Social Studies

“The passengers of the First and Second Class are requested not to throw money or eatables to the steerage passengers, thereby creating disturbance and annoyance.” — Shipboard Notice, circa 1860

Lesson Plans

Discuss the Great Depression through food purchases on the Hudson River Line. (Grades 9-12)
Teach students the history of immigration and disease in the late 19th c & early 20th c. and create an interactive information source.
(Grades 9-12)
Learn about Italian immigration to Providence, RI on the Fabre Line.
(Grades 9-12)
Learn the difference between primary and secondary source through the first black owned and operated steamship company, the Black Star Line.
(Grades 6 – 8, 9 – 12, college-level)
Learn about racial tensions in early 1940s Detroit, the fight to desegregate the SS Columbia, and the role of Thurgood Marshall.
(Grades 9-12)

Other Topics to Explore

Read about class differences of passengers.
Learn about Charles Dickens’ experiences traveling to America on a steamship.
View photographs documenting immigration to Ellis Island.

Secondary Sources

Click here to download the pdf of Lorraine Coons and Alexander Varias, Tourist Third Cabin: Steamship Travel in the Interwar Years, “‘The Soul of a Ship’: Experience and Life of ‘Below-Deck’ Personnel” (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003).

Click here to download the pdf of Coons and Varias, Tourist Third Class, “‘Traveling Palace’ or ‘Floating Sweatshop’: The Experiences of Women Seafarers”

Additional Resources on Social Studies

Rhode Tour Teaching – “The Dorr Rebellion” and “Industrial Heritage Along the Woonasquatucket.” The GSEs for Social Studies are approved by the Rhode Island Department of Education and are broken down into four categories: Civics and Government, Historical Perspectives, Geography, and Economics.

View the Rhode Island Historical Society’s lesson plans.

Sunday on the River (1961) by Gordon Hitchens and Ken Resnick. 30 min. Photographed in part on the Alexander Hamilton showing charted outings by Harlem church congregations.  Click here to view Part I and Part II of the film.

Byron S. Miller, Sail, Steam, and Splendour: A Picture History of Life Aboard the Transatlantic Liners (New York: Times Books, 1977).