LEARN FROM HOME
Look Closely: Discover History Through Photographs
One way historians learn about a historical era is to examine primary documents and sources – first-hand records – from that time. Newspaper articles, government reports and letters are important primary sources, but we think photographs are the most fun primary sources to examine. They provide visual evidence of a time period that can expand your understanding of it – and help you really picture history.
That’s why we’re sharing these photo collections. Each uses pictures to tell a story about Lower East Side life in the early 1900s. Your job? Put on your historian glasses and examine each photo. What do you see? What do you notice about the people in the picture and the setting? What objects are in the photo? What clues in the picture tell you something about the time period?
You’ll be amazed by what you discover when you look closely!
Jewish Traditions on the Lower East Side
Eastern European immigrants find religious freedom in America
These photos provide documentary evidence of some of the ways Jewish immigrants expressed their religious traditions, and ways they changed on the Lower East Side. Examine each photo carefully, taking note of the people and objects pictured, and make a guess about what might be happening based on clues in the picture. Then, click on the “More About This Picture” box to see how your evidence-based guesses stack up against the picture’s backstory.
Goodbye, Eastern Europe. Hello, America!
Jewish immigrants make new lives on the Lower East Side
These photos provide documentary evidence of what it was like for Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe as they arrived in America and settled on the Lower East Side. Examine each photo carefully, taking note of the people and objects pictured and making a guess about what might be happening based on clues in the picture. Then, click on the image to see how your evidence-based guesses stack up against the picture’s backstory.