National History Day

Congratulations on choosing to take part in National History Day! Spencer Research Library is open to all researchers, including middle and high school students and teachers working on History Day projects.
Black-and-white photograph of a teacher and students sitting at desks in a group. Two students are raising their hands.
Mrs. Evelyn Harper, former principal of the African American Lincoln Elementary School in Atchison, Kansas, teaching a class at Atchison Grade School, 1955. Call Number: RH MS-P 671.

Student researchers have access to large, rich, and diverse collections of primary sources at Spencer. These materials include letters and diaries, photographs, maps, newspapers and other periodicals, and books about historical events written at the time they occurred or shortly thereafter.

Researching a local topic, event, person, or group? Well-documented at Spencer is the regional history of Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas, and the Great Plains. Spencer Research Library is also home to KU's University Archives, the repository for the records documenting the history of the University of Kansas.

Not researching a topic about U.S. history? No problem! At Spencer, students can discover primary sources from all over the world - especially continental Europe, the United Kingdom, and Ireland -  without leaving town.

Additionally, Spencer librarians are available to help History Day students and teachers in a variety of ways. We can:

  • Work with individual students and project groups or assist a larger class.
  • Meet with students at school (Lawrence and surrounding area only) or at Spencer Research Library.
  • Meet with students and/or teachers once or more than once.
  • Provide an overview of Spencer Research Library and its collections.
  • Provide students with opportunities to practice reading, analyzing, and interpreting primary sources through guided hands-on activities.
  • Help locate and interpret primary sources at Spencer Research Library, within KU Libraries' general collections, at other libraries and archives, and online.
  • Help locate and interpret secondary sources, including books, scholarly articles, and databases available at KU Libraries.
  • Provide digital scans of materials in Spencer’s holdings.

We're excited to help you with your History Day project! For more information, please contact Caitlin Donnelly Klepper, Head of Public Services, at or 785-864-4456.

History Day Contact