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Library of Congress Teaching Blog, Library «Loc.gov» USA

Tue, 12 Jun 2018 15:00:13 +0000
Using Literary Maps in the Classroom
Have you ever considered using a literary map with your students? In the May/June 2018 issue of Social Education, the journal of the National Council for the Social Studies, our “Sources and Strategies” article features literary maps for the humanities classroom.

In 2017 we highlighted the work of female photojournalists Helen Johns Kirtland and Toni Frissel. During World War I Kirtland, one of many photographers putting faces and places to “the war to end all wars,” did photographic work for Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly and other periodicals as well as the Red Cross and United States Army and Navy.

Learn more about the work of photographers in World War I in this video featuring Reference Librarian Jonathan Eaker from the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress.

For more World War I resources, download the Teaching World War I with Primary Sources Idea Book for Educators from HISTORY.

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Women Documenting History: Primary Sources from the Library of Congress on Women Photojournalists

You and your students may know the names of Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, or Clare Boothe Luce. Fewer, however, will know the names of the photographers Helen Johns Kirtland or Toni Frissell, who documented wars, often from the front lines.

Helen Johns Kirtland, 1919

Helen Johns Kirtland, 1919

Toni Frissell, sitting, holding camera on her lap, with several children standing around her, somewhere in Europe, 1945

Toni Frissell, sitting, holding camera on her lap, with several children standing around her, somewhere in Europe, 1945

During World War I, Helen Johns Kirtland, a photojournalist with Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly, often traveled with the YMCA, which provided physical fitness classes for the troops. With the YMCA staff, Kirtland was able to spend time with the soldiers in the trenches learning and photographing their experiences. In addition to being a skilled photographer, Kirtland’s essays for Leslie’s were simple and elegant, bringing the battlefield to readers’ homes.

Toni Frissell may be best known for her work as a fashion photographer and for her photographs of the wedding of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier. However, she also worked as a photographer during World War II. She donated her services to the American Red Cross, Women’s Army Corps, and Eighth Army Air Force, and her photographs included images of women soldiers, African American fighter pilots, and children orphaned by war.

A Woman on the Battle Front. Helen Jones Kirkland, 1918

A Woman on the Battle Front. Helen Johns Kirtland, 1918

U.S. soldiers resting among ruins of building, with soldier lying on plank in foreground, on the Siegfried Line, Rhone Valley, German Front. Toni Frissell, 1945

U.S. soldiers resting among ruins of building, with soldier lying on plank in foreground, on the Siegfried Line, Rhone Valley, German Front. Toni Frissell, 1945

Think about it:

Want to learn more about woman war correspondents? Explore Women Come to the Front for biographies and see some of the work of these and other photojournalists. Want to learn about other women photojournalists? Explore the collections of the Prints and Photographs Division to see some of their collections.


Tue, 05 Jun 2018 15:00:45 +0000
Documenting World War I: Women Photographers on the Front Lines
In 2017 we highlighted the work of female photojournalists Helen Johns Kirtland and Toni Frissel. During World War I Kirtland,

Thu, 31 May 2018 15:00:47 +0000
History isn’t boring! Final thoughts from a year well spent
This post is by Matthew Poth, 2017-18 Library of Congress Teacher in Residence. When the last day of the 2016-17 school year loomed and everyone at my school rushed to ensure that everything was wrapped up, I had the bittersweet knowledge that I wouldn’t be there to welcome my students back the following August. It […]

Music has always been a part of major events in history, frequently used to persuade listeners to adopt a point of view or to take action. This was certainly the case during World War I.

A year ago, we published a blog post showing how music reflected the nation’s role in the war. When the United States was neutral and wanted to sell goods to countries on both sides of the conflict, songs discouraged enlistment. However, with the United States’ entry in the war in April 1917, songs changed to encourage the country to be pro-war and to support the Allies. Songs now encouraged men to fight for their country, indicating that men who would not were slackers.

For a closer look at music and its role in World War I, we recommend this video by Paul Fraunfelter, Digital Conversion Specialist at the Library of Congress. He explains how sheet music can be surprisingly useful in exploring the history of WWI.

