National History Day

DPLA is proud to be a part of National History Day, a series of contests in which students present research projects related to a historical theme that they’ve developed using primary and secondary sources. Containing millions of primary and secondary sources, DPLA is the perfect complement to National History Day. The page below contains information and resources related to our efforts to increase access to DPLA resources for National History Day students. Questions? Email us at

2019 Theme: Triumph and Tragedy in History

The 2019 National History Day theme is “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” Students should begin their research with secondary sources to gain a broader context, then progress to finding primary sources, and finally make an argument about the effects of a topic in history. Below are selected National History Topics from the 2019 Theme Book and corresponding sample search results, Primary Source Sets, and Exhibitions available via DPLA.

United States History Sample Topics

The Winter of Valley Forge: Triumph and Tragedy in the Continental Army

The Missouri Compromise: Unable to Hold Off the Tragedy of the Civil War

Salem Witch Trials

Mormon Migration to Utah

Chicago: America’s Second City

Hudson River Valley School: Triumph of Nature

The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Transcontinental Railroad

American Settlers Versus Native Americans

Reconstruction: Tragedy Follows Triumph

Alice Paul and the Woman Suffrage Movement

European History Samples Topics

Treaty of Versailles: Triumph or Tragedy?

Emmeline Pankhurst and her Struggle for Suffrage in Great Britain

Christopher Columbus: Triumph or Tragedy?

The German U-Boats in the Battle of the Atlantic

The Marshall Plan: Economic Reconstruction of Europe

The Easter Rising: The Triumphs and Tragedies of a Rebellion

World History Sample Topics

Emperor Meiji’s Modernization of Japan

Spanish Influenza: The Tragedy of a Deadly Virus in Wartime

Iran Hostage Crisis

Philippine-American War

About National History Day