This set includes our THIRTEEN current history books, FOUR printed study guides, and the printed homeschool guide.
1492: Christopher Columbus, His Story and His Journals
In this volume, featuring two books in one, the reader will find that there are many players in Columbus’ story, and that while he was a great explorer, he was not fit to manage colonies. Further, much of the government of the islands was forced out of his control and conducted without his knowledge.
The logs and journals tell the story.
This book about Columbus and his voyages is actually two volumes in one:
- BOOK ONE is The Life of Christopher Columbus From His Own Letters and Journals and Other Documents of His Time by EDWARD EVERETT HALE, originally published in 1892. It was in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage. It is exactly the kind of narrative perfect for readers: facts, straight from Columbus’ own writings, woven in an easy-to-follow narrative.
- BOOK TWO is the Original narratives of Chrisopher Columbus, a part of the work Original Narratives of Early American History, Edited by Edward Gaylord Bourne, PH.D and published in 1906..
Thi edition is incredibly annotated with 700 historical footnotes to verify and further explain the people, places, and events in the discoveries. Multiple sources over 400 years are cited in the journals and letters. Readers will be amazed and overjoyed at the tidbits of information included in these footnotes.
When you read these letters of his, it’s apparent what an educated and talented man Columbus was. Like Lewis and Clark, he identified new and strange animals, plants, minerals, and people groups. He was well-versed in the scriptures and biblical prophecy. He was a mapmaker (in a time when the entire world had not been discovered!). He was bold and courageous. After reading these volumes, a reader won’t help thinking that the 21st century critics of Columbus who topple statues and feign morality would not be able to know or do even a fraction of what Columbus did. Despite some miscalculations and misidentifications, and despite some errors in judgement, he was an amazing person who was born to accomplish great things.
1524: Valiant Navigators – Sailor’s Narratives of voyages along the New England Coast 1524–1624
Featuring eleven stories of navigation of the New Egland coast between the years 1524 and 1624, Valiant Navigators brings us on board multiple sailing vessels to witness firsthand what the explorers saw. Originally published in 1905, this volume includes brief journals and letters of Giovanni de Verrazano, David Ingram, Bartholomew Gosnold, Martin Pring, Samuel de Champlain, George Waymouth, Georg Popham, Henry Hudson, John Smith, Thomas Dermer, and Christopher Levett.
Over the span of this century, these men originally sought the Northwest Passage to China, but eventually turned their eye toward settlement of this new land. In each letter you will read firsthand accounts of the coastline, trees, plants, wildlife, and of course, their encounters with the Native tribes. You’ll also see more historic names, including Squanto and Samoset.
The original version is kept intact, with minor changes in spelling (from Elizabethan English to modern English), and contains additional footnotes, portraits, and maps. This Knowledge Keepers book is part of an ongoing project to reprint historic American texts in an affordable edition to keep our history alive and in home libraries.
1620: The First Year at Plymouth Plantation – Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth
The First Year at Plymouth combines the original Mourt’s Relation, published in 1622, with helpful additional info provided in 1963 by Dwight B. Heath. It is further annotated by Nicki Truesdell with Knowledge Keepers Bookstore. It has been divided into sections with introductory information, and includes a commentary on how the Plymouth Colony was influenced by the invention of the printing press and the Protestant Reformation, and how Puritan ideals came to be cemented in the American fabric. As a bonus, reader will find a complete transcription of Robert Cushman’s sermon, “The Dangers of Self Love,” which illustrates the Puritan ethic beautifully.
Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth is one of the most important and useful primary sources of American history. In this journal, written by Edward Winslow and William Bradford, we are treated to a one-year diary of life in the Plymouth Colony. Written between November 1620 and November 1621, details about the Mayflower Compact, the search for a location, relations with Indians, friendship with Squanto, building the town, and many more adventures are included.
1620: Miles Standish, Puritan Captain
Originally published in 1872, author John S. C. Abbott weaves the story of the original Plymouth Colony in 1620. The history of this little settlement is full of adventure, sadness, and miracles, and lays the foundation for what would become the United States of America. Drawing liberally from the firsthand accounts of William Bradford, William Brewster, Edward Winslow, John Robinson, Abbott puts the details into a wonderful chronological narrative, from the persecution of the Puritans in England to the death of their beloved Captin, Miles Standish. This is a must-read for any student of history, and anyone who wants to get the facts from those who made history.
1771: Iroquois Handbook
Originally published in 1818 as HISTORY, MANNERS, AND CUSTOMS of The Indian Nations WHO ONCE INHABITED PENNSYLVANIA AND THE NEIGHBOURING STATES by the REV. JOHN HECKEWELDER OF BETHLEHEM, PA.
Firsthand accounts, such as this one, are among the most valuable history books a nation can have. When it comes to the Indian tribes of North America, these printed firsthand accounts are very few, thus, all the more valuable. (See how to use it in a homeschool study HERE.)