For more World War I resources, download the Teaching World War I with Primary Sources Idea Book for Educators from HISTORY.

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World War I Recruiting Songs: Building the Military with Music

Music is one way to get a message out or to encourage support for a cause, especially during wartime. In the first years of World War I, when the United States was neutral, songs supported the country staying out of the war. After the U.S. entered the war in 1917, songs encouraged or discouraged citizens to enlist and join the battle. Others encouraged those on the home front to support those who were on the battlefield.

In the 1915 song “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to be a Solider,” the mother notes that she raised her boy to be her pride and joy, not to aim his musket at another mother’s boy. The song also states that there would be peace if all mothers stood up and stated that they didn’t raise their sons to be soldiers.

I Didn't Raise My Boy to be a Soldier. Albert Piantadosi and Alfre Bryan, 1915

I Didn’t Raise My Boy to be a Soldier. Al Piantadosi and Alfred Bryan, 1915

I Didn't Raise My Boy to be a Slacker. Theodore Baker, 1917

I Didn’t Raise My Boy to be a Slacker. Theodore Baker, 1917

Ah Didn't Raise Mah Boy to be a Slacker. Al Hart, 1917

Ah Didn’t Raise Mah Boy to be a Slacker. Al Hart, 1917

Later songs inspired citizens to support their sons, husbands, and brothers to enlist. Quite a few titles asked mothers to encourage their sons to enlist and not be considered a “slacker.” One variation notes that the mother would rather see her son dead than hanging his head because he avoided the call to war. Another, aimed at African American men, and written in African American Vernacular English, tells the story of a young man who is shamed by his mother and has his proposal of marriage rejected because he has not answered the call of Uncle Sam. One song stated that the son was answering the call of Uncle Sam to defeat the Huns, even though he was not raised to be a soldier.

Looking for more primary sources from World War I? Visit the World War I Resources page.


Tue, 29 May 2018 15:00:01 +0000
Another Look at World War I Recruiting Songs
Music has always been a part of major events in history, frequently used to persuade listeners to adopt a point of view or to take action. This was certainly the case during World War I.

Sometimes listeners are surprised to find a familiar tune lurking behind the lyrics of a new song. Songwriters may revisit and reuse existing compositions, hoping to catch a listener’s attention through something familiar. The Civil War era song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” not only resembles an earlier song, but also inspired a number of parodies.

When Johnny Comes Marching Home sheet music, 1863

When Johnny Comes Marching Home song sheet, n.d.

 

In 1863, in his role as grand master of the Union Army, Patrick Gilmore was ordered to reorganize the state military bands. It was then that he composed the words and music to “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” Gilmore published the song under the pseudonym Louis Lambert, although the title page also read “as introduced by Gilmore’s Band.” Some note that his composition bears a great similarity to the melody of an earlier Irish song, “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye,” a protest song about conscription into the British Army.

Where are your legs that used to run,
huroo, huroo,
Where are your legs that used to run,
huroo, huroo,
Where are your legs that used to run
when first you went for to carry a gun?
Alas, your dancing days are done, och,
Johnny, I hardly knew ye.”

In addition to his musical ability, Gilmore had a flair for showmanship. He organized a huge concert in New Orleans’ Lafayette Square, with 500 musicians and 5,000 or more schoolchildren, many from Confederate families. “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” finished in time for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender, was part of a rousing return home for the troops.

“When Johnny Comes Marching Home” became popular with Northerners and Southerners alike. In 1939, a child of the Civil War era remembered:

The songs we sang were all patriotic. My niece Mary Hill, or Mollie, as we called her, but two years younger than I, was a little songbird. She learned all the popular songs of the day and was ready to sing on any
occasion. “Dixie Land” was one of her favorites. She earned the pet name of “Dixie” by this song. Other songs that were sung in school entertainments were “When Johnny comes marching home again,” [and] “On the field of battle, mother.”

“When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,” gave rise to many parodies, including the well-known Confederate parody “For Bales.” Another parody, “Johnny, Fill Up the Bowl,” reflected Northerners’ concerns about taxes, conscription, and inflation. Examining and comparing print and audio versions can introduce historical perspectives and may help students better understand the lived experiences of the time.

