While it is possible, I suppose, to teach social studies and history without primary sources, it’s probably not a good idea. And while there are more and more places to find primary sources, it can still be difficult to track down stuff that you can use.
It’s can be especially difficult finding newspapers.
Enter Google News.
Google News is already an awesome tool for finding resources for current events around the world. But if you know where to look, Google News is also great for finding old newspapers for use in your instruction.
Go to news.google.com.
Enter your search term in the search box. (I was looking for contemporary accounts of the Battle of Gettysburg.)
On the right side of the search box, you’ll see a small black triangle. Clicking the triangle brings up the Advanced Search.
Scroll down through the different advanced search terms to “Date added” and click the drop down menu. Select “Specified Dates.” Then enter the dates you’re interested in – I selected May 1, 1863 to December 31, 1863.
After hitting search, you’ll get a list of Google results.
After selecting one of the links, you get a PDF version of the newspaper. You can then browse the article by dragging around with your mouse or track pad. You can also move around in your article / newspaper by using the navigation pane on the right-hand side of your screen.