HS – Church & State in the “Land of Steady Habits”

TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Belief, Politics and Government
Theme
Democratic Principles and the Rule of Law; The Struggle for Freedom, Equality, and Social Justice
Town
Hartford, Danbury, Statewide
Related Search Terms
church and state, freedom of religion, Congregational Church, establishment clause, Constitution of 1818, first amendment
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
There was no separation of church and state in early Connecticut. Blasphemy and worship of “any other God but the Lord God” were listed as capital offenses in the Code of 1650. Parents and masters were required by law to provide their children or apprentices with religious education. Under the Fundamental Orders of 1639, the governor had to be a member of an “approved Congregation,” although voters were not required to be church members in Connecticut Colony (as they were in New Haven Colony at the same time.)

The Congregational Church was the established, official church of the colony. The church even oversaw local schools until 1795. All residents were expected to pay taxes to their local Congregational Church, whether or not they worshiped there. In 1727, the General Assembly passed a law exempting members of the Anglican Church from paying taxes to the Congregational Church and allowing their taxes to be delivered to their local minister instead. Later laws exempted members of other Christian denominations from paying taxes to the “established Society,” as long as they filed a certificate declaring that they attended a dissenting church and contributed to it financially.

By 1790, about two-thirds of the religious societies in the state were Congregationalist, while the other one-third represented other Christian denominations (mostly Anglican/Episcopalian and Baptist.) Jewish congregations were not allowed to incorporate in Connecticut until 1843. The Congregational Church was disestablished in the Connecticut Constitution of 1818, nearly two decades after the First Amendment to the United States Constitution banned Congress from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

Has there ever been complete separation of church and state in Connecticut?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • Was there religious freedom in colonial Connecticut?
  • What was the relationship between church and state in early Connecticut (1639-1818)?
  • Who were some of the people/groups advocating for a separation of church and state in early Connecticut?
  • To what extent were there successful challenges to the establishment of the Congregational Church in Connecticut prior to 1818?
  • What effect did the Constitution of 1818 have on the relationship between church and state in Connecticut?
  • Is there religious freedom in Connecticut today? In the United States?
  • To what extent is there a separation of church and state today?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Document Set #1:

Capitall Lawes.” Published in The Code of 1650, Being a Compilation of the Earliest Laws and Orders of the General Court of Connecticut: Also, the Constitution, or Civil Compact, Entered into and Adopted by the Towns of Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield in 1638-9. To Which is Added Some Extracts from the Laws and Judicial Proceedings of New Haven Colony Commonly Called Blue Laws. Hartford, 1830. p. 28-29. Original from University of California.
An Act for preventing Disorders in the Worship of God.” May, 1723. Published in Acts and Laws, of His Majesties Colony of Connecticut in New-England: Passed by the General Assembly May 1716 to May 1749. Hartford, 1919. p. 290. Original from University of California.

Document Set #2:

An Act for providing how the Taxes Levied on Professors of the Church of England, for the support of the Gospel, shall be disposed of….” May, 1727. Published in Acts and Laws, of His Majesties Colony of Connecticut in New-England: Passed by the General Assembly May 1716 to May 1749. Hartford, 1919. p.340. Original from University of California.
An Act in Addition to, and for the Alteration of an Act… for the Ease of Such as Soberly Dissent from the Way of Worship, and Ministry, Established by the Laws of this Government.” May, 1729. Published in Acts and Laws, of His Majesties Colony of Connecticut in New-England: Passed by the General Assembly May 1716 to May 1749. Hartford, 1919. p.366. Original from University of California.
An Act concerning the People called Baptists.” October, 1729. Published in Acts and Laws, of His Majesties Colony of Connecticut in New-England: Passed by the General Assembly May 1716 to May 1749. Hartford, 1919. p. 372. Original from University of California.

Document Set #3:

An Act securing equal Rights and Privileges to Christians of every denomination in this State.” Enacted in October 1791. Published in Public Statute Laws of the State of Connecticut, Book I, Hartford, 1808. p. 575. Original from New York Public Library.
An Act for the Support of Literature and Religion.” October 1816. Published in Public Statute Laws of the State of Connecticut, Book II, Hartford, 1808. p. 279. Original from New York Public Library.

Document Set #4:

Danbury, Connecticut, Baptist Association to Thomas Jefferson, October 7, 1801. The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress.
View a transcription online, courtesy of The Thomas Jefferson Papers, Princeton University.
Thomas Jefferson to Danbury, Connecticut, Baptist Association, January 1, 1802. Image 2 (Copy). The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress.
View a transcription online, courtesy of The Thomas Jefferson Papers, Princeton University.
Download a transcription of the two letters.

Document Set #5:

Constitution of Connecticut, 1818. Article I: Declaration of Rights, especially Sec. 3-4; Article VII: Of Religion. Connecticut State Library. View the text-only version or download the digitized version from the Connecticut State Library Digital Collections.
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

1) You may choose to have all students in the class examine all of the documents in the toolkit over several sessions, or you may divide the students into five groups, having each group focus on one document set.
2) Introduce the compelling question and assign the primary source documents that will drive the inquiry.
3) Use the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis Tool worksheet or another technique or organizer of your choice to guide students’ observations, reflections, and generation of questions.
4) Have students share their discoveries and questions based on the document set they have just explored. You may also want to introduce some of the suggested supporting questions listed above.
5) As students investigate additional sources or hear from other groups, return frequently to the list of questions.
6) Conclude with a discussion of the compelling question—supported by evidence from the primary sources—and a recap of any unanswered questions and what additional resources might exist.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Students will research the history of the relationship between church and state in a different colony or region of the United States and compare it to the situation in Connecticut.
  • Students will investigate contemporary issues relating to the separation of church and state or religious freedom in the United States or elsewhere in the world. These could include school prayer; public monuments that are religious in nature; school vouchers; religious profiling; bans on niqabs, burkas, or headscarves; government funding for faith-based organizations or programs; immigration policy; religious persecution worldwide; etc.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles & Books to READ