In the case of Reverend Heckewelder’s work, we are given a priceless gift: a book laying out every aspect of the lives and customs of the Iroquois nation, divided into short sections for ease of reading and research. This volume is packed with history, anecdotes, and wonderful descriptions of everyday life. It is, in my opinion, the perfect history book!
If lions had painters! This proverbial saying applies with equal force to the American Indians. They have no historians among them, no books, no newspapers, no convenient means of making their grievances known to a sympathising world. Why, then, should not a white man, a Christian, who has spent among them the greatest part of his life, and was treated by them at all times with hospitality and kindness, plead their honest cause, and defend them as they would defend themselves, if they had but the means of bringing their facts and their arguments before an impartial public? – Rev. Heckewelder
1776: Able and Mighty Men: Biographies of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence
Knowledge Keepers Bookstore’s most popular title yet!
Originally published in 1838, it features the biographies of every man who signed the Declaration of Independence, as well as George Washington and Patrick Henry. The author, L. Carroll Judson, knew or met almost every single man in this book. It is such a treasure! Not only is each biography included, but with each one, Judson describes the traits that were so necessary to produce such men. Also included are the first draft and final draft of the Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution (at 1838), and George Washington’s Farewell Address.
I have updated the book with a photo of each signer, a photo of their autographs, and some footnotes.
This is a big book! 557 pages. Paperback.
“The name of every patriot who aided in gaining the liberty we now so permanently enjoy, is remembered and repeated with veneration and respect. A particular regard is felt for those whose names are enrolled on that bold and noble production, the Declaration of Independence. Their names, with many others who espoused the cause of freedom, will glide down the stream of time on the gentle waves of admiration and gratitude, until merged in the ocean of eternity. This single act has placed them on the list of immortal fame.”
1844: True Stories of Nebraska Pioneers
Originally published in 1916, this Book of Nebraska Pioneer Reminiscences was issued by the Daughters of the American Revolution of Nebraska, and:
“dedicated to the daring, courageous, and intrepid men and women—the advance guard of our progress—who, carrying the torch of civilization, had a vision of the possibilities which now have become realities.
To those who answered the call of the unknown we owe the duty of preserving the record of their adventures upon the vast prairies of ‘Nebraska the Mother of States. ‘Reminiscence, recollection, personal experience—simple, true stories—this is the foundation of History. Rapidly the pioneer story-tellers are passing beyond recall, and the real story of the beginning of our great commonwealth must be told now. The memories of those pioneers, of their deeds of self-sacrifice and devotion, of their ideals which are our inheritance, will inculcate patriotism in the children of the future; for they should realize the courage that subdued the wilderness. And “lest we forget,” the heritage of this past is a sacred trust to the Daughters of the American Revolution of Nebraska.”
1852: Diary of a New York Girl
In 1852, a young New York girl began keeping a journal of everyday happenings in the village of Canadaigua. For 20 years, she noted ordinary and extraordinary events, including school days, social outings, the American Civil War, the assassination of President Lincoln, and attending the speeches and sermons of famous personages. The diary was originally published 1913 as Village Life in America. This edition has been reformatted and includes new footnotes and information about the author and her family, as well as the First and Second Inaugural Addresses of President Abraham Lincoln.
It’s an amazing piece of history written by an average citizen of the 19th century. Great for all ages!
1861: Memories of a Trailblazer: Seventy Years on the Frontier by Alexander MajorsFor seventy years, Alexander
Majors witnessed the amazing evolution of America in the 19th century. From ferries across the Mississippi to the transcontinental railroad, he experienced and chronicled the expansion of the West. This autobiography, first published in 1893 under the name Seventy Years on the Frontier, provides a front-row seat to such events as the Mexican-American War, gold discoveries and silver mines, the telegraph, the Mormon migration, and much, much more. More importantly, he established a freight line on the Santa Fe Trail as well as the famous Pony Express.
This autobiography isn’t just the story of Alexander Majors; it’s also a detailed description of the West as he knew it. Majors provides exciting stories of settlements, wagon trains, hunting parties, buffalo fights, battles, and inventions. Other chapters include detailed information on beaver, trapping, agriculture, mirages, mining, and settlements.
His friend Buffalo Bill Cody says in the Forward, “The man who could in the face of all dangers and obstacles originate and carry to success a line of freighter wagons, a mail route from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and a Pony Express, flying at the utmost speed of a hare through the land, was no ordinary individual, as can be well understood. And such a man Alexander Majors was. He won success; and to-day, on the verge of four score years, lives over again in his book the thrilling scenes in his own life and in the lives of others.”
1861: General Lee, Southern Commander
The main text of this book is “A Life of General Robert E. Lee” by John Eston Cooke, originally published in 1876. As you will read in the introduction, Cooke actually submitted his manuscript to Lee himself for approval, and it was granted. It is a wonderful mix of war scenes and commentary on the General’s life and character. The book has been printed in its original form, including some old-fashioned spellings.
