Making of America is a database of digitized American journals and monographs that offer information about the development of the U.S. infrastructure. It covers the antebellum period through reconstruction, and has a particular strength in Civil War documents. With 267 monographs and 955 serial volumes, it offers a broad range of sources related to U.S. social history in the nineteenth century.
The purpose of the site is to make available digitized copies of magazines, monographs, and Civil War documents related to nineteenth-century American history and culture. It provides open access to these documents and offers technical information about using the database.
Target Student Population:
High School AP; Undergraduate College, Graduate School
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Computer skills, Boolean searching
Type of Material:
In class, homework, individual, team, perform primary research and period reserach
Evaluation and Observation
The module offers high-quality and relevant primary sources that are historically relevant and cover many aspects of American social and cultural history in the nineteenth century. It provides access to relevant publications, such as the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Magazine, and missionary publications. The module is usable for many different classroom and research purposes, and the instructions help users at different levels navigate and make effective use of the collections.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
While this database offers mostly primary sources, the relevance of the materials and the effectiveness of the layout and search functions make this database easily adaptable for use in classroom settings or for research assignments. There is no steep learning curve for using the database, and the multiple topics covered in the collections make this database an effective go-to module for assignments about nineteenth-century American history and culture.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The strength of this module is that it offers easy access to high-quality digital copies of nineteenth-century sources. Since no login is needed, it is an easily accessible database that offers a wide range of sources for use in class of for student’ research project. The magazines and monographs are presented in clearly legible black-and-white facsimile copies that give students a sense of their layout and maintain the sources’ original pagination. The quality of the prints is high and it is easy to print pages by clicking the “print” icon at the top of the page. Users can search for documents by author, title, or keyword. The helpful “bookbag” function lets users set aside search results to return to them later or save them to their desktop. The interface is intuitive and visually appealing, if not sophisticated. The “help” section contains useful information including tips for beginners and advanced users, how to perform effective searches, and other practical information.