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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Creative Americans

[Detail] Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald by Carl Van Vechten

Historical Research Capabilities

Because the majority of Van Vecthen's portraits are of lesser-known artists, this collection lends itself to numerous research projects. Students have only to browse the collection until they find someone they would like to learn more about. There are also many better-known individuals whom students are unlikely to be familiar with, such as Erskine Caldwell, Mary Martin, Paul Robeson, and Marsden Hartley. Teachers may compile a list of people who are likely to make good subjects for a research project. The emphasis of research can vary from the individual's biography to his or her relationship to the historical, artistic, cultural, and political backgrounds in which he or she worked. Older students can use caption information such as titles, places, dates, and names to begin research of the historical and artistic movements outlined in the U.S. History section, including modern dance, theatre, visual art, or writing.