HS – Connecticut Prepares for War, 1917


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Politics and Goverment
World War I
Theme
The Role of Connecticut in U.S. History
Town
Statewide
Related Search Terms
World War One, World War I, WWI, Great War, Preparedness, Military Census, Role of Government, How Connecticut Changed, How We Documented the War
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
Propelled by the slogan “he kept us out of war,” President Woodrow Wilson won reelection in 1916. In Connecticut, however, it was Governor Marcus Holcomb’s “preparedness” platform that won him reelection that same year. In February 1917, the Connecticut General Assembly directed Governor Holcomb to “procure certain information relative to the resources of the State,” especially about “men and materials available for use in the event of war.” The result was the nation’s most thorough pre-war military census. It included a survey of men ages 16 and up, industries in the state, doctors and nurses, motor transport (including boats), and newspapers. Much of the census was completed in March 1917, before the United States entered World War I. The original forms were deposited at the Connecticut State Library for safe keeping and to make them accessible to appropriate officials.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

How does the role of government change in a time of war?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What did the State of Connecticut do to prepare for war prior to April 1917?
  • What were the goals of the Connecticut military census?
  • How did the government and/or the census committee deal with (or plan to deal with) resistance to the census?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

page Download the Notes regarding the Connecticut military census. Walter Clark military census papers, 1917. mss 70774. Connecticut Historical Society.
page Download the Sample military census form. Connecticut State Library.
Note that Oscar E. Sandell listed “chauffeur” as his current occupation and responded “Yes” to the question about whether he could drive an automobile. He later served in the Army Ambulance Corps.
page Download the Minutes from the meeting of the military census committee, February 20, 1917. Walter Clark military census papers, 1917. mss 70774. Connecticut Historical Society.
page Download the Letter to Mrs. Harriet Tallmadge regarding two men who refused to respond to the military census. Walter Clark military census papers, 1917. mss 70774. Connecticut Historical Society.
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY
  1. Introduce the compelling question that will drive the inquiry and share/distribute the four primary sources. You may wish to have students work on their inquiry with a partner or in a small group.
  2. Using the Library of Congress primary source analysis approach, have students examine each source and OBSERVE, REFLECT, and QUESTION. You may want to use the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis worksheet to help students organize and record their thoughts about each document.
    OBSERVE: What kind of document is this? What is the subject of this document? What people are identified with it? Is it dated? What can you know based on this document?
    REFLECT: Why do you think this document was created? Who was the intended audience? What is the historical context for the document? What can you guess or infer based on this document?
    QUESTION: What questions do you have based on this document?
  3. In work groups or as a class, discuss the students’ observations, reflections, and questions. You may also want to discuss some of the supporting questions listed above, if they have not yet come up in discussion.
  4. Discuss the extent to which these documents have helped students develop a response to the compelling question. Discuss possible avenues for further inquiry to help answer additional student-generated questions and develop a more complete response to the compelling question.

Note: For links to some of the 1917 newspaper coverage of the military census, see the “Things to Do” section below.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Using what they have learned through this activity (or elsewhere) about the 1917 military census and Connecticut during World War I, students will write a letter to Walter Clark of the Military Census Committee from the perspective of Toy Quong or Chung Quong (the men mentioned in Source #4) explaining why they chose not to complete the military census and responding to Mr. Clark’s arguments in favor of complying.
  • Students will investigate some of the reasons why certain populations are hesitant to participate in the federal census today and why some groups are regularly underrepresented in the United States census. Students will then discuss possible responses or solutions.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Things to DO
Articles & Books to READ

HS – “Saved.” Theodate Pope and the Sinking of the Lusitania


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Transportation
Women
World War I
Theme
The Role of the United States in World Affairs
Town
Farmington
Related Search Terms
Lusitania, Theodate Pope, Hill-Stead, neutrality, submarine, torpedo, World War One, World War I, First World War, WWI, Great War, How We Documented the War
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
On April 22, 1915, the German government issued a warning to passengers intending to travel across the Atlantic on any British ship. On May 1, 1915, the warning was published in various U.S. newspapers. Despite the warning, over 1,200 passengers set sail from New York that day aboard the Cunard ocean liner Lusitania. On May 7, a German submarine torpedoed the ship off the Irish coast. The ship sank completely within eighteen minutes, killing 1,195 of the 1,959 passengers and crew on board, including 128 Americans. Public outcry followed, threatening the neutrality of the United States in the war raging in Europe. One of the few Connecticut survivors of the Lusitania was Theodate Pope, the pioneering woman architect from Farmington. Neither her maid, Jessie Robinson, nor her traveling companion, Edwin Friend, survived.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

To what extent has the United States succeeded in remaining neutral in times of war or global conflict?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • Why did so many people take the risk of sailing aboard the Lusitania on May 1, 1915?
  • Did the sinking of the Lusitania make it inevitable that the United States would enter World War I?
  • How did people in Connecticut receive information about the sinking of the Lusitania? What kind of information did they receive?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