The song remained popular in subsequent American wars, reached new heights of popularity during the Spanish American War, and was used to express concerns about the Vietnam War, as well. Studying versions across time might help students see how popular melodies support new lyrics.

Please let us know in the comments what your students notice when they study various versions of this once-popular song!

 

 

 


Thu, 24 May 2018 16:10:39 +0000
“When Johnny Comes Marching Home” Marches Across Time
Sometimes listeners are surprised to find a familiar tune lurking behind the lyrics of a new song. Songwriters may revisit and reuse existing compositions, hoping to catch a listener’s attention through something familiar. The Civil War era song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" not only resembles an earlier song, but also inspired a number of parodies.

Uncle Sam is not only one of the most recognizable symbols of the United States, but also one of the most long-lived. He’s been around for more than two centuries, and has taken on different roles, different outfits, and even different faces throughout his existence.

A few years ago, we published a blog post, written by the Library’s Danna Bell, that provides some key points in the history of the man in the hat, along with ideas for exploring his iconic status with students. (This blog post is also an American classic; it’s been viewed more times than any other Teaching with the Library of Congress post.)

For a closer look at a formative moment in Uncle Sam’s biography, we recommend this video by Katherine Blood, Curator in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, which examines the creation of perhaps the best-known version of Uncle Sam–James Montgomery Flagg’s “I Want You” recruiting poster from World War I.

For more World War I resources, download the Teaching World War I with Primary Sources Idea Book for Educators from HISTORY.


Uncle Sam: American Symbol, American Icon

The United States has many symbols, including the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, and the Liberty Bell. However, there is one that has been featured in a recruiting poster, served as a symbol of patriotism, and is a personification of the government of the United States of America. This symbol is Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam was supposedly based on a real person, Sam Wilson, a businessman during the War of 1812. Though the image of Uncle Sam was made popular by Thomas Nast and the cartoonists of Puck Magazine, the portrait of Uncle Sam created by James Montgomery Flagg for the July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie’s Weekly soon led to Uncle Sam’s iconic status. The image was used to encourage men to enlist in the military and to encourage civilian support for the entry of the U.S. into World War I. Uncle Sam was officially adopted as a national symbol of the United States of America in 1950.

The Library’s Teachers Page has a primary source set that features the symbols of the United States of America.

Here are some other activities you might try with your students:

 

 


Tue, 22 May 2018 15:00:09 +0000
Uncle Sam: Another Look at an American Icon
Uncle Sam is not only one of the most recognizable symbols of the United States, but also one of the most long-lived. He's been around for more than two centuries, and has taken on different roles, different outfits, and even different faces throughout his existence.

Article on a new city playground in Missoula, Montana, 1911

In the early decades of the twentieth century, a new movement was being born in town halls and private meetings around the country – one that its advocates believed would reduce crime, increase health, and increase the happiness of all people. “This is a great work, of vital importance to the city and the nation,” one supporter claimed. Another described it as “an absolute necessity for the welfare, not to say the very existence, of our cities themselves.” What was the great cause that brought together civic leaders, public health officials, and the president of the United States? Playgrounds.

Today we might take them for granted, but at the turn of the twentieth century planned public play spaces were uncommon. In the nation’s booming cities, children played in streets, alleys, and vacant lots, largely unsupervised. Reformers were concerned that the lack of open space, play equipment, and adult supervision led to decreased physical activity, increased risk of traffic accidents, and exposure to unhealthy habits and criminal behavior. Due in large part to the advocacy of groups such as the Outdoor Recreation League and the Playground Association of America, thousands of municipal playgrounds, many of which are still open today, were built in towns and cities across the nation, making playgrounds a widely accepted feature of the public landscape.

The playground movement accomplished many of its goals, but some of its members’ claims–that playgrounds would dramatically reduce crime, for example, or put poolrooms out of business–now seem extreme. The historic newspapers that the Library of Congress makes available in Chronicling America allow students to immerse themselves in the speeches and debates around the playground movement. By examining these primary sources, students can speculate about why this movement was so successful and analyze the language and rhetorical strategies its advocates used.

