January 18, 2023

Primary Source Learning: Industrial America Primary Source Set

Last Updated on October 13, 2022

Illinois Steel Works & harbor entrance, Calumet Riv., So. Chicago
Have students use the primary sources in this set to tell a story about the period 1876-1900 when industrial growth helped transform the United States, producing a new class of wealthy industrialists, a prosperous middle class, and a vastly expanded working class comprised of millions of migrants from rural areas and new immigrants from overseas. The story about this time of technological breakthroughs and cultural shifts may be in digital or print form. It could be nonfiction, fiction, poetry, or even a song. Click on each thumbnail image below to access the full size primary source. You may also use this primary set for a found poetry activity (click the previous link). Be sure to take a look at the Rise of the Industrial Era timeline as well as associated lesson plans (see below).

School on outing along C&O CanalSchool on outing along C&O Canal Chinese-American menChinese-American men Family in front of farm home, Buffalo County, NebraskaFamily in front of farm home, Buffalo County, Nebraska

Nelson farm near Milton, North DakotaNelson farm near Milton, North Dakota

Threshing machine, Soper Post Office, North Dakota : first traction engineThreshing machine, Soper Post Office, ND, first traction engine

Land for sale on 10 years creditIowa & Nebraska land for sale on 10 years credit

Knitter in LondonKnitter in London

J. Stewart wedding party, Nekoma, N.D.J. Stewart wedding party, Nekoma, ND

Custer's last standCuster’s last stand

Buffalo soldiers of the 25th InfantryBuffalo soldiers of the 25th Infantry

African American baseball players from Morris Brown College, GAAfrican American baseball players from Morris Brown College, GA

Harry and Beatrice Houdini with the Welsh Brothers CircusHarry and Beatrice Houdini with Welsh Brothers Circus

  Letter from Helen Keller to Mabel Hubbard BellLetter from Helen Keller to Mabel Hubbard Bell   Lewis Hine Report: Child Labor in the Canning Industry of MarylandLewis Hine Report: Child Labor in the Canning Industry of MD Letter, Susan B. Anthony to Adelaide Johnson discussing women ministers and Johnson's sculptureLetter, Susan B. Anthony to Adelaide women ministers & Johnson’s sculpture
Reminiscences of Mary E. FarnsworthReminiscences of Mary E. Farnsworth

The Great Railroad Strike of 1894The Great Railroad Strike of 1894

Circus Days and WaysCircus Days and Ways

Related teaching resources

Learning from the Source: Gilded Age Teaching Resources & Strategies

Library of Congress Industrial Era lesson plans

Primary source sets by time period

Settlement primary source set

American Revolution primary source set

Young Nation primary source set

Expansion & Reform primary source set

Civil War & Reconstruction primary source set

Progressive Era primary source set

Great Depression & World War II primary source set

Primary Source Learning: Postwar United States (1945-1968) primary source set

Speak Your Mind