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WKU History Department - History Detective Contest

History Detective Essay Contest

The WKU History Department is pleased to announce sponsorship of its first annual history “History Detective” Essay contest for Kentucky high school students. Instructions for applying to the contest and submitting an essay, based on prompt below and the attached sources, are on the main Essay Contests page.

EXTENDED DEADLINE:Applications and Essays are now due Friday, February 28.


Carefully review the four newspaper pages (see links to the right) that have had dates and some locations removed. You can zoom in on the images and words to see them more clearly.

Then, complete the following two steps:

  1. Using clues from within the newspaper itself, determine the exact date of this issue. You are free to use the internet to help with your reasoning. Then, as best you can, determine the location and, if possible, the name of the paper. Show your work! Provide clear explanations of how specific clues in the text or illustrations helped you to date, locate, and identify the paper. This section should be around 300 words (about one page double-spaced).
  1. Now, write an essay of 600-900 words (about 2-3 pages), explaining what this newspaper’s contents (be specific) have to teach us about America of that time and how it is different than today.

Both parts 1 and 2 should be in a single document that has been carefully proofread. Total length between 900-1200 words (Chicago style; pdf format)


Grading Criteria:

  • Level of precision in determining date, location, identity of the newspaper
  • Quality of explanation in reaching the conclusion about date, place, and paper
  • Clarity, accuracy and originality of what the newspaper’s contents reveal about America in that time and place
  • Quality of grammar and writing throughout the essay

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 Last Modified 1/22/20