Article on the International Recreation congress meeting in Chicago, 1916

Students might search Chronicling America for “playground movement” between the years 1900 and 1920 for examples of the speeches, lectures, and articles playground advocates used to make their case. In addition:

The years of the playground movement’s greatest successes also saw the rise of newspaper articles headlined “Injured on Playground.” Ouch!

 


Thu, 17 May 2018 15:00:35 +0000
How the Playground Movement Made a Case for Play
What was the great cause that brought together civic leaders, public health officials, and the president of the United States? Playgrounds.

This post was written by Kaleena Black of the Library of Congress.

As any debate team knows, the ability to communicate arguments and craft rebuttals extemporaneously can be essential. We began wondering how historically well-regarded orators fared with extemporaneous speaking. What might President Abraham Lincoln, for example, have said on the subject? We posed this question to Michelle Krowl, a historian in the Library’s Manuscript Division, and her answer was somewhat surprising. “Perhaps because of Lincoln’s appreciation for language and the care with which he crafted his public addresses, he actually was not comfortable with extemporaneous speaking. Or at least not in the sense of addressing a public audience.”

Abraham Lincoln to Mary Todd Lincoln, Sunday, March 04, 1860 (Report from Exeter, New Hampshire)

Lincoln’s sentiments about public speaking are evident in various primary sources in the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. For example, while on a “little speech-making tour,” Lincoln wrote to his wife from New Hampshire on March 4, 1860 (days after his Cooper Union speech): “I have been unable to escape this toil…The speech at New-York, being within my calculation before I started, went off passably well, and gave me no trouble whatever. The difficulty was to make nine others, before reading audiences, who have already seen all my ideas in print—”. Lincoln had to continually refresh his speech for audiences who may have already read about it – and this was a “toil” for him. Invite your students to speculate why!

Image 1 of Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: Abraham Lincoln, 1850-1860 (Notes for lecture on law)

Lincoln also revealed a skeptical opinion about extemporaneous speaking in these draft notes for a lecture to beginning lawyers (transcription notes also provide additional context). Though he cautioned against “relying too much” on the tactic, he advised the young professionals that “Extemporaneous speaking should be practiced and cultivated— It is the lawyer’s avenue to the public— However able and faithful he may be in other respects, people are slow to bring him business, if he can not make a speech…” Do your students agree? Why or why not? How might this advice apply to other professions besides law?

So, what is needed for successful extemporaneous speaking? Some say that elements of resourcefulness, creativity, agility, and of course, preparation are important. As Lincoln suggested, the skill can be a valuable asset – even for students who are uncomfortable with it. Students can learn more about the nuances of Lincoln’s speaking voice and speech delivery from this blog post by Michelle Krowl.

Let us know in the comments what your students learned from reading Lincoln’s thoughts.


Tue, 15 May 2018 18:26:14 +0000
What Did Lincoln Say about Extemporaneous Speaking?
As any debate team knows, the ability to communicate arguments and craft rebuttals extemporaneously can be essential. We began wondering how historically well-regarded orators fared with extemporaneous speaking. What might President Abraham Lincoln, for example, have said on the subject?

We’re delighted to announce that the Woodrow Wilson Papers are now online. Held in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, these papers constitute the largest collection of original Wilson documents in the world, and provide teachers and students with many opportunities for discovery.

Born in Virginia before the start of the Civil War, during his lifetime Wilson saw the passage of amendments to prohibit denying the right to vote based on race (1870) and sex (1919). He served as president of Princeton University, governor of New Jersey, and president of the United States during its entry into the Great War. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to secure a lasting peace after that war. The collection, including personal, family, and official correspondence; speeches, memorabilia, and scrapbooks, reflects the breadth of his experiences.

