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National History Day (NHD) is an exciting academic enrichment program that helps students learn about historical issues, ideas, people, and events. The Library supports the program by annually hosting over 500 middle school students for tours and research visits. In addition to organizing and hosting the research tours, staff members from Archives, Youth Services, and Reference also act as judges at local, regional, state, and national competitions and give one-on-one coaching to any student interested in improving their project for higher level competition. In May of each year, the library hosts its own contest, called the Washburn Awards, offering cash prizes for projects that demonstrate exceptional primary source research.
Research & Primary Sources
Primary sources are the foundation of an outstanding NHD project. You can find print primary sources by searching our catalog with the words [primary source] + letters, diaries, journals, speeches, correspondence, and interviews. Books with primary source material are clearly marked with yellow tape that says "Primary Source."
The following resources are paid for and available to La Crosse city residents who have a valid library card.
- American National Biography
- New York Times Historical
- Reader's Guide Retrospective
- Access NewspaperArchive
The following resources are available to all State of Wisconsin residents who have a valid library card.
- EBSCOHost Multimedia Search
- Newspapers.com World Edition
- Explora for Middle & High Schools
- History Reference Center
- Military and Government Collection
- US Newsstream
There is a wealth of primary source material to be found online. These resources are all free on the internet.
- Avalon Project (Documents in law, history, and diplomacy)
- Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a vast national digital library of materials from the Library of Congress, Internet Archive, universities, and countless other sources
- Elephind (World historical newspapers; includes Chronicling America and collections from other countries)
- Google Arts & Culture
- Recollection Wisconsin is a treasury of primary source material from across the state of Wisconsin including materials from the La Crosse area
- United States primary sources from the National Archives
- Wisconsin Historical Society
- World Digital Library (International primary sources from the Library of Congress)
Below are two slide shows that we present as part of most of our NHD class tours. We offer it here as a refresher, or for parents and caregivers who want to follow along with their students' work.
If you would like to improve your project before moving on to state or nationals, you can make an appointment with a librarian. Call the Reference Desk at (608) 789-7122.