Praise from across the Blogosphere

From educator Lisa Kapp (2016):

From Winterset (IA) Citizen online (June 3, 2015)

“The House Divided Project at Dickinson College is one of several notable digital initiatives that offer new and free ways for K-12 educators and others to study subjects like the Underground Railroad.” 



From John Fea at The Way of Improvement Leads Home (March 11, 2014)

“House Divided is a model digital project for a small liberal arts college.  [Matthew] Pinsker is working together with the college IT staff, archivists, instructional media experts, and dozens of Dickinson students to make this project happen.  Outside of Dickinson, the project has partnered with the Motorola Foundation, The Journal of American History, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Civil War Museum, Cumberland County Visitors Bureau, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, among others. The site includes over 12,000 images, 10,000 primary documents, videos, and a blog.”


From Meg in History at Fun With History (February 19, 2011):

“I just keep stumbling upon new great history-geared blogs, and how can I not share them with you. This blog, Blog Divided, is “for anyone teaching or studying the House Divided Era, 1840-1880.” Well, I know lots of students and amateur historians (as well as professional ones) love to study, talk, and argue about the Civil War and the years leading up to and following it. Based on my initial skimming of the blog, this one seems to do the trick. Plus it has some great links as well. It’s based on an interesting project at Dickinson College.”


From Dr. Jonathan Rees at “More or Less Bunk” (August 2, 2010):

“So, instead, let me tell what I was doing most of the day. I was watching Matt Pinsker from Dickinson College (who’s here for the week) talk about slavery and he’s got some incredible resources on slavery and the Civil War up over at his place. The visuals at their site on the Dred Scott case, which is actually hosted at Gilder-Lehrman, are particularly good. The picture above is of Dred Scott’s mark (he was illiterate) on his original lawsuit. What a great way to illustrate that point! If the mid-19th century falls within your teaching realm, you should definitely check all this stuff out.”


From Mystery Blog (March 31, 2010):
“…an excellent resource for students and educators interested in understanding and teaching the Civil War. Through House Divided, visitors encounter a wide range of historical events, people and resources…Visually, House Divided is an excellent website with lots of images including portraits, interactive maps and virtual field trips that utilize Google Earth , images of nineteenth-century newspapers etc.”


From Civil War Interactive, Naming Blog Divided as part of the Best of the Civil War Blogs (February 17, 2010):

“This attractive site is a project of Dickinson College (Pennsylvania), devoted to a somewhat wider span of time than is usual for “Civil War” blogs. They call it the “House Divided Period” and are open to discussion of any events between around 1840 and 1880. The intent of the operators is to generate teaching aids for educators of any level. Comments are open and readers are not required to register or login to post. Comment moderation is apparently invoked only if misbehavior arises. Looks to be a valuable asset for history teachers, who often feel somewhat isolated at their individual schools.”


From Dr. James Beeghley at Teaching the Civil War With Technology (December 1, 2009):

Nominated “Blog Divided” for 2009 EduBlog Awards for “Best Resource Sharing Blog”


From Ann Tracy Mueller at Lincoln Buff 2 (September 30, 2009):

“You’ll want to be sure to check out the section, “Building the Digital Lincoln,” made possible thanks to a partnership between the Journal of American History and the House Divided Project at Dickinson College. This nifty article tells you everything you ever wanted to know about doing Lincoln research in the digital age. As I told Dr. Pinsker when a friend first shared it with me, “WOW!” It’s truly unbelievable how much Lincoln material is available right from the comfort of you computer. You’ll want to save it as a favorite and go to it often. I know I will. Thanks JAH and Dr. Pinsker. Great stuff!”


From Benjamin Stone at United States History at Stanford University (September 30, 2009):

“…the Journal of American History has partnered with the House Divided Project at Dickinson College, under the direction of Professor Matthew Pinsker to create a fascinating web resource titled “Building the Digital Lincoln.”