Woven throughout Cooke’s biography is “Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee” by Captain Robert E. Lee, his son who served in the Army of Northern Virginia under his father. Some sections have short pieces of letters and recollections, while the end of the book, after the war, includes many pages of these firsthand accounts.
This wonderful mix of biography and firsthand accounts skillfully tells of the life of Robert E. Lee, beginning with his ancestors, and trailing down the family tree to his father, Revolutionary war hero Harry “Lighthorse” Lee (with descriptions of many other illustrious freedom-fighters in his parentage). Cooke tells of his family’s long history in Virginia, their close ties with many of the Founding Fathers and their families (he married George Washington’s granddaughter), and his fierce devotion to the United States…until Virginia chose secession.
The book then weaves back and forth from military tactics and famous Civil War battles to personal details and character studies of Lee, his generals, and his opposition on the Union side. The recollections of Robert E. Lee, Jr.. appear throughout, along with General Lee’s letters to is family and others, adding a very human touch to a sweeping narrative of many major Civil War battles.
The last chapters of this book tell of Lee’s life after the war, infused with his many letters, as well the account of his death and multple tributes from around the United States and the world.
1865: Autoiography of a Mississippi Slave
This Autobiography of a Mississippi Slave is the powerful true story of Louis Hughes, who was born into slavery in 1832, and gained his freedom at the end of the Civil War. He paints a descriptive picture of life on a Mississippi cotton plantation, providing readers with a look into the everyday workings of the farm, while inviting us to understand the sufferings of the slaves.
Hughes describes the role of slaves inside the house and in the fields, the treatment from his masters, how holidays were celebrated, how food was provided and clothing was made, life in Memphis just before the war, and so many other details of this sad time in our history. You will cheer him on in his multiple attempts at escape to the North, and celebrate as he gains his ultimate freedom on the 4th of July.
Every American story deserves to be read in full, and this firsthand account of slavery provides an honest look into the heart and mind of a man who was denied the basic human right of liberty for his first decades of life. There are plenty of opinions about the Civil War, why it was fought, and about Abraham Lincoln, but to Hughes and his fellow slaves, the war was about one thing: freedom.
Originally published in 1897 as Thirty Years a Slave: From Bondage to Freedom, this edition by Knowledge Keepers Bookstore contains the full and unchanged text as written by Hughes, with added photographs of life in slavery. It also includes the full text of the Emancipation Proclamation from President Lincoln on January 1, 1863.
1865: Freighters and Pilgrims: Two Stories of Western Immigration
In 1865, a young man and a young woman headed west, like thousands of other pioneers. They never met, but they traveled roughly the same trail as so many others that summer. This book is actually two books in one: the report of Charles E. Young and his travels to Denver with a freight team, and the daily diary of Sarah Raymond Herndon, who traveled to Montana with a large wagon train.
Charles was only 19 years old when he and two friends decided to see what the west might hold for them. Adventures awaited in the form of mule teams, Indian attacks, blizzards, and treacherous mountain travels. In fact, he entitled his book “Dangers of the Trail in 1865.”
Sarah was 24 when she and her family joined a wagon train headed for California. They were part of a large party on the Oregon Trail. Their trip west was farily pleasant and peaceful, with only some mild troubles here and there. Eventually, Sarah’s family and several others decided to make Montana their home, so they changed their route.
Both stories are true, firsthand accounts of the trip that so many Americans traveled over many decades of the 19 century to settle the West. These stories are the best way to really learn history! Freighters and Pilgrims is perfect for leisure reading, as well as a great supplement to any history lesson on America’s westward movement.
1872: Up the Western Trail: Log of a Cowboy
Few periods of American history can compete with the drama and excitement of the Old West. And few characters have more glorification and admiration than the American cowboy. Up the Western Trail: The Log of a Cowboy is a true-to-life diary of a cattle drive in the heyday of the cowboy. Andy Adams gives mile-by-mile detail of a drive from the Rio Grande in Texas to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana, one of the longest cattle drives to be undertaken.
Adams wrote this from his decade of experience as a Texas cowboy and drover. In this tale, readers get a firsthand look at life on the trail, with all the hard work and some fun times, too. These cowboys took their herd up the Western Trail, crossing all manner of rivers and streams, meeting Commanches in Indian Territory, entertaining themselves in Dodge City and Ogallala, chasing multiple stampedes, and experiencing many other exciting adventures along the way.
This is the best kind of history book: firsthand accounts of a period in time, written by the people who were there. Originally published in 1903, it is widely considered by literary critics to be one of the most accurate publications available about the Texas cattle drives. This edition includes maps along the trail and old photos of cowboys and cattle drives. This is what Knowledge Keepers specializes in: original history accounts from all periods of American history. Check out our other titles!