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American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning
ASHP/CML challenges traditional ways that people learn about the past with its print, visual, and multimedia materials that explore the diverse social and cultural histories of the nation. Our professional development seminars help teachers use the latest scholarship, technology, and active learning methods.

Featured in Herb

Women Workers Protest the Loss of Jobs at Ford Motor Co.

Women Workers Protest the Loss of Jobs at Ford Motor Co.When World War II ended, Ford Motor Company's Highland Park plant, like industrial manufacturers across the country, laid off thousands of women workers and replaced them with inexperienced men. In Highland Park, women members of the United Auto Workers Local 400 organized active protests against the policy, including this picket by 150 women workers outside of the plant's employment office. Eventually, after the issue became part of contract negotiations with the union, several hundred women workers were recalled to the plant.

Child Cotton Pickers Haul Heavy Loads

Child Cotton Pickers Haul Heavy LoadsChild cotton-pickers on a farm in Bells, Texas, documented by Lewis W. Hine, a photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. Children had long been used as cotton-pickers and other agricultural workers in the South, where the tradition of sharecropping as well as sheer economic necessity made the practice widespread. In the caption to this photo, Hine notes, "All these children five years, six years, seven years, nine years [of age]... The very young children like to pick, but before long they detest it. Sun is hot, hours long, bags heavy."

"Father Mathew" Teacup from Five Points

Uncovered during an archaeological dig of the former Five Points neighborhood, this teacup depicts the Irish temperance reformer Father Theobold Mathew, who during the late 1830s and 1840s convinced Irish on both sides of the Atlantic to embrace temperance through his Total Abstinence Movement. The teacup was found at the site of a former tenement building at 472 Pearl Street, along with other similar objects from domestic life.

Recent Podcast Episodes

Joshua Brown, Executive Director of the American Social History Project and Professor of History at the Graduate Center, CUNY, discusses the pictorial journalism of the Civil War and the ways battlefront artists covered the conflict before photography could document warfare.

Sarah Burns, the Ruth N. Halls Professor of the History of Art (emerita) at Indiana University, provides an in-depth analysis of Lilly Martin Spencer's "Home of the Red, White, and Blue." She places the painting within the broader visual context of women, veterans, and the flag during the U.S.

Harold Holzer, chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and the author of numerous books on Lincoln and the Civil War, talks about the visual representations of the emancipation proclamation as well as the images of Abraham Lincoln as emancipator.

Georgia Barnhill, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts at the American Antiquarian Society, discusses the methods, meanings, and uses of various types of printed Civil War ephemera, and how they were used to document, memorialize and shape public opinion about the war on the home front.