page Download the articles “Notice,” “Bernstorff Warns U.S. Citizens Not to Travel on Ships of the Allies,” and “Lusitania’s Passengers Warned of Ship’s Doom.” the Washington Times. May 1, 1915. 1:5-6. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
page Download the article “Cunarder Lusitania Sunk by Torpedo off Coast of Ireland; Passengers Safe.” the Bridgeport Evening Farmer. May 7, 1915. 1:1-7. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
page Download the telegram sent by Theodate Pope to her mother, May 8, 1915. Hill-Stead Museum.
page Download the articles “Farmington Woman Safe,” “List of First Cabin Passengers on Board Ill-Fated Lusitania,” and “Passengers Scoff at ‘Warnings’ as Huge Liner Sails.” the Bridgeport Evening Farmer. May 8, 1915. 4:1,4-5,6-7 Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
page Download an excerpt of the letter sent by Theodate Pope to her mother, June 28, 1915. Hill-Stead Museum. (Download the full transcription.)
page Download a Portrait of Theodate Pope, taken shortly after her survival of the sinking of the Lusitania, 1915. Hill-Stead Museum.
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY
  1. Introduce the compelling and supporting questions for the activity.
  2. Students will read three short articles from the front page of the Washington Times from May 1, 1915. (Source #1: “Notice,” “Bernstorff Warns U.S. Citizens Not to Travel on Ships of the Allies,” and “Lusitania’s Passengers Warned of Ship’s Doom.”) Ask students to:
    OBSERVE: What information can they gather from the articles?
    REFLECT: What do they think based on what they have read? What can they guess or infer?
    QUESTION: What do these articles make them wonder?
    You may want to use the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis worksheet to help students organize and record their thoughts.
  3. Compile a list of new student-generated questions that arise from your discussion.
  4. Students will read some or all of the front page coverage of the attack on the Lusitania from the Bridgeport Evening Farmer, May 7, 1915 (Source #2). Students will compile a list of “facts” recorded in the newspaper on the day of the event, which can then be checked against later sources.
  5. Students will look at Theodate Pope’s telegram to her mother from the day following the sinking of the Lusitania (Source #3). What information does Pope provide?
  6. Students will explore the coverage of the Lusitania from page 4 of the Bridgeport Evening Farmer, May 8, 1915 (Source #4). You may wish to assign different articles or page columns to different individuals or pairs. Ask students to analyze the source using the same Library of Congress OBSERVE, REFLECT, QUESTION method as above and then share their results with their classmates.
  7. Add additional student-generated questions to your list and look back to see if any information has emerged to help answer the earlier questions.
  8. Share the portrait of Theodate Pope (Source #6) and the letter she wrote to her mother (Source #5). Using the Library of Congress worksheet or another analysis method of your choice, have students examine the letter. What “facts” does Pope record, and how does it fit in with other information available relating to the event? What emotions, feelings, or personal reflections does she share? What questions do students still have after reading the letter?
  9. Circle back to your list of questions and the compelling question and discuss possible approaches for additional inquiry.
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Using the sources provided in the toolkit as background (along with any other related primary or secondary sources you wish to use,) students will imagine themselves as a Connecticut relative of one of the Lusitania victims and will write a letter to President Woodrow Wilson arguing for or against U.S. entry into the war in the days following the event.
  • Students will explore media coverage of other large-scale disasters or acts of war throughout American history and will seek out other examples of initially reported “facts” that proved incorrect. Students will then reflect on media coverage of current events and discuss the importance of media literacy in our contemporary world.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles & Books to READ

HS – “Women of Connecticut: Are You Helping?” The Reaction to Emergency Food Measures During World War I

Christine Gauvreau, Project Coordinator, Connecticut Digital Newspaper Project,
Connecticut State Library


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Food and Drink, Women, World War I
Theme
The Role of Connecticut in U.S. History
Town
Statewide
Related Search Terms
World War One, World War I, First World War, WWI, Great War, Food Administration, Women, Immigrants, Voluntarism, Home front, Conservation, How Connecticut Fought the War, How Lives Changed
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
By the time the United States entered WWI, farming in Europe had been devastated. U.S. allies were starving. Washington initiated a patriotic program to increase food production and to induce the people to voluntarily conserve food on the household level. Five billion dollars in food was delivered to Europe. As part of the effort to provide this food to the Allies, the federal government set out to get 22 million households to sign a food conservation pledge. Robert Scoville, head of the Connecticut Food Administration, and George M. Landers, chairman of the Connecticut Committee of Food Supply, organized the drive in this state. In November 1917, their goal for Connecticut was 200,000 signed pledge cards.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

Do government campaigns to promote “voluntary” patriotic efforts in a time of war strengthen or weaken American democracy?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What did the U.S. Food Administration and the Connecticut Committee on Food Supply hope to accomplish with the food pledge campaign?
  • What methods were employed to achieve these goals, who employed these methods, and to whom did they appeal?
  • How did gender, income level, religion, and place of national origin affect how residents experienced or evaluated the food pledge campaign?
  • What opposition, if any, was there to home front mobilization campaigns?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

“Food will win the war. You came here seeking Freedom. You must now help to preserve it. WHEAT is needed for the allies.” United States Food Administration, ca. 1917. National Archives.
“‘Eat Plenty, Wisely, Without Waste,’ Says Hoover: Work of the Food Administration Under Herbert C. Hoover—A War Emergency Measure—America’s Food Problems—Woman’s Part.” Bridgeport Evening Farmer, October 17, 1917, 12:1-7. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
“Women of Connecticut: Are You Helping?” Poster from the Committee of Food Supply, Connecticut State Council of Defense, 1917-1918, Connecticut Historical Society.
U.S. Food Administration Window Card. Fairfield Museum and History Center.
page Download the article “Hoover, How Can You?” Four Lights: An Adventure in Internationalism, July 14, 1917, p. 2. Published by the Women’s Peace Party, New York.
page Download the article “State Food Conservation Committee Save Quantity Food Through Girls Army.” Bridgeport Evening Farmer, December 20, 1917, 9:1-2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
page Download the article “Thousands Working in Campaign: Canvassers Explaining Food Pledge Movement to Housewives Throughout the Country—Those Who Refuse to Sign Are Pro-German—Norwich Expected to Net 4,500 Pledges.” Norwich Bulletin, November 3, 1917, 3: 3-4. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
page Download the article “German Agents Hindering Food Savings Plans.” Bridgeport Evening Farmer, October 31, 1917, 1:1-2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
page Download the article “Housewives in This City Are Being Fleeced.” Bridgeport Evening Farmer, November 1, 1917, 1:3-4. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
page Download the article “Pacifist Pastor Refuses to Sign a Food Pledge.” Bridgeport Evening Farmer, November 2, 1917, 1:4-5. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
page Download the article “Letters to the Editor: But Few Slackers.” Norwich Bulletin, August 11, 1917, 4:6. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY
  1. Introduce the compelling question and the initial supporting questions that will drive the inquiry.
  2. Together as a class, examine Source #1 (“Food will Win the War” poster.) Track students’ observations and questions about the source. What clues does the poster provide about the goals and methods of the U.S. Food Administration?
  3. Next, break the class into smaller work groups/pairs.
  4. Assign 1-3 primary sources from Part 2 of the toolkit to each group/pair. Allow the small groups time to develop responses to the initial supporting questions based on the primary sources and generate additional supporting questions.
  5. Ask each work group to briefly share their source(s), findings, and questions with the rest of the group.
  6. Discuss responses to the compelling question based on the evidence from the primary sources provided.
  7. Have the class (as a whole) propose avenues for further research that interest them, explaining why they think such research might be important.
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Students will write a response to either the original compelling question or another student-generated question, citing the primary sources they relied upon. Students will include thoughts about what kind of further research would be needed if they were to pursue the question further. Students will then gather with their work groups, share their answers, and gently critique each others’ work, choosing one response to share with the class as a whole, if desired.
  • Imagining themselves as a Connecticut resident in 1917, students will write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper in response to the question: “Should the names of those families who do not sign the Food Pledge be published in our newspaper?” Students may select or be assigned different perspectives from which to respond, such as a struggling immigrant housewife, the mother of a soldier fighting in France, a local pacifist, etc.
  • Students will investigate the dietary/food conservation recommendations made by the United States Food Administration and Connecticut Committee of Food Supply. What kinds of foods/meals were recommended to help with the war effort? What would nutritionists/dietary specialists think of these recommendations today? To get started, students could look at these resources:
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles & Books to READ

