Assignment –Archives

Due Date

  • Friday, October 13, 2017 by 5pm (via course website)


Students in History 204 should create a short entry in their research journal (about 600-800 words, or 3-4 pages) that describes how they conducted research for academic and personal documents from within the College Archives that might be relevant to their assigned class.  The entry must include an image and student-written transcription of at least one archival document.


  • Entries will be evaluated on the effectiveness of the prose (for a student audience), the extent of the research effort and and the depth of historical analysis.  For this archival entry, it is especially important that students show care and attention to detail in examining particular documents or artifacts.


  • COLLECTIONS SEARCH.  Students should take care to describe their overall efforts at searching various collections at the Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections.  They should provide a brief description of the tools which they found most helpful –such as finding aides or online lists.  This part of the entry does not have to be comprehensive, but it should provide a good general idea of the scope and breadth of the student’s archival research effort.
  • DOCUMENT IDENTIFICATION.   Most important, students should attempt to identify at least one teachable nineteenth-century document from the College Archives.  They should describe it carefully, provide a photographic image of the document within their post (from a phone camera or other source), and also a full or partial transcription written by themselves.  See transcription guidelines at tip from the National Archives. Students should also provide a citation of the document in the style recommended by the College Archives guidelines to enable future researchers to duplicate their work.
  • ADDITIONAL WORK.  If time allows, students might also choose to take their archival pursuits beyond Dickinson College walls and seek out relevant materials in other archives in Carlisle or beyond.  Such efforts, when well done, will be eligible for up to 5 points of extra credit.

Models to Consider


  • The goal of these posts is to provide inspiration for future students at the high school or undergraduate level.  Make sure to write in an engaging style and to populate your posts with helpful images and tools (such as sub-headings and bullet-points) that can make the teaching elements clear.
  • Always remember that your primary obligation as a historical researcher is to show care with your sources and to carefully document how and where you obtained your evidence.