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Indiana Historical Bureau

Unlocking the Past: You Hold the Key Unlocking the Past: You Hold the Key

A Note Regarding Resources: Items are listed on this page that enhance work with the topic discussed. Some older items, especially, may include dated practices and ideas that are no longer generally accepted. Resources reflecting current practices are noted whenever possible

Student Reading

  • Cooper, Kay. Who Put the Cannon in the Courthouse Square?: A Guide to Uncovering the Past. New York: Walker and Company, 1985.
    This book provides a very readable guide on writing local history designed for young people in upper elementary and junior high school. Examples of local history projects for junior and senior high students are included.
  • The Indiana Junior Historian. “Collecting Your History.” Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, November 1991.
    This issue is concerned with discovering your family’s history. An excellent bibliography is included. This magazine is available in school and public libraries and from the Indiana Historical Bureau.
  • Jungreis, Abigail. Know Your Hometown History: Projects and Activities. New York: Franklin Watts, 1992.
    The projects and activities in this book are designed to help elementary school students discover their own local history. Projects include making a contour map and model of the town and a patchwork quilt of local history.
  • Old Schoolhouse Gang: Some Guidelines for School Oral History Projects. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1990.
    Compiled by Janice Montgomery, Southside School, Columbus, Indiana, this booklet prepares elementary school students to record oral histories. This very useful publication and is available in public libraries and from the Historical Bureau.
  • Schwartz, Alvin, ed. When I Grew Up Long Ago. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1978.
    Older people talk about the days when they were young. A glimpse of life in America at the turn-of-the-century is provided through these recollections. This book provides a good model for what can be done with oral histories. Recommended for intermediate and advanced readers.
  • Weitzman, David. My Backyard History Book. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1975.
    An excellent source for gathering local and family history.

General Sources

  • Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. The Modern Researcher. 4th ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985.
    A classic guide to the theory and practice of research.
  • Davidson, James, and Mark H. Lytle. After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1985.
    This book demonstrates how careful research with primary sources can shed new light on various historical persons, places, and events.
  • Felt, Thomas E. Researching, Writing, and Publishing Local History. Nashville, TN: American Association for State and Local History, 1981.
    This is a wonderful primer for beginning historians. Best for secondary students and adults.
  • Furay, Conal, and Michael J. Salevouris. The Methods and Skills of History: A Practical Guide. Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1988.
    This excellent history teacher’s guide offers a general introduction to the uses and methods of history for students. Each chapter includes exercises for high school students.
  • Kyvig, David E., and Myron A. Marty. Nearby History: Exploring the Past Around You. Nashville, TN: American Association for State and Local History, 1990.
    An excellent source for local and family history designed for adult and secondary school readers. The following titles are also available in The Nearby History Series: Local Schools; Houses and Homes; Public Places; Places of Worship; Local Businesses.
  • Metcalf, Fay D., and Matthew T. Downey. Using Local History in the Classroom. Nashville, TN: American Association for State and Local History, 1982.
    This is a very useful source for secondary school history teachers but could be adapted for elementary school classes.
  • Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 5th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
    A standard guide for writing papers, used by National History Day.
  • Turabian, Kate L. Student’s Guide for Writing College Papers. 3d ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976.
    This is helpful for the beginning writer and can be adapted to any grade level.

Of Special Interest

  • The Indiana Historical Bureau sponsors Indiana History Day, a competition for students in grades 4-12. Check your public or school library for a current History Day Student Guide or call 317-232-2536. [As of 2002, the Indiana Historical Society sponsors National History Day in Indiana]