HS – A Connecticut Lawyer Stands for Human Rights

Edward Dorgan
Lewis S. Mills High School, Burlington


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Law, World War II, Crime and Punishment
Theme
The Role of the United States in World Affairs
Town
Norwich, Statewide
Related Search Terms
World War II, Crimes Against Humanity, Holocaust, Nuremberg, Nazis, War Crimes, Thomas Dodd
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Thomas Joseph Dodd, a Norwich-born lawyer from Connecticut, served on the United States’ prosecutorial team at the International Military Tribunal (IMT). The tribunal, which the Allied nations assembled in order to try Nazi leaders for war crimes, took place in 1945-46. The IMT, which is often referred to as the Nuremberg trial (after the German city in which the proceedings took place) was an unprecedented effort to hold leaders of a nation state accountable for their wartime actions while also endeavoring to uphold their rights to a fair trial.

Dodd, as the second-ranking lawyer for the US prosecution, supervised the team’s day-to-day management. He, along with chief US prosecutor Robert H. Jackson, also shaped many of the strategies and policies. Additionally, Dodd prepared indictments, presented evidence, and cross-examined defendants.

Excerpted from “Connecticut Lawyer Prosecutes Nazi War Criminals at Nuremberg” by Laura Smith for ConnecticutHistory.org.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

To what extent is the international community responsible for the protection of human rights?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What was the purpose of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany from 1945-1946?
  • How did the United States assist in the prosecution of Nazi war crimes?
  • What role did Connecticut lawyer Thomas Dodd play in the Nuremberg Trials?
  • What was the significance (legacy) of the Nuremberg Trials?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Select one of the following images:

Thomas Dodd Courtroom Scene. Thomas J. Dodd Papers. University of Connecticut, Archives & Special Collections, University of Connecticut.
Thomas Dodd with Shrunken Head Exhibit. Thomas J. Dodd Papers. University of Connecticut, Archives & Special Collections, University of Connecticut.
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Having studied U.S. involvement in World War II and how the Allies won the war, students will focus on the post-WWII consequences for Nazi military officers charged with “war crimes” and crimes against humanity.

1. Using one of the two suggested photos of Thomas Dodd in the Toolkit as their “question focus,” students will examine the photo and write as many questions as they can.
2. Working in pairs or small groups, students will discuss their questions with classmates, improve their questions, and decide on three questions that will drive their research on Thomas Dodd and the Nuremberg Trials.
3. Working with their partner(s), students will use primary and secondary sources about the Nuremberg Trials (see recommended websites and articles below) to help them answer their supporting questions.
4. Finally, students will revisit the compelling question and discuss the impact/legacy of the Nuremberg trials today.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Students will synthesize and share their research findings and results of their inquiry investigation orally or in writing.
  • Students will investigate later war crime trials/tribunals and write an analysis of the legacy of the International Military Tribunal (the Nuremberg Trials) and Thomas Dodd in protecting/supporting human rights worldwide.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles & Books to READ

HS – Joining the War Effort, One Peach Pit at a Time

Peach Pit Hogshead

TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
World War I
Theme
The Role of Connecticut in U.S. History
Town
Hartford, Windham, Statewide
Related Search Terms
World War One, WWI, First World War, Great War, Home Front, Gas Masks, Peach Pits, Women, Work, Industry, Hartford Rubber Works, How Connecticut Fought the War, How Lives Changed
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
World War I was the first conflict to see large-scale use of chemical weapons. Poison gases, such as chlorine, phosgene, and mustard gas caused blisters on the skin, blindness, lung damage, asphyxiation, and other injuries. The earliest German gas attack (at Ypres, France, in 1915) took the Allied forces by surprise, and soon afterwards the British and French started developing their own chemical weapons and protective gas masks. The United States ramped up its gas mask production in 1917–1918. The Red Cross spearheaded a campaign to collect fruit pits and nut shells for making gas mask filters. Several factories in Connecticut converted to gas mask production in order to meet the army’s needs. Hundreds of women in the state were recruited for this work.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

How does an entire society participate in war?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • To what extent were women essential to the workforce during World War I?
  • How did the U.S. government and the Red Cross mobilize people to participate in the war effort?
  • In what ways did Connecticut industry influence World War I?
  • How did Connecticut’s existing industrial infrastructure and workforce adapt to serve the war effort?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Peach Pit Hogshead
Peach pit hogshead outside Sage Allen & Company department store, Hartford, Connecticut ca. 1917-1919 – Connecticut State Library, Dudley Photograph Collection

 

