T H E   M A R K E T P L A C E


  • In this activity, students will:
    • Discuss the difference between primary and secondary source documents
    • Examine and interpret a primary source document
    This activity is coordinated with the following MSPAP outcomes:
    • Reading Outcome:

      Students will demonstrate their ability to construct, extend, and examine meaning for a variety of texts by using strategic behavior and integrating both their prior knowledge and reading and topic familiarity.

    • Social Studies Outcomes:

      • Students will demonstrate an ability — individually or as part of a group — to gather information, think critically, and solve problems as needed to facilitate responsible decision-making, to understand complex ideas, and to generate new ideas.

        Grades K - 3: Obtain and use relevant information by reading, asking questions, observing, and listening; interact with others in groups to achieve common goals.

        Grades 4 - 5: Obtain, interpret, organize, and use information from reading, asking questions, observing, and listening; participate in a group in a variety of roles, such as leader, follower, member, encourager, facilitator, and recorder.

      • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the history, diversity, and commonality of the peoples of the world, the reality of human interdependence, the need for global cooperation, and a multicultural perspective.

        Grades K - 3: Explain how people from different cultures share common wants and needs; examine how people develop cultures through interaction with the environment and with other cultures.

        Grades 4 - 5: Analyze the characteristics of various cultures as evidenced in the development of Maryland and the U.S.


    In history, primary source documents are original, unedited documents created at a certain point, and are used to analyze the events that surrounded their creation. They can include public documents, such as legislation, broadsides (large sheets of paper printed on one side, the forerunners of today's newspapers), pamphlets, and newspaper articles, as well as private documents, such as letters and diaries. Secondary source documents, such as textbooks, contain interpretations of an event.

    In this activity, students will analyze a primary source document — a list of businesses in the city of Frederick in 1798 — to see what it says about the culture from which it emerged.


    1. Preparation: Duplicate copies of Worksheet C for members of your class. Gather information sources, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries for class use.

    2. Discuss with students the difference between primary source and secondary source documents in examining historical events. Ask them to select an historical event from a current unit of study to analyze. If they were historians writing an article about this event, what kinds of primary and secondary source documents might they look at? Continue this discussion by looking at a current event of local, state, or national importance. Direct students to brainstorm a list of both primary and secondary documents that might exist for historians in the future to use in analyzing this event. Record their impressions on the board.

    3. Pair or group students to work on the second part of this activity. Direct them to read over the list and highlight or circle the names of any of the occupations for which they do not know the meaning. List these names on the board. Distribute reference sources and assign each pair or group a term to define. Ask them to share their research with the group, allowing each student a chance to fill in the description column on their chart completely.

    4. Pairs or groups should then fill in the final column in the chart, putting a check mark next to the businesses that they might expect to find in a city such as Frederick today.

    5. Once the charts have been completed, draw the class back together to discuss the following points. Assign several students to record ideas and impressions each group offers.

      • What services and businesses might people need every day? Which ones would they use only once in a while?

      • Why have some of the businesses in Frederick in 1798 disappeared?

      • What businesses do they not see on the list that they would expect to see in a city such as Frederick today? Why?

      • What kinds of things does the list tell them about the way people lived their lives in Frederick in 1798? (For example, what kinds of transportation did people use? What kinds of clothing did they wear? What kinds of foods could they purchase in a store? Which occupation(s) was (were) the most numerous? Why do they think this is so?)

      • What does this list tell them about the size and structure of the city of Frederick at this time? Do they think other towns in the area may have had the same resources? What about other cities in the region? Would they have expected Frederick to have developed this way, given its place on major crossroads of activity?

    6. As a concluding activity, have students use the information from their charts and discussions to sketch a street view of what the business district of Frederick may have looked like during this time.


    The following is a list of business and industries in the city of Frederick in 1798, more than 200 years ago. It was published in a sketch of Frederick in a 1798 issue of The Key, a local newspaper.


    Number Description Today?
     Tobacconist 2

     Blacksmith 15

     Saddlers 11

     Joiners 16

     Combmakers 2

     Shoemakers 29

     Weavers 12

     Worker in paste 1

     Wagon makers 5

     Tavern keepers Several

     Hatters 11

     Stocking weavers 3

     Gunsmiths 5

     Nailers 3

     Tailors 13

     Stores and shops 34

     Painters 3

     Portrait painter 1

     Masons 13

     Skinners 2

     Tanners 6

     Curriers 2

     Printers 3

     Clock and Watch Makers 2

     Silversmith 1

     Coppersmiths 4

     Tinners 4

     Butchers 6

     Wheelwrights 3

     Chair makers 3

     Harness maker 1

     Potters 4

     Leather breehes makers &

     Apothecaries 2

     Brewers 2

     Well-digger 1

     Barbers 5

     Cabinetmakers 2

     Pump maker 1

     Saddle tree makers 2

     Brick master 1

     Bakers 9

     Carpenters 5

     Turners 2

     Cooper 1

     Whitesmith 1

     Redmakers 2

     Distillers 2

     Miller 2

     Heel maker 2

     Bluedyers 2

     (a variant of plasterers)


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