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West Warwick High School Library: Social Studies

Databases and Pathfinders

Using Primary Sources Essay Contest Guidelines

In Their Own Words is a new essay contest open to all high school students. The contest offers students the opportunity to examine primary sources in the Gilder Lehrman Collection and to demonstrate their skills in historical interpretation and textual analysis.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute is pleased to offer

  • Ten $500 prizes for high school students in grades 10–12

  • Ten $250 prizes for each winner’s teacher for history programming or classroom resources

Students will be asked to select 1–2 documents from American History: 1493–1945 and write an essay according to the following guidelines:

  • Describe how reading/viewing the primary source document(s) changed your understanding of an event, historical figure, or time period.

  • Use evidence from the document in your essay to support your response. 

  • Keep your essay to 500–600 words in length.

  • Cite additional primary or secondary sources if necessary to support your ideas.

  • View the essay rubric here. 

Submit your essay by the deadline of March 1, 2022. Submit your essay here.


Access the Adam Matthew History Database (Access ends on February 22, 2022)

You can gain access via the Adam Matthew website here, by copying and pasting the login details below (please note that details are case sensitive):

 Username: WestWarwick

Password: E5mH9Fpn

Under the Collection drop down, select: American History, 1493-1945

 Alternatively, if you wish to go directly to the collection, please click on the following URL which will take you to the resource home page:

 You can then access the collection content by selecting the tabs (You must be logged in).


* Please note that download options are not available.