Peach Pit Depository
Murray’s Boston Store (Willimantic) advertisement. Norwich Bulletin, Norwich, Connecticut, September 9, 1918 – Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
page Download the article “Straw Hats Must Yield to Gas Masks: United States Rubber Buys Old Straw Hat Works at MilfordThe Hartford Courant, July 8, 1917, pg. 5
page Download the article “Local Plant Needs Women to Work on Gas Mask Rush Order.” The Hartford Courant, June 28, 1918, pg. 9
page Download the article “Women Answer Call For Gas Mask Work. More than 300 sign up at Hartford Rubber WorksThe Hartford Courant, June 30, 1918, pg. 6
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY
  1. Start by displaying the “Peach pit hogshead” image, preferably full screen, without the title/caption.
  2. Ask students to look closely at the image and share what they see. Encourage them to back up their comments with specific visual evidence. Ask, “What do you see that makes you say that?” You may want to use the Library of Congress Analyzing Photographs & Prints process to guide students’ looking. Assemble a list of questions that arise from the students’ examination of the photograph.
  3. Next, display or distribute the advertisement for Murray’s Boston Store in Willimantic. Once students have had a chance to read the advertisement, make a list of the new pieces of information students have gathered. See which questions from the initial list have now been answered, and make a list of additional/new questions.
  4. Select one, two, or all three of the short newspaper articles to share with students. You may wish to assign different articles to different students or have everyone read all of the articles. Ask students to:
    OBSERVE: What information can they gather from the articles?
    REFLECT: What do they think based on what they have read?
    QUESTION: What does this article make them wonder?
  5. You may want to use the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis worksheet to help students organize and record their thoughts.
  6. Look back at the students’ list of questions for inquiry and/or at the suggested supporting questions. Discuss to what extent these primary sources help uncover answers to those questions or to the larger compelling question. Discuss additional questions the students have and sources or avenues for further inquiry.

NOTE: To see original film footage of gas mask production in 1918—from the peach pits to the final product—don’t miss this great source from the National Archives. Click on the hyperlink below and then on the film icon to start the video.

Silent video: Manufacture of Gas Masks, 1918, silent video (6:21). National Archives.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Drawing on their examination of the primary sources in this activity and other related sources (see below for some suggestions), students will design a World War I-style poster promoting the collection of fruit pits for the war effort OR encouraging women to take on war work in Connecticut factories. Need inspiration? Check out the Library of Congress’s collection of World War I Posters.
  • Students will research other Connecticut industries during World War I and compare them to the production of gas masks at the time. Who was employed? Where were the factories located? How did the products contribute to the war effort? Did the factories make something different before the war?
  • Students will draft a letter to a state legislator or to the editor of their local newspaper advocating why—based on the study of history and the examination of primary sources—there should be a monument that recognizes the war efforts of Connecticut residents on the home front during World War I.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Articles & Boks to READ

This TeachITCT.org activity is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University.

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HS – Beware Thy Neighbor? German Americans in Connecticut during WWI

Detail of the pamphlet American Ideals

TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
World War I
Theme
Cultural Diversity and an American National Identity
Town
Middletown, Statewide
Related Search Terms
World War One, WWI, Great War, First World War, Flag, How Lives Changed, Immigrants, Enemy Aliens, Home Front, German Americans, Foreigners, Internment
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
In his April 6, 1917, proclamation declaring war on Germany, President Woodrow Wilson laid out regulations pertaining to non-naturalized men (over age 14) of German origin in the United States. These regulations were later expanded to include Austro-Hungarians and women. They were summarized in publications such as the one from the Connecticut State Council of Defense included in this activity. German citizens living in the United States were required to register at their local post office, carry registration cards, and inform authorities if they intended to change residences or employers. During the course of the war, around 2,300 German-born civilians were interned as “dangerous enemy aliens” at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, and Fort Douglas, Utah. It was not only non-naturalized Germans who faced suspicion and mistreatment, however, as evidenced by the case of Carl Herrmann and the anti-German riot in Middletown, Connecticut, in the summer of 1918.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

Has America always been a “Land of Opportunity” for immigrants?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What makes someplace a “Land of Opportunity”?
  • In what ways did World War I affect attitudes towards foreign-born immigrants in Connecticut?
  • To what extent were the public messages about treatment of immigrants—both “official” and unofficial—consistent?
  • In what ways were the rights of Connecticut residents restricted during World War I?
  • Why has immigration been such a controversial issue throughout American history?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Part 1

Detail of the pamphlet American Ideals
Detail of the pamphlet American Ideals, “For Native-born American Women: What you can do for Americanism, ” produced by the Connecticut State Council of Defense, ca. 1917-18. Click on the image above or HERE to download the entire PDF – Connecticut State Library Digital Collections

 

Detail of the bulletin Suggestions and Requirements for Enemy Aliens Contained in the President's Proclamation of War, April, 1917
Detail of the bulletin “Suggestions and Requirements for Enemy Aliens Contained in the President’s Proclamation of War, April, 1917,” produced by the Connecticut State Council of Defense, ca. 1918. Click on the image above or HERE to download the entire PDF – Connecticut State Library Digital Collections

Part 2

page Germans Forced to Kiss Flag by Mob.Middletown Evening Press. August 3, 1918. 8:1-2.
page  “Millane is Freed; Three Others Held.”  Middletown Evening Press. August 5, 1918. 8:1-2.
page  “Local Rioters are Scored by Court.”  Middletown Evening Press. August 6, 1918. 8:2
page  “Public to Pay Rioters’ Fines.”  Middletown Evening Press. August 7, 1918. 8:1
page  “Law or Mob Law?”  Middletown Evening Press. August 8, 1918. 8:2
page Casper Schmidt is Loyal to America.”  Middletown Evening Press. August 7, 1918. 8:2
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY
  1. As a class, discuss the compelling and supporting questions that will guide the inquiry.
  2. In group discussion or individually, have students examine the two sources in Part 1 of the activity toolkit:
    • “For Native-born American Women: What you can do for Americanism.” Connecticut State Council of Defense. 1917-18.
    • “Suggestions and Requirements for Enemy Aliens Contained in the President’s Proclamation of War, April, 1917.” Connecticut State Council of Defense.
  3. For each of the two sources, ask students to apply the SOAPStone analysis technique, being sure to identify the author/issuing body; intended audience; occasion/reason for the document; and main points being communicated. What does each document say explicitly OR imply about the “official” position towards immigrants at the time? Revisit the supporting questions and add new student-generated questions that arise from the examination to the list.
  4. For Part 2 of the inquiry, students will examine (individually or in small groups) a series of articles published in the Middletown Evening Press about an incident that occurred in August 1918. Keeping the supporting questions in mind, students should make notes about the facts recorded in the newspaper, opinions/attitudes (stated or implied), and questions that they have about—or inspired by—what they have read.
  5. Students will share what they found most interesting about the incident and the newspaper coverage, as well as their new questions.
  6. As a class, revisit the supporting and compelling questions and discuss additional avenues for inquiry, if students wish to learn more.
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Imagining themselves as Middletown residents in the summer of 1918, students will write two letters to the editor of the Middletown Evening Press. The first will explain why she or he intends to contribute to the public collection taken up to pay the rioters’ fines. The second will explain why she or he intends not to contribute.
  • Students will use contemporary newspapers and additional sources to investigate immigration issues today and will create a graphic organizer illustrating similarities and differences between issues today and those during WWI. These may include the cultural/racial/religious background of the immigrants in question, the language/words used in the public discourse, proposed actions or “solutions,” etc.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Articles & Books to READ

This TeachITCT.org activity is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University.

