, New Hampshire

“I really appreciate the little summary at the beginning of each document in a collection—it’s super helpful. Even if you don’t know the history, it covers it. Also, I don’t have to worry about the reliability of these documents. I know that they have not been altered or ‘modernized.’”

—Amy Parker, Florida

“I’ve been using the Core Document Collections for about three years, since I first met TAH Teacher Program Manager Jeremy Gypton. Whenever I see him, he tells me about new volumes available in the series. Last year I downloaded a pdf version of the World War II collection to use in class; those documents fit very well with our curriculum. This year I’m using all but four chapters of both of the Documents and Debates volumes to cover key themes in American history from 1493 to the present. Each chapter presents document excerpts representing contrasting points of view on a single question. This helps me stage conversations among students in my classes, and with the authors of the documents themselves.

—Miles Matthews, California

“We got a gigantic influx of auxiliary money from the COVID relief bill this year and had to spend it by last week, or we would lose it. I had been thinking for a long time that I would like to get students away from using their tablets to view documents, to find a way to remove the computer from the conversation, and look at a paper text. So, my school purchased 60 copies of the American Revolution—I have a series of two weeks of lessons that build off of that collection—Causes of the Civil War, World War II, The Great Depression and New Deal, Westward Expansion, Populists and Progressives, The American Founding, and The Cold War. One of my projects for this summer will be to look through all of those and try to structure the entire class around those documents.

—Jason Berling, Ohio

Read about how Ohio teacher Ray Mertz uses the Core Document Collections as the basis for research paper assignments in his dual credit courses on American history.