May 22, 2022

Primary Sources: New Online Collection Brings Iowa History to Teachers/Students

From the State Historical Society of Iowa:

 A video of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s 1959 visit to Coon Rapids at the height of the Cold War.

The neatly typed script President Herbert Hoover used during his 1929 inaugural address, slightly wrinkled by the rain that doused the ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Sheet music and an audio recording of a 1915 song called “Don’t Bite the Hand That’s Feeding You,” which urged immigrants to stay loyal to the United States during World War I.

These eye-opening documents – and dozens more – from the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Library of Congress are now available to teachers, students and lifelong learners thanks to a new free online resource that was unveiled today at

The trove of virtual treasures is the result of more than a year of research and almost $100,000 in grant funding from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program.

The project was designed to help teachers develop lessons around first-hand accounts of major turning points in history, from the Underground Railroad to the Great Depression to the various efforts to desegregate schools throughout the 20th century. About 80 percent of the materials offer a national perspective, while the remaining 20 percent focus on Iowa.

“We’re eager to give people a new tool to dig deeper into the past,” State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. “These multimedia documents bring history to life in ways that even the best textbooks simply can’t.”

The primary source sets, as they’re called, will be particularly useful for Iowa teachers, who have been asked to incorporate Iowa history at all grade levels by 2020. The requirement is part of a new set of social studies standards the Iowa State Board of Education adopted earlier this year.

Accordingly, the primary source sets are accompanied by an online toolkit to help K-12 teachers guide classroom discussions and nudge their students toward historical investigation. The sets can be filtered by subject, time period and grade level.

See Also: Audio Report About New Resource From Iowa Public Radio

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.