HS – Over There: A Connecticut Soldier in France

Letter from Charles F. Coughlin to his mother, November 16, 1917

TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
World War I
Theme
The Role of Connecticut in U.S. History
Town
Hartford, Statewide
Related Search Terms
World War One, WWI, First World War, Great War, Soldiers,  Enlistment, France, American Expeditionary Forces, 102nd Infantry, Hun, Doughboy, Yankee Division, How Connecticut Fought the War
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
Charles F. Coughlin of Hartford worked for Aetna Insurance Company prior to the outbreak of World War I. During the war he served in the 102nd Infantry, a national guard unit that made up part of the 26th Division (known as the “Yankee Division”) of the American Expeditionary Forces in France. Coughlin enlisted as a private on June 24, 1917, at the age of twenty-six and was later promoted to corporal and then sergeant. His letters home to his mother bring to life some of the conditions in France and the soldier’s experience of war. In the fall of 1918, the 102nd Infantry was involved in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Coughlin was wounded in battle on October 23, 1918, and died on October 27, just weeks before the armistice. Letters to and from Charles’s father, Edward E. Coughlin, regarding the details of his son’s death, burial, and personal effects reveal something of the level of confusion and chaos that existed at the end of the war. In addition to the materials at the Connecticut Historical Society included in this activity, we know about Coughlin’s background and service from the military questionnaire completed by his father after the war, which is held by the Connecticut State Library.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

How do you measure the cost of war?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • How did Connecticut soldiers serving in Europe experience the war?
  • What personal hardships did soldiers endure?
  • What observations did soldiers make about France and the experiences of the French people during the war?
  • Did soldiers see a value to their service in France while the war was going on?
  • What struggles did the families of fallen soldiers face in trying to gather information about the death of their loved ones?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Part 1: Letters from Charles F. Coughlin to his mother

Source #1

Letter from Charles F. Coughlin to his mother, November 16, 1917
Detail from page one of a letter from Charles F. Coughlin to his mother, November 16, 1917. Click the image above to see all four pages in a pdf – Connecticut Historical Society, Matthew E. and Charles F. Coughlin World War I correspondence and memorabilia, 1879-1921, 66232
page  Download a transcription of the letter dated November 16, 1917.
page Download a pdf of the entire four page letter, dated November 16, 1917.
Source #2

Letter from Charles F. Coughlin to his mother, September 19, 1918
Detail of page one of a letter from Charles F. Coughlin to his mother, September 19, 1918. Click the image above to see all ten pages in a pdf – Connecticut Historical Society, Matthew E. and Charles F. Coughlin World War I correspondence and memorabilia, 1879-1921, 66232
page  Download a transcription of the letter dated September 19, 1918.
page Download a pdf of the entire ten page letter, dated September 19, 1918.
Source #3

Letter from Charles F. Coughlin to his mother, October 12, 1918
Detail of page one of a letter from Charles F. Coughlin to his mother, October 12, 1918. Click the image above to see all eight pages in a pdf – Connecticut Historical Society, Matthew E. and Charles F. Coughlin World War I correspondence and memorabilia, 1879-1921, 66232
page  Download a transcription of the letter dated October 12, 1918.
page Download a pdf of the entire eight page letter, dated October 12, 1918.
Part 2: Letters to and from Charles’s father, Edward E. Coughlin

Source #4

Letter from Edward E. Coughlin to Miss A.B. Sands, Executive Secretary, Connecticut State Council of Defense, January 8, 1919
Detail of letter from Edward E. Coughlin to Miss A.B. Sands, Executive Secretary, Connecticut State Council of Defense, January 8, 1919 – Connecticut Historical Society, Matthew E. and Charles F. Coughlin World War I correspondence and memorabilia, 1879-1921, 66232
Source #5

 letter from W.R. Castle, Director, Bureau of Communications, American Red Cross to Edward E. Coughlin, January 15, 1919
Detail of the letter from W.R. Castle, Director, Bureau of Communications, American Red Cross to Edward E. Coughlin, January 15, 1919 – Connecticut Historical Society, Matthew E. and Charles F. Coughlin World War I correspondence and memorabilia, 1879-1921, 66232
Source #6

 Letter from Edward E. Coughlin to J. L. Barty, Auditor, War Department, June 28, 1920
Detail of Letter from Edward E. Coughlin to J. L. Barty, Auditor, War Department, June 28, 1920 – Connecticut Historical Society, Matthew E. and Charles F. Coughlin World War I correspondence and memorabilia, 1879-1921, 66232
Source # 7

Letter from J. F. Butler, Graves Registration Service, War Department, February 11, 1921
Detail of letter from J. F. Butler, Graves Registration Service, War Department, February 11, 1921 – Connecticut Historical Society, Matthew E. and Charles F. Coughlin World War I correspondence and memorabilia, 1879-1921, 66232
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY
  1.  Introduce the compelling question and discuss possible supporting questions to guide the inquiry. These may include those suggested above, others generated by students, or both. Note that this compelling question could guide a series of inquiries using primary sources beyond those included in the toolkit for this activity.
  2. Present Charles F. Coughlin’s background, although you may wish to withhold the information about his death until later in the activity.
  3. Working individually or in pairs, students will examine the letters written by Charles F. Coughlin in 1917-1918, using SOAPSTone analysis, the Library of Congress Analyzing Primary Sources process (PDF – worksheet), or another method of your choice. Students may look at all three letters or be assigned different letters to examine and share with their classmates.
    • What can students KNOW from each source? What is the evidence?
    • What can they GUESS or infer? Based on what?
    • What does each source make them WONDER?
  4. Revisit the supporting questions and add new student-generated questions to the list for further inquiry.
  5. Share the details of Coughlin’s death, if you have not already, and distribute the second set of letters—those to and from Charles’s father, Edward E. Coughlin.
  6. Students may look at all four letters, or students may be assigned different letters to examine using the same process as above and then share with classmates.
  7. Revisit the supporting and compelling questions and discuss what further inquiries students might make in order to come to a more complete, informed response to the compelling question.
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Students will conduct research and identify additional World War I primary sources to help them respond to the compelling question. These might be photographs, posters, letters, diaries, or government publications. Students will compare the information gathered from these sources to that found in the Coughlin materials. To get started, try some of the “Additional Resources” listed below.
  • Students will conduct a fundraiser or collect donations to support an organization serving veterans in your area.
  • Students will research the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs —its history, role, and services—and then find recent newspaper articles online discussing current issues related to the VA. Students will write a letter to the editor in response to one of these, making specific reference to historic events.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Articles & Books to READ