From Matt Karlson at Teaching American History at SW Washington (September 11, 2009):

“Having encountered the Building the Digital Lincoln site, I got curious about what else has been posted by Dickinson College’s House Divided project. I think there is much here of value to teachers!… The Underground Railroad Digital Classroom features many lesson plans, written by university historians and teachers, at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. There are virtual field trips using Google Earth, Sketch-Up, and video. There are links to wonderful documents….The House Divided website, while a work in progress, is a rich resource as is.”


From Josh Stecker at A History Teacher’s Blog (June 8,2009)

“The Ultimate Civil War Resource: Dickinson College’s House Divided website endeavors to be the most complete digital archive of the U.S. Civil War. They’ve got it all. Entering the site will automatically give you data for the events of exactly 150 years ago – events, documents, letters, even birthdays of prominent (and not-so-prominent) people, most with informative biographies and great images. The 150th anniversary of the war is coming up, so needless to say this tool will be invaluable in U.S. History classrooms.”





Project Launches to Public Acclaim

Civil War Carlisle

The House Divided Project made its official launch on the weekend of April 15 – 16, 2011 as part of a series of events designed to commemorate the beginning of the Civil War 150th anniversary. The launch weekend included a documentary film festival, K-12 teacher workshop, augmented reality walking tours of Civil War Carlisle, and a keynote address by noted historian David Blight from Yale University.


Click on the link below to watch the video




Press coverage from the House Divided Project launch:

Dickinson College Magazine

“Acclaimed House Divided web site uses new technology and a Dickinson lens to teach Civil War History.” Click here for the full article

Dickinson College News & Events Features

“Held  the week that the nation marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, the launch included a film festival, an interactive teachers’ workshop, app-assisted tours of a major Underground Railroad site and a lecture by a nationally noted historian.” Click here for the full article

Harrisburg Patriot-News, April 15, 2011

“Among places with a story are the Old Cumberland County Courthouse in Carlisle, where Dickinson College this weekend will kick off its Civil

War 150th initiative, House Divided, a project five years in the making.”

Click here for the full article

Carlisle Sentinel, April 16, 2011

“The trio of films, created as part of the House Divided Project the college has initiated for the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, told the stories of three very different men with very different backgrounds and their very different experiences during the Civil War.” Click here for the full article

How can I quickly find all the articles on House Divided from a specific newspaper?

Look for “Title,” change “Contains any word” to “Contains,” and enter the newspaper title. (See a screenshot of the correct settings of a search for the New York Times)


As House Divided tries to include at least one document on every day, the project draws content from a number of different newspapers. While

a complete list of newspapers used on the project is not yet available, you can click on one of the newspaper titles below to see all the articles

Where can I find Public Domain Civil War Era Music?

John Brown Song

While music is an important part to any documentary, it can be difficult to find free (and legal) music to download. Listed below are a few sites and selected Civil War Era music from their collections. Also check out House Divided’s public domain music and sound effects.


Band Music from the Civil War Era (Library of Congress Music Division)

Civil War Music – Primary Source Set (Library of Congress )

Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project (University of California – Santa Barbara)

Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project Collections

Musopen (Non-Profit Organization)

How can I create maps on Google Maps?

Google Maps allows users to make their own maps, such as this collection from  House Divided. This FAQ will review the basic steps to create a map on Google Maps.

You can always learn more about how to use Google Maps through their user guide.  Or we have created a short video tutorial that you might find even more effective for learning how to create custom-made history-oriented maps on your own.

Creating maps on Google Maps

1. LogIn – If you have a Google account, go to Google Maps and login. If not, you will need to create one in order to make a map.
2. Create Map -Look for the “My Maps” link on left side of the page, which is located directly below the Google Maps logo. After clicking on that link, you can create a new map. All of the maps you create will appear here in the left column.
3. Privacy Options – If you don’t want your map to be public, select the “unlisted” option for your map.
4. Collaborate After you create a map, click on the “Collaborate” to invite other people with Google Accounts to help work on the map. You can learn more about this feature on Google’s user guide.

How can I search House Divided for specific image types?

Users can search House Divided’s Image Collection by one of the 12  image types. While on the image collection page, look for “Type” and select one of the image types from the drop down menu.

