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

"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.

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."

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.

Recent Podcast Episodes

In this panel presentation, scholars Sarah Burns (emerita, Indiana University), Josh Brown (CUNY Graduate Center), and Greg Downs (UC Davis) discuss the visual culture of the post-Civil War era in the fine arts and the illustrated press. 

Richard Samuel West, historian of cartoons and popular publications and founder of New England's Periodyssey, discusses the range of topics in and formats of political cartoons published during the Civil War and delineates how the medium changed over the course of the conflict.

In this presentation, photography historian Deborah Willis, and historian Barbara Krauthamer discuss the use of portrait photography as historical evidence. Together they examine several photographs of African Americans in the era of the U.S.

Alice Fahs, professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, presents a broad range of images that made up the visual landscape of the 1860s and explores how the Civil War did and did not transform the dominant images especially for African Americans and women.