Detail of “Featured Content” from collection homepage

To explore the collection and gain a sense of the scope of Wilson’s life and accomplishments, students might first examine the documents highlighted on the collection’s Featured Content page. They might discover:

Image 313 of Woodrow Wilson Papers: Series 18: Photographs, circa 1875-1923

The collection is arranged in series, both online and in the physical archive. Just as one might page through a physical folder, a user can browse forward or back from an online item to understand context or reveal other items of interest. (Change to “Gallery View” at upper right of the page to see multiple images at one time.) For example, paging back from a picture of Wilson, a student might pause on this note “Number of Mrs. Wilson’s favorite photograph [sic] of Mr. Wilson,” and then revisit the pictures for a closer look. Groups of students might explore a particular folder and select a few objects to construct a narrative.

The collection includes a timeline of key events in Wilson’s life. Students might select a few crucial dates and construct a parallel timeline of national or world events to gain a more complete understanding of his life and accomplishments. The Library’s American Memory Timeline offers a starting place. Searching the historic newspapers in Chronicling America will yield even more primary sources to offer context for the collection. For example, Catt names a few senators – Benet, Drew, and Lodge – whom students might research. Click here for an expert’s discussion of Wilson’s draft of a speech on Armistice Day. This video is featured in the Teaching World War I with Primary Sources Idea Book for Educators from HISTORY.

Let us know in the comments what your students discover as they browse and search this new online collection!


Thu, 10 May 2018 15:00:54 +0000
New Online Collection: The Woodrow Wilson Papers
We're delighted to announce that the Woodrow Wilson Papers are now online. Held in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, these papers constitute the largest collection of original Wilson documents in the world, and provide teachers and students with many opportunities for discovery.

This post is by Matthew Poth, 2017-18 Library of Congress Teacher in Residence. For more WWI resources, download the Teaching World War I with Primary Sources Idea Book for Educators from HISTORY.

Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines! Enlist to-day for 2-3 or 4 years / / James Montgomery Flagg. 1917

Are you tired of the same routine, day in and day out? Sick of tilling the fields or sweating in the factories? Join the United States Marine Corps!…but expect to be shipped to France to fight in the trenches.

The use of military recruitment posters and other forms of propaganda may be nothing new to students today; they see ads and pop-ups on social media and elsewhere. At the start of World War I, however, posters offered a powerful tool to reach and influence citizens of every social, educational, and racial background. Propaganda posters sought to rally the fighting spirit on the home front, raise money for war bonds, and create a sense of togetherness across a vast and diverse nation. Artists crafted posters to reach people on multiple levels, often in subconscious ways, to compel them to action by challenging any resistance as unpatriotic and even sympathetic to the enemy.

Start a class about World War I with Fred Spear’s Enlist poster. Give students a couple of minutes to observe the image and create a list of their reactions to details in the poster. Some might be drawn to what the woman is wearing or notice that she is holding a baby close to her. Invite students to share what they think is happening in this image (or has just happened). Distribute the bibliographic information only after several students have shared their thoughts. After students learn that the poster was created in response to the sinking of the Lusitania (1915), allow them to revise their interpretation of the poster and to write a short paragraph interpreting the poster and the techniques the artist used to elicit a reaction.

Introduce Harry Hopps’ Destroy this mad brute (1917) poster and allow time for students to list their reactions. Comparing it to Enlist, students might identify that the message of each poster is the same: enlist. However, the approach and the methods of encouraging enlistment are vastly different.

Enlist / Fred Spear. 1915 or 1916

Destroy this mad brute Enlist – U.S. Army. 1918

As students become comfortable with evaluating propaganda posters, consider asking them to select a poster or two from the Library of Congress online collections for close analysis and to better understand the evolving public opinion of American involvement throughout the war. Students could identify the message, the target audience, any subtext, and how the artist is trying to convince the audience to accept the message. To learn more about the prevalence of posters in society at the time of WWI, and the iconic WWI poster featuring Uncle Sam created by illustrator James Montgomery Flagg, students might watch this video by Library of Congress Curator Katherine Blood, featured in the Teaching World War I with Primary Sources Idea Book for Educators from HISTORY.

How do you support students when they analyze propaganda?

 



Analyzing Propaganda’s Role in World War I
At the start of World War I, however, posters offered a powerful tool to reach and influence citizens of every social, educational, and racial background.
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