Alternatively you can exclude a specific image type from a search. For example, you could search for “Lincoln” and

prevent title page images from appearing in search results. While on the image collection page, Look for “Type” and –

  • Change “Is one of” to “Is none of”
  • Select image type that you want to exclude from the drop down menu

House Divided’s Image Collection includes the following image types –

C-SPAN Features Journal Divided on Class Episode

“American History TV” on C-SPAN 3 featured an episode inside the classroom

of House Divided Project co-director Matthew Pinsker. C-SPAN cameras followed Pinsker as he led a discussion about Abraham Lincoln and the election of 1860 for a class at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. During the session, Pinsker premiered a documentary short film recently created for Journal Divided. “Honest Abe” is one of six videos created to support new interactive essays based on excerpts from the unedited manuscript of Michael Burlingame’s Abraham Lincoln: A Life (2008). Other essays include “,” “Railsplitter,” and “Make No Contracts.”

You can watch the full 75-minute episode on C-SPAN’s website.

Where can I find Images for Documentaries?

Images are a critical part of any documentary. Listed below are several sites where you can find images to use in your documentaries.

Selected Sites – Images for Documentaries

– Visitors can quickly search the entire catalog of images or by specific collection. These collections cover a wide variety of topics, including Cartoon Drawings, Civil War Photographs, Fenton Crimean War Photographs, and Wright Brothers Negatives. If available download the image as a TIFF file for best quality.
Library of Congress Map Collection – Visitors can search the entire collection or by specific map type (i.e. Cities and Towns ; Discovery and Exploration ; Military Battles and Campaigns ; Transportation and Communication , etc) .
New York Public Library Digital Gallery Over 700,000 images from the New York Public Library’s collections are available through this digital gallery. One can search the entire gallery, by category (Cities & Buildings, Industry & Technology, etc) , or by a specific collection (, Early Landscape Photography of the American West, etc)
Flickr Commons Over 50 institutions, including the Library of Congress and the National Archives, have added images to this collection. Click here to see a list of institutions that have participated in Flickr Commons. All of the images in this collection have “no known copyright restrictions.”

Flickr Commons – Civil War Era Images

Listed below are

several institutions that have Civil War era material available on Flickr Commons.

Cornell University Library – Political Americana This collection contains a variety of material (including artifacts, photographs, prints, posters) related to US politics.
Library of Congress – Abraham Lincoln While only a small set, curators have selected images of Abraham Lincoln from different periods of his life as well as photographs of family members.
SMU Central University Libraries – Civil War Photographs . This collection includes cartes-de-visite of Civil War soldiers and generals. The full digital collection is available here.
U.S. National Archives – Mathew Brady Civil War Photographs Over 6,000 images from this collection have been digitzed. You can browse the images by subject, including Appomattox, Camp Scenes, Richmond, and Washington, DC.

Does House Divided have any sound effects available? (Updated)

A key part of any documentary is the audio component. The following files are some of the sound effects from House Divided’s music library. This post provides an overview of other sites where you can download public domain music and sound effects.

House Divided’s Music Library – Sound Effects

Right click on the link and select save as to download the mp3 file.

Does House Divided have any public domain music available?

A key part of any documentary is the audio component. The following files are part of House Divided’s music library. This post provides an overview of other sites where you can download public domain music.


House Divided’s Music Library

Right click on the link and select save as to download the mp3 file.


  • “Dixie Band” –  Download (Credit – Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project at UC Santa Barbara) )
  • “Dixie Fife” – Part 1 ; Part 2 (Credit – Cylinder

    Preservation and Digitization Project at UC Santa Barbara) )

  • “Free and Easy” – Part 1 ; Part 2 ; Part 3 ; Part 4 (Credit – Library of Congress)
  • “Lily Bell” – Download (Credit – Library of


  • “Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 2 No. 1 – II. Adagio” – Download (Credit –
  • “Sonata No. 2 non ‘Funeral March’, Op. 35 – III” – Download (Credit – Library of Congress)
  • “Sousa, Queen of the Sea” – Download (Credit – Library of Congress)