Week 5 – October 3

Primary Sources in the Digital Age

Finding and using primary sources. What is a primary source? How are they digitized? Where can you find them? How do you read them?

Before Class:

Please read the following primary sources. We will discuss these in class and relate them to last-week’s article “Insanity and the Unwritten Law.”

  • L. Ray, “The Insanity of Women Produced by Desertion or Seduction,” American Journal of Insanity 23, (1866): pp 263-274. [available on Archive.org: https://archive.org/stream/americanjournalo2318amer#page/n279/mode/2up]
  • Please read the testimony of two medical experts during the trial of Mary Harris.
    • Official Report of the Trial of Mary Harris: Indicted for the Murder of Adoniram J. Burroughs, Before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, (sitting as a Criminal Court,) Monday, July 3, 1865 (available on Google Books)
      • To the Public – page 2.
      • Testimony of Dr. Calvin M. Fitch – direct and cross, pp. 49-53
      • Testimony of Dr. Charles H. Nichols – direct and cross, pp. 72-80.

Blog Assignment:

Blog Post #2 due Saturday, October 8th by 5pm. Your post should be 400-500 words; written in a semi-formal scholarly style (with complete thoughts and correct spelling, grammar, and syntax). Please include citations in Chicago Style and hyperlink to digital sources where available. Partial responses (including responses that fail to meet the minimum word length or clearly fail to answer the prompt) will receive partial credit. Late posts will lose points per the course policy.

Prompt: Search the web for primary and secondary sources related to one or more of the trials you discussed in your first blog post. Please craft an essay that discusses:

  1. Your trial(s) and what you know about them;
  2. The initial research you’ve done on your trial(s);
  3. How has your interest in the topic(s) changed or evolved since your last blog post?;
  4. The available secondary sources, papers or books about your topic; does your topic have a Wikipedia page? If yes, then please include an evaluation of the Wikipedia page in your blog post, either by comparison to the secondary source you found or as an additional section;
  5. The available primary sources for your topic; and
  6. Any initial questions you have about this topic and how these sources will help you answer them.