National History Day / Texas History Day Research Resources

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) offers this annual National History Day guide for educators and students seeking information and primary sources at the State Archives. The Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) coordinates the Texas History Day educational program each year as part of National History Day, with a state-level contest held in April and culminating in a national fair for winners from state affiliates. Throughout the school year, students work individually or in groups on a project requiring historical research on a topic related to the theme. Students acquire essential research skills and a more in-depth understanding of what primary sources are and where to find them as they write papers, produce documentaries, or construct exhibits. Libraries and archives provide the essential building blocks participants need to achieve their goals and we are pleased to support the students’ efforts. In addition, we are associated with the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB), who offers a competitive award for both junior and senior divisions.

The next Texas History Day is scheduled for TBD.

For more information on the state and national contests:

Texas History Day: (Texas State Historical Association)
National History Day:

Logo with the text Texas History Day and a stylized blue armadillo on top


2021-2022 National History Day Resources Available at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC)      Texas Digital Archive  The Texas Digital Archive (TDA) provides access to our electronic records collections. This includes electronic and digitized state agencies’ records. TDA collections include photographs, Civil War muster rolls, signed laws, fire insurance maps, historical marker files, Governor Rick Perry records, papers on women’s rights, and more.  Access the TDA:   Online Collections & Exhibits  Online collections and exhibits, organized around themes from Texas history, highlight primary source materials from our collections, including original documents, maps, photographs, letters, and artifacts.  Online collections: Exhibits:   Map Database  Our map collection contains general maps of Texas, the United States, and Mexico; city and county maps; world atlases; maps detailing state resources; and plans of forts and other sites. Maps in this and other collections date from the early 1600s to present. Some maps have been digitized and are available to view and download through the database; other maps must be viewed on site.  Explore the map database:   Descriptive Guides  Descriptive guides, also known as finding aids, help researchers to understand, access, and use archival holdings. The guides include information on the creator of the records, purpose of the records series, material types, subjects and dates covered, and box and folder listings.  Browse descriptive guides for our collections:         Communication in History: The Key to Understanding  Texas Revolution Letters and Speeches Tejano Voices in Texas History Hands that Built Texas: The Texas Writers’ Project Beyond Juneteenth: Securing African American Rights Mansfield Desegregation Crisis Samuel F. B. Morse and the Telegraph Texas Stories in Early Prints and Photographs Selling Texas through Postcards and Maps Don’t Mess with Texas State Campaigns Texas Women Speak: Activists and Politicians Reading for All: The Texas Talking Book Program Mail Trails: Butterfield Overland Mail   Texas Newspapers  Our collections include newspapers on microfilm, original print newspapers, and online newspaper subscriptions.  More information is available on our Newspaper Research webpage:   Library Catalog  Books, periodicals, Texas and U.S. government publications, and some archival materials may be found by searching the catalog. While many of the items in our collections may be borrowed through the interlibrary loan program, please note that some items do not circulate and are available for on-site use only.  Search our catalog:       Search more:	Learn more:  Questions?: | 512-463-5455

Download Flyer (PDF)

National History Day 2021 -22 Theme:

Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences

Sample Topics and Related Collections at the State Archives

Our curated list of topics connected to the current National History Day theme offers a starting point for delving into the extensive collections at the Texas State Library and Archives. As the central repository for the archives of the Texas government, our materials naturally support researchers interested in the history of the state. (Note: Texas History Day topics do not necessarily have to relate to Texas history, but students researching Texas history should find our collections worth investigating.) Many of our original documents are already available for viewing online and available to download for research purposes. Download the flyer for links to a range of access points and list of the links below.

Check with our reference staff for details on how to find out more about your topics of interest.

Online Exhibits and Digital Collections related to this year’s topic:

Texans' Struggle for Freedom and Equality

Native American Relations in Texas

19th Century African American Legislators

The Story of the Texas Navy

Women Win the Right to Vote

Texas Annexation: 1836 -1845

Triumph and Tragedy: Presidents of the Republic

Life in Texas During the Civil War

Recordings of the Texas Senate

Texans Take to the Trenches

George Washington Smyth papers

Finding Aids for State Archives Collections related to this year’s topic:

Republic of Texas Treaties 

George Washington Smyth papers

Reference and Research Assistance from the State Archives

Contact reference staff for assistance at or 512-463-5455.

Help with Research Methods and Primary Sources

National History Day and Archives Toolkit (Society of American Archivists/National History Day)

National History Day Resources (National Archives)

Getting Started with Primary Sources (Library of Congress)

Texas History Day Special Award (THRAB)

Established in 2016, the purpose of the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board's (THRAB) Best Use of Texas Archival Collections award is to encourage the use of historical records as primary sources created in Texas or held in a Texas repository in support of National History Day in Texas. The awards are intended to recognize junior and senior division projects that utilize archival collections in a substantive way. 

Back to Top

Page last modified: June 14, 2022