The Learning Page announces the recent addition of four Learn More About
It presentations for American Memory collections.  What is a Learn More
About It?  It is a four-part web document that describes the content of an
individual American Memory collection in terms of its historical topics and
themes, as well as how it may be used to teach U.S. history and language
arts.  Though designed for educators and students, anyone interested in
history will find Learn More About It presentations to be a rich and invaluable
resource.  They offer historical background and provocative questions that
will enrich anyone's appreciation of the collection and understanding of
history.  They also make the collections’ materials more accessible by
presenting examples and excerpts and by suggesting search terms and

BASEBALL CARDS, 1887-1914:

The Learn More About It for Baseball Cards, 1887-1914, demonstrates how
this fun collection reflects the emergence of modern America as well as
that of America's favorite pastime.  This document and collection
provide a starting point for understanding industrialization,
urbanization, and the development of mass-entertainment as well as the
social and cultural values behind them.

Activities in this Learn More About It will help students understand
change - in American social life in general and in baseball
specifically.  An exploration of the evolution of baseball cards from
tobacco advertisements to collectibles will interest the student and
life-long learner alike.  Still other activities facilitate research of
specific baseball players, an examination of the games vernacular, and
an analysis of the place of baseball in American culture and identity.


In addition to highlighting interesting and popular portraits, the Learn
More About It for Creative Americans: Portraits by Van Vechten 1932-1964
maximizes the meaning of this collection's images by furnishing
historical background.  Portraits of Billie Holiday, Martha Graham,
William Faulkner, and other visual, literary, and performing artists are
placed in the context of the migration of African Americans from the
South and the development of modernism in the twentieth century.  In
addition to modernism, teachers and students can use this document to
study African-American leadership and Civil Rights, the Harlem
Renaissance, the Lost Generation of writers, Performing Arts, and Jazz
and the Blues.

Educators seeking a way to teach visual literacy will value this Learn
More About It, which helps students to understand a photographer's
intentions and techniques for creating meaning.  Other activities
explore biography and biographical fiction, social and artistic
criticism, portraiture, and the relationship between literature and


The Learn More About It for The Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920 helps
teachers and students to use this collection as a first-hand account of
the settlement of America, from immigration and developments in
agriculture and industrialization, to the replacement of Native American
cultures with frontier communities.  The nature of settlement specific
to the Northern Great Plains area is also highlighted through the
collection's photographs of sod houses and train-deterring snow drifts.

One of the Learn More About It's activities provides photographs with
which to begin a sophisticated consideration of the benefits and costs
of settlement and industrialization, which can be related to current-day
issues.  Other images can be used to help younger students understand
change through time, or to help older students develop their visual
literacy.  The Learn More About It also suggests how the collection
might be used to enhance the study of frontier literature and the theme
of rural America.


The Learn More About It for The South Texas Border, 1900-1920, provides
the historical background to make this photographic collection a unique
resource for studying the Mexican Revolution in Northeastern Mexico.  It
also identifies the images in this collection that reflect the
multiculturalism, social history, and agriculture of this region.

Activities in this Learn More About It will help users understand many
facets of the Mexican Revolution, from the sequence of its events to a
sense of what it was like to live amidst a violent revolutionary
movement.  Other fun activities suggest how teachers may use the
collection's photographs to teach a variety of writing skills.  In one
activity, for example, students draw upon songs from the Southern Mosaic
collection and images from The South Texas Border to write their own
border ballads, using symbolism, simile, and metaphor in their lyrics.


The seemingly disorganized writing in four of Walt Whitman's notebooks
is made much more accessible by the Learn More About It for this
collection, which references many passages thematically.  The themes
represented in this document include the importance of the individual,
nation building, and transcendentalism.  The Learn More About It also
presents passages that provide a powerful depiction of the Civil War,
and insight into Whitman and his poetry.

Students will find direction in analyzing and interpreting poetry in
this Learn More About It.  They will also find help with Whitman's
writing specifically, through an activity exploring the symbol of grass
in the collection's four notebooks.  Other activities help students use
the notebooks to learn about Whitman's writing process, and to practice
journal writing themselves.

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