National History Day: Research Resources at the State Archives

The Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) coordinates the Texas History Day educational program each year as the state affiliate for National History Day (NHD). Students in Texas begin their research in the fall on a topic related to the theme announced by National History Day organizers. Participants will then enter regional contests leading up to the statewide event in April, with winners moving on to the national level to compete against contestants from other states in Washington, D.C. Through this history-focused program, students learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills and how to conduct library and archival research. Those of us in the research library and archives community encourage the use of our collections and aim to assist students as they navigate the inventories, catalogs, finding aids, and myriad of tools available for locating source material. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) recently partnered with TSHA with the workshop, “Teaching with Primary Sources” and TSLAC reference staff offer a resource page each year. In addition, the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) offers a special award in the junior and senior categories worth two hundred dollars.

TSHA produced a video that captures what it means to the students who participate in this educational program:

As mentioned, TSLAC reference staff offers an annual NHD guide and webpage for educators and students seeking information and primary sources at the State Archives at, where the handout is available for download.

This curated list of topics connected to the current NHD 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 relate to Texas History, but students researching Texas History should find our collections useful.) Many of our original documents are already available for viewing online and available to download for research purposes. Check with our reference staff for details on how to find out more about your topics of interest and how to use our guides.

Reference and Research Assistance from the State Archives Contact reference staff for assistance at or 512-463-5455.

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