This TeachITCT.org activity is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University.

HS – Enlist Now! Selling Sacrifice to the People of Connecticut, 1917

World War I enlistment banner

TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
World War I
Theme
The Role of the United States in World Affairs
Town
Statewide
Related Search Terms
World War One, WWI, Great War, Soldiers, Doughboys, Enlistment, Propaganda, Music, Blue Star, Service, Slackers, How Connecticut Fought the War, Draft
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
After more than two years of neutrality, the United States formally entered World War I on April 6, 1917. At the time, the federal army and National Guard only numbered about 300,000 together. Enlistment quotas were established and volunteers were recruited, but to build up the military force, Congress passed the Selective Service Act on May 18, 1917. Registration for the draft began on June 5, 1917, and the first draftees were selected by lottery on July 20. Through July, men of draft age were still able to enlist voluntarily, if their draft number had not yet been called. Of the 4.8 million Americans who eventually served in the war, approximately 2 million enlisted as volunteers; 2.8 million were drafted.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

Why do people enlist in the military?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What official and unofficial tools were used to encourage/pressure men into voluntary military service in 1917?
  • What messages did men receive in 1917 about participating voluntarily in military service—or not?
  • In what ways were families of soldiers encouraged to show public support for sons or husbands in the service?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Set 1

Enlistment banner
An enlistment banner hangs across Hartford’s Main Street, just before Pearl Street, urging men to enlist in the Connecticut National Guard or the regular army – Connecticut State Library, Dudley Photograph Collection
World War One poster Enlist Now!
A broadside or poster “Enlist now!” which calls for the enlistment of 64 men from Tolland County, Connecticut – Connecticut Historical Society

Set 2

US Navy Recruiting Station Poster, 1917
Poster “The Navy Needs You! Don’t Read American History – Make It!,” by James Montgomery Flagg for the U.S. Navy Recruiting Station, 1917 – Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
WWI recruitment poster "I Want YOU"
Poster “I Want You For The Navy: Promotion For Any One Enlisting, Apply Any Recruiting Station Or Postmaster,” by Howard Chandler Christy, 1917 – Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
World War One poster First Call!
Poster “First Call: I Need You in the Navy this Minute! Our Country will always be proudest of those who answered the FIRST CALL,” by James Montgomery Flagg, ca. 1917 – Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Set 3

World War One sheet music I Did Give My Boy To Uncle Sammy
Sheet music “I Did Give My Boy To Uncle Sammy,” published in Bloomfield, CT, by Robert H. Brennen and W. Speck, ca. 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress
WWI Sheet music My Son, Your Country is Calling
Sheet music “My Son, Your Country is Calling,” by Milton Charles Bennett, Hartford, CT, 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress, Music Division, World War I Sheet Music Collection

Set 4

“To Arms!” a full page ad in The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, 1917
“To Arms!” a full page ad in The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, Bridgeport, CT, June 29, 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
Detail from the article Connecticut Men Flock to Army
Detail from the article “Connecticut Men Flock to Army.” Norwich Bulletin, Norwich, CT, June 5, 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Set 5

Handmade Service Flag, 1917
Handmade Service Flag, 1917 – Connecticut State Library, 1850-2016, Department of War Records, Remembering World War One
Advertisement for Howland’s, 1917
Detail of an advertisement for Howland’s, The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, Bridgeport, CT, November 17, 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
Have Service Flags for Norwich Women
“Have Service Flags for Norwich Women,” Norwich Bulletin, Norwich, CT, October 25, 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY
  1. Discuss the compelling and supporting questions that will guide the inquiry and add any additional student-generated questions to the list.
  2. Divide the class into five working groups, each with one primary source set from the toolkit.
  3. Start the observation and analysis process by asking students to identify what type of sources they have in their set: Photograph? Poster? Newspaper article? Advertisement? Sheet music? Artifact? Something else?
  4. Next, students will make a list of observations for each of their sources, indicating what they know by looking at or reading the source. Find helpful guiding questions for analyzing all different types of primary sources on the Library of Congress’s “Teacher Guides and Analysis Tools” page.
  5. After making detailed observations, students will move on to reflecting and posing hypotheses and ideas based on the clues available to them in the source. These may include who the intended audience was, what the purpose of the item was, what the historical context might have been, or whether such an item would be produced today—and why or why not.
  6. Finally, students will generate additional questions they have about their sources and ideas for where or how they could find out more.
  7. Each group will share the primary sources in their set with the class and together the students will revisit the compelling and supporting questions and discuss additional questions for inquiry.
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Students will create a word cloud representing the most common key words or phrases used in the primary sources examined by the class (e.g. man, flag, service, America, enlist, pride, etc.) To find free online tools to help with this activity, search for “free word cloud generator.”
  • Students will examine the official recruitment website for one branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and identify the main messages communicated through the site. Students will then create a written piece or graphic organizer comparing this communication tool with one or more of the World War I primary sources examined in the inquiry activity.
  • Students will investigate the Blue Star Families organization and write a letter or make a short video addressed to a local museum or theater informing them about Blue Star Museums or Blue Star Theatres. Students may choose to make a persuasive argument for why the museum or theater should participate in the program (make sure to check that they are not already involved!)
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Articles & Books to READ

This TeachITCT.org activity is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University.

