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Teaching with Special Collections

Curricular Support for Primary Source Literacy

Come teach with us! At Rauner Special Collections Library, we excel at integrating rare books, archives, and manuscripts into the Dartmouth curriculum. For eighteen years, we have been committed to the facilitation of hands-on student exploration of primary sources followed by focused reflection. We also welcome inquiries from non-Dartmouth educators who would like to facilitate a similar experience for their students using our materials.

Class use of the collections can range anywhere from spending a single class session here to meeting at Rauner for the entire term. Many classes use our materials to examine special collections holdings specific to a course topic, but we can also use our primary sources to explore concepts such as the nature of evidence and the interpretation of historical materials. We are happy to facilitate onsite, online, or hybrid class sessions to meet the needs of your institution and your students.

We are also available to teach your class how to find relevant special collections materials and to advise students pursuing individual research topics or class assignments that are grounded in primary sources.

If you have any questions or just want to toss around ideas about how to incorporate the collections in your class, feel free to stop by in person or email Morgan Swan, the Special Collections Librarian for Teaching and Scholarly Engagement (646-3189).

Additional Contacts:

Jay Satterfield, Special Collections Librarian (646-3712)

Peter Carini, College Archivist (646-3728)

Examples of Previous Class Sessions

“Reading Jane Austen,” English Literature/Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The students explore the issues of personal agency and social mobility for women during Austen’s time by contextualizing contemporary texts related to issues of society, women's health, as well as examining the transmission of Austen's texts through time. Explore the lesson plan here, which includes the list of primary sources used in the session.

“Networks of Poetry,” English Literature

Using correspondence and published materials, this session looks at the complicated relationship between Robert Frost and Ezra Pound to explore how 20th-century poets worked within tight literary networks. Explore the lesson plan here, which includes the list of primary sources used in the session.

“First Wave Feminism,” Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies/History

This session uses manuscript and printed materials, mostly from the 19th century, to explore cultural perspectives on women in England and the Unites States within the larger context of intersectional and first-wave feminism. Explore the lesson plan here, which includes the list of primary sources used in the session.