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Study Guides

Check out our free, 12-page study guide that accompanies the novel, The Disappearing Man. The study guide, Thinking Inside the Box, can be used by history teachers and others who want to go further