From its humble origins as a one-day event first held on the campus of Case Western University in Ohio in 1974, National History Day has grown into a global academic phenomenon in which over 600,000 students in grades 6-12 produce original works of historical analysis. Students present their research in a variety of media, including websites, documentary films, dramatic performances and research papers, competing in local and regional competitions to advance to the national finals held each June in Washington, D.C.
The organization has been called “National History Day” since its founding, but the name that once reflected the ambition of it founders now understates the true scope of the enterprise. Not only are there National History Day events in each of the 50 U.S states, there are now chapters in Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and a growing number of East Asian countries. With each new school that joins the ranks, and each new student who discovers and unlocks a passion for the study of history, National History Day furthers its stated goal of teaching essential historical literacy and, by studying the past, to inform the present and shape the future.