HS – On the Move: The Bicycle, Women, and Social Change in the 19th Century


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Invention and Technology, Social Movements, Women
Theme
Gender Roles in Economic, Political, and Social Life
Town
Hartford, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Women’s Rights, Social Change, Technology, Bicycle, Invention, Dress Reform, Bloomers
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
Early bicycles, also sometimes called velocipedes, were heavy, uncomfortable, and difficult to steer. High-wheel bicycles were developed in the 1870s and were lighter and faster, but quite dangerous. Albert A. Pope manufactured the first American-built bicycles in Hartford in 1878, but it was not until the development of the “safety bicycle” (with two equal-sized wheels and improved brakes) in the 1880s and 1890s that the national bicycle craze really took off and women started cycling in large numbers. The timing coincided with the first wave of the women’s rights movement in the United States.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

To what extent are technology, fashion, and social reform interconnected?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What technological developments made bicycling more accessible to women?
  • How did the bicycle craze of the 1890s affect women in the United States?
  • What were the different public reactions to women who adopted “rational dress” and/or took up cycling in the 1890s?
  • Did the invention of the bicycle lead to social reform or was the bicycle an outlet for already-changing norms?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Walking Dress
Walking Dress, ca. 1870-75, silk – Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 1956

 

Detail of Patent number US555211A, Bicycle-skirt, Ella H. Cooper, Meriden, CT, Application date: July 18, 1895 - Patent date: February 25, 1896 - United States Patent Office
Detail of Patent number US555211A, Bicycle-skirt, Ella H. Cooper, Meriden, CT, Application date: July 18, 1895 – Patent date: February 25, 1896 – Click to download the full pdf from the United States Patent Office

 

Patent # US000597867, Dress-guard for bicycles, Emerson P. Turner, Norwich, CT, Application date: February 18, 1897:
Detail of Patent number US000597867, Dress-guard for bicycles, Emerson P. Turner, Norwich, CT, Application date: February 18, 1897 – Patent date: January 25, 1898 – Click to download the full pdf from the United States Patent Office

 

Mrs. C. D. Smith with bicycle
Portrait of Mrs. C. D. Smith with bicycle, ca. 1890-1899. Photographer Everett Augustus Scholfield – Mystic Seaport

 

Two women sit on a split rail fence, ca. 1890-1899. Photograph by Edward H. Newbury - Mystic Seaport
Two women sit on a split rail fence, ca. 1890-1899. Photograph by Edward H. Newbury – Mystic Seaport

 

Ladies Cycle Club of Hartford, 1890. Photograph by Charles T. Stuart - Connecticut Historical Society
Ladies Cycle Club of Hartford, 1890. Photograph by Charles T. Stuart – Connecticut Historical Society

 

“Her Choice.” Illustration from Puck magazine, July 7, 1897
“Her Choice.” Illustration from Puck magazine, July 7, 1897, p. 16 – Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

Suit over Bloomers
“Suit over Bloomers.” The Daily Morning Journal and Courier, New Haven, Connecticut, April 6, 1899 – Click here to link to the entire page Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congres.

Although the legal case in question was heard in England, it was covered on the front page of this newspaper from New Haven, Connecticut.

Excerpt from journalist Nellie Bly’s interview with Susan B. Anthony
Excerpt from journalist Nellie Bly’s interview with Susan B. Anthony. Originally published in “Champion of Her Sex,” New York Sunday World, February 2, 1896, p. 10.

 

page

 

Download a pdf of the quote.

 

D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

1)    As a short introduction, start by displaying the image(s) of the 1870-75 walking dress. Have students make observations, always backing up their comments with evidence they can see (e.g. “What do you see that makes you say this dress is fancy?” “The lace and the silk fabric.”) Then ask for reflections based on what they see—what they think about the woman who might have worn a dress like this and what her life might have been like. If it does not come up in discussion, you may want to prompt with the question of whether this kind of “walking dress” would be practical for what today we might consider an “active lifestyle.”

2)    Next, break the class into two groups, having each group examine one of the patent documents, either online or in hard copy. Have students determine the who, what, where, when, how, and why of each patent, including what problem the patent-seeker was trying to solve. Have one or two representatives from each group present their patent briefly to the other half of the class.

Together as a group, ask students to share their thoughts or questions regarding the patents and how they might connect to the time period in general.

3)    Next, display or distribute the three photographs showing Connecticut women and their bicycles. Using the Library of Congress Analyzing Photographs & Prints process, ask students to observe, reflect, and question. What clues do these images give us about the role of the bicycle in these women’s lives?

4)    Together as a class, examine and discuss the satirical illustration from Puck and the “Suit over Bloomers” article. Use evidence from these sources, as well as the earlier sources, to address the supporting question: What were the different public reactions to women who adopted “rational dress” and/or took up cycling in the 1890s?

5)    Conclude the activity by displaying or reading out loud the excerpt from journalist Nellie Bly’s interview with Susan B. Anthony in 1896 (pdf of the quote above).

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling… I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. It gives woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. It makes her feel as if she were independent.”

“And bloomers?” I suggested, quietly.

“Are the proper thing for wheeling,” added Miss Anthony promptly. “It is as I have said — dress to suit the occasion. A woman doesn’t want skirts and flimsy lace to catch in the wheel. Safety, as well as modesty, demands bloomers or extremely short skirts. You know women only wear foolish articles of dress to please men’s eyes anyway.”

Discuss students’ reactions to these statements, coming from one of the best-known leaders of the women’s rights movement at the time.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Imagining themselves in the 1890s, students will design a full-page newspaper advertisement for bicycles (or bicycle clothing) targeted—at least in part—to women. They should draw on some of the persuasive imagery or ideas from the primary sources examined. To expand students’ background knowledge, you may wish to have them read some additional writings about women and bicycling from the time (see “Things to Do,” below).
  • Students will conduct online research using newspapers, periodicals, or secondary sources to compare the reaction to the “rational dress” movement in the 1890s to that of other “controversial” fashion issues in later history: miniskirts in the 1960s, changing styles of sportswear for women, school uniform requirements, t-shirts and free speech, etc.
  • Students will create a timeline of the women’s rights movement in the United States, starting with the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention and continuing to the present. The timeline should incorporate relevant technological and fashion innovations, as well as other political and social events and landmarks.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