Undergraduate Carthage College students in Professor Eric Pullin’s historical methods course used CRL primary source materials for their research papers, focusing on the history of the Cold War.
Pullin observed that “All of these papers were quite good, but three, which relied most heavily upon materials from CRL stood out as exemplary: one written about the Cuban Missile Crisis, another about political decision making during the Vietnamese war, and a third about American anti-Communism.” Students were able to use essential primary sources including U.S. Foreign Office Files on Vietnam and Cuba, Soviet Communist Party Plenum documents, and The Korea Times from 1956 to 1960. The instructor reports that “In course evaluations, [students] noted that access to CRL materials was the highlight of the course. By working with materials that are not commonly used by other undergraduates, the Carthage students felt that they were making unique contributions to scholarship.”
Pullin first encountered CRL’s depth of mid-20th century primary resource materials when researching for his book on relations between the United States, India, and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He notes, “As I looked more into CRL’s collections, I discovered [a particular concentration of] materials relevant to researching the Cold War.”
Pullin plans to assign use of CRL materials to upcoming courses. He notes the impact of using primary documents: “Students certainly like the convenience of digital sources, but they also genuinely appreciated the ’hands-on’ ability to work with dusty documents. One commented that it made her feel like she was actually touching history.”