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National History Day: Home

Resources from the Science History Institute: Digital Collections, Museum collections, Archival collections, and the Othmer Library's collections.

National History Day 2019 Theme Narrative

The theme narrative for the 2019 National History Day competition is "Triumph & Tragedy in History." The history of science is filled with stories of triumph and tragedy that highlight the human side of science and the significance and impact of the discoveries and inventions that have shaped our world. Many of these stories are told through the Science History Institute's collections, including the banning of DDT, nuclear science and the development of the atomic bomb, food and drug regulation, and chemical warfare and World War I. In addition, the historical biographies of notable scientists like Rachel Carson, Marie Curie, Louis Pasteur, and others are filled with triumphs and tragedies both personal and professional. Resources related to these topics, including digitized materials, are explored in greater detail throughout this guide. 

About National History Day

"National History Day is a year-long academic program focused on historical research, interpretation and creative expression for 6th- to 12th-grade students. By participating in NHD, students become writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights and artists as they create unique contemporary expressions of history. The experience culminates in a series of contests at the local and affiliate levels and an annual national competition in the nation's capital in June."

The Science History Institute and Our Collections

The Science History Institute is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We are a museum, library, and center for research focused on the history of science with the core of our collections dealing with the history of chemistry and related topics. 

Primary versus Secondary Research Materials

Primary sources are materials that provide a firsthand account or evidence of a subject. Primary sources are generally contemporary (occurring at the same time). They can be documents, letters, manuals, brochures, photographs, objects, oral histories, and contemporary published books and articles. 

Secondary sources are materials that analyze and interpret a subject. They can be encyclopedias, histories, and biographies which can be in book, article, or website format.