Online Primary Sources Activity

Do you feel like some topics in history are far away and long ago? Take this tour through history and peek into the world of Vermonters at different points in time.

The Early Republic (1791)

“An act for the admission of the State of Vermont into this union.”

Activity: Click to the Digital Vaults. In the search box, type “Vermont”. Move the first document, titled “The State of Vermont” to the center and click on the magnifying glass.


When did Vermont become a State?


Industrial Revolution (1845)

“I well knew that if I could not make more in the mill than I can doing housework I should not stay.”

Activity: Click to History Matters to read Sally Rice’s letters.


How many looms does Sally tend? How much money does she hope to make?

She was tending 3 looms at once and hoping to make $2 per week after paying for her board.

Westward Expansion (1850)

“Traveled about 12 miles to water and timber.”

Activity: Click to Trails to Utah and the Pacific. In the search box type “William Snow Autobiography”. Click on “View Text” and choose June 1850.


How many wagons were in the wagon train? Who died on June 21st?

There were 136 wagons. A 2-year-old child died from diarrhea.

Civil War (1861)

“Until this rebellion shall be put down.”

Activity: Click to Vermont in the Civil War. In the menu box at the top right, click on “Towns”. Find your town and click on it.

How many soldiers from your town went to fight in the Civil War?
34,238 Vermonters served in the Civil War. There were 63,781 families in Vermont at the time.

World War II (1942)

Activity: Click to “After the Day of Infamy”. Type “Vermont” into the search box. Click on “Dear Mr. President” Item 4.


What does Charles Bennett need to make his contribution to victory by increasing milk production possible?

Adequate labor, farm machinery, and milk prices that at least match the price of production.

The Civil Rights Movement (1961)

“The Freedom Rides had changed my life.”

Activity: Click to the Freedom Rider Diary.


Why was Stephen Green put in jail?

He had come down from Middlebury College to participate in a lunch counter sit-in.