Students - National History Day Mentoring Program

Welcome to the NHD Mentoring Program.  Our goal is to help you do the very best work you can on your National History Day project.  You should know that you are part of a global program and this year almost 500,000 students just like you will be conducting research and presenting their findings.  The contest is always very exciting but remember this:  no matter what level you compete at know that you are to be commended for your hard work and diligence. 

2014 Georgia NHD Scholars Institute at LaGrange College

June 24-28, 2014

Leadership and Legacy in History: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

We are proud to invite you to participate in our student scholar institute this summer which will focus on the life and legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Convening June 24, this institute will give you the opportunity to explore and life and legacy of President Roosevelt, develop a topic for your 2015 NHD project, conduct a program of preliminary research, meet with scholars, archivists and experts from across the country and visit historic sites in Georgia that are associated with the President.  You can learn more about the institute and begin the application process here!

Welcome to NHD 2014: Rights and Responsibilities in History!

We want to point out that there are some resources available to help you get started. Please look below to find the 2014 Themebook and Themesheet. National History Day also has a complete Rulebook that you can review as well. 

Getting Started

By reviewing the rule and theme books you've already started your NHD journey.  The next step is to have a look at NHD's 'Getting Started' Page.  Then, visit our NHD Library Guide .  You can also visit the Society of American Archivists National History Day and Archivists Page .

2014 Theme:  Rights and Responsibilities in History

The 2014 Theme Sheet
The 2014 Theme Book

This is a theme that has been used before and some wonderful organizations still have online resources available that you can consult.  Kick start the process and develop some ideas by looking at the following:

The LBJ Presidential Library's 'Rights and Responsibilities' Page .
The Ohio Historical Society's Guide to 'Rights and Responsibilities in History' Page .
The UTSA 'Rights and Responsibilities in History' Page .

Google Hangout Notes!

National History Day along with the National Endowment for the Humanities conducted a series of Hangouts dedicated to each contest category.  They've all been archived and can be accessed here.  We have also prepared notes from each hangout which you can read by clicking on your category.


They're well worth checking out!

School Desegregation and Civil Rights

The civil rights movement is a natural 'fit' for this year's theme.  The good folk at Lewis Library have prepared a Library Guide dedicated to the desegregation of schools and civil rights.  One of this guide's strengths is that it tries to provide information about school desegregation in Georgia but regionally as well.  Take a look here !

Additional Resources   

Primary Sources in US History.

The NHD website has a wonderful page that can link you to a variety of online primary source collections in US History.  If you have chosen a US History topic spend some time here !!

The National Archives has built a page dedicated to History Day Resources.  Visit it here!

The Georgia Historical Society has prepared a great guide to finding Primary Sources.  Take a look at: 'Where to Find Primary Sources'

Sources in Georgia History.  

Regional and local topics can be very powerful and successful NHD projects.  You can explore the possibilities in Georgia by visiting the following:

Digital Library of Georgia -  A gateway to Georgia's history and culture found in digitized books, manuscripts, photographs, government documents, newspapers, maps, audio, video, and other resources.   The collection currently totals over a million documents.  You can visit the library here.

Our Georgia resources also include -

The Georgia Historical Society
The New Georgia Encyclopedia
The Georgia Archives
The Northeast Georgia History Center
Coastal Georgia Historical Society
Historical Maps of Georgia
Historical Documents Related to Georgia
Georgia Counties

The University of Florida Digital Collections - The George Smathers Library hosts a digitized collection consisting of over 8 million pages.  The collections include a wide variety of material from literature and newspapers to oral history's by veterans.  Have a look here !

Oral History

An important tool used by researchers is oral history.  Here the voices of people can be heard.  Documents of state and even newspapers tend to focus on the policy makers and decision takers.  Oral history allows those most impacted by those decisions to be heard.  Their stories can be powerful tools in your NHD 'kit.'

An excellent guide to oral history has been prepared by the Minnesota Historical Society and can be found here .

H-Net Oral History Projects list
The National Archives Center for Legislative Archives
The National Archives/C-SPAN Richard Nixon Oral History Project
The Veterans History Project
The World War I Document Archive
Rutgers Oral History Archive
The Vietnam Center and Oral History Archive
National September 11th Memorial Oral History Archive
National World War II Museum Oral History Guidelines (great source of guidance if you're preparing to conduct an interview!)
Native American Oral History Collections - housed at the University of Florida

Contacting the Expert

The Chicago History Education center has a page dedicated to contacting the expert you wish to interview about your topic.  Have a look here .

Building an Entry

The heart and soul of any history day project is the thesis statement.  It is the fundamental point you wish to make. Building them requires time and effort.  When building one remember the general guidelines - 
  • Keep it short. Thesis statements should hover between 40-60 words. Too short, and there’s not enough information to explain the argument. Too long, and too many details have been included. Plus, if the students are creating an exhibit, and they only have 500 student-composed words to use, it doesn’t make sense to use up 100 of those words on just the thesis.
  • Include all five W’s. The thesis is the first thing the viewer reads, so we should know immediately the who-what-where-when, and also the why-is-this-important.
  • Include the theme words. Judges and teachers need to know how the topic relates to the theme, especially if the topic is obscure, extremely narrow, or isn’t immediately clear in its connection to the theme words.
  • Leave facts out, put arguments in. We don’t need to see every detail of the topic in the thesis. Leave those for the project itself. What we need to see in the thesis is the student’s argument, or the point he/she is trying to make.
  • Write, revise, research, revise. Students should not use the first draft of their thesis statement, but instead should revise based on feedback, go back to their research or conduct new research to make sure the thesis is accurate, and then revise once more.  (
The good folks at Minnesota National History Day also produced a really good video on the importance of the thesis statement.  Have a look here !

The staff of Lewis Library developed a Library Guide for LaGrange College Cornerstone students that introduces you to the basics of conducting research, proper citation and even avoiding plagiarism.  You might find this useful at various points in the building process.  Have a look here.

There are five categories you can choose from and information about each can be found below.

Website guide (Courtesy NHD Texas and NHD Washington) - Powerpoint presentation (loaded as a pdf) that introduces and reviews the Website category. 

Documentary - The guide to Documentary building can be found here .  Notice the page includes the 2009 junior individual documentary winner.    

Exhibits - The NHD Exhibit guide can be found here .  Notice it includes a national winner sample. 

Performance - The NHD Historical Performance guide can be found here .  Here's an example of an NHD winner from 2009.
Historical Paper - The NHD Paper guide can be found here .  It includes a link to a 2009 National winning paper. 

The Annotated Bibliography

The annotated bibliography is critical to every NHD project.  It is the story of your research.  Through it you tell your reader (teacher, parents and judges) the story behind your exhibit, website, documentary, paper or performance.  It must be organized, detailed, correctly formatted and complete.  Each entry must have an annotation that explains the source's thesis, place in the topic's scholarship and role it played in your work.  It can be daunting and intimidating! Fear not intrepid NHDer for the Lewis Library has come to your rescue!!!!  Joe Marciniak and Dr. Arthur Robinson have prepared a LibGuide on the Annotated Bibliography.  Check it out here!

Contact Information

Kevin Shirley
Program Coordinator
Phone 706-880-8033

Contact the Program
Phone 706-880-8174