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Triumph and Tragedy: American Industry

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Social Studies +1 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection brings together EDSITEment and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day 2019, "Triumph and Tragedy in History."

These resources - including photographs, objects, portraits, lesson plans, and articles - explore triumphs and tragedies in American industrialization from the late 18th century through the early 20th century.  Resources highlight influential industrialists called "captains of industry" by some and "robber barons" by others, catastrophes that occurred as a result of rapid industrialization, labor leaders who fought successfully for the rights of laborers dismal conditions, the origins of child labor laws, leading inventors and their inventions, and other important topics. The second tile of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. 

By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.

This collection was created in collaboration with EDSITEment, a website for K-12 educators from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: @EDSITEment & @SmithsonianLab, #NHD2019. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2019 in the description!

Tags: strike, protest, union, andrew carnegie, john d. rockefeller, j.p. morgan, cornelius vanderbilt, henry clay frick, helen frick, andrew w. mellon, newsies, newsboys, child labor reform, thomas alva edison, incandescent lamp, nikola tesla, electric motor, electric power, alexander graham bell, telephone, christopher latham sholes, c. lathan sholes, carlos glidden, samuel soule, typewriter, triangle shirtwaist factory fire, pinkerton national detective agency, matewan massacre, wall street bombing of 1920, boston molassses disaster, asa philip randolph, a. philip randolph, john llewellyn lewis, john l. lewis, frances perkins, samuel gompers i.l.g.w.u, international ladies garment workers union, david dubinsky, company towns, #NHD

Andrew Carnegie

National Portrait Gallery

Andrew Carnegie

National Portrait Gallery

John D. Rockefeller

National Portrait Gallery

Henry Clay and Helen Frick

National Portrait Gallery

Cornelius Vanderbilt

National Portrait Gallery

3c Andrew W. Mellon single

National Postal Museum

Boys at the Lehr, Economy Glass Works

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

32c Child Labor Reform single

National Postal Museum

Worker in Cotton Mill, Rhode Island, 1909

National Museum of American History

Picking Slate and Bony Coal

Smithsonian Institution Archives

Shoe Shine Boy

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Men of Progress

National Portrait Gallery

Thomas Alva Edison

National Portrait Gallery

"New Type Edison" incandescent lamp

National Museum of American History

Nikola Tesla

National Portrait Gallery

Electric Motor for Alternating Current

National Museum of American History

Alexander Graham Bell

National Portrait Gallery

Remington Standard Typewriter Number 2

National Museum of American History

Samuel F.B. Morse

National Portrait Gallery

Blouse, c. Early 1900s

National Museum of American History

Badge, "Pinkerton National Detective Agent, New York"

National Museum of American History

Union Broadside in Yiddish, Italian and English

National Museum of American History

David Dubinsky

National Portrait Gallery

Union Cap

National Museum of American History

Asa Philip Randolph

National Portrait Gallery

John Llewellyn Lewis

National Portrait Gallery

Frances Perkins

National Portrait Gallery

Samuel Gompers

Smithsonian American Art Museum