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Interpreting the Evidence

John Brown Farm, North Elba, c. 1940

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    The Great Depression and WW II (1929 - 1945)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Civil War

  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    North Country
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load John Brown Farm, North Elba, c. 1940 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Home of abolitionist John Brown (1800-1859), North Elba, New York, in the Adirondack Mountains. Photograph taken circa 1940.
Historical Context
After John Brown's execution, his body was sent from Virginia to his farm in North Elba, New York, where he was buried.  He founded this farm to assist unfortunate African American men and lived there from 1849-1859.  Many years later, the bodies of his sons and followers who died in the raid were removed to the farm.  In 1895, the property was given to New York State, and a memorial was established, which includes the names of those buried at the farm.  The farm has become a State Historic Site and is open to the public.
Essential Question
How do individuals influence a culture and society?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain how John Brown influenced American culture and society.
Historical Challenges
Research the details of John Brown’s fight against slavery. What made him such an active abolitionist?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a persuasive essay arguing why John Brown’s farm should be considered a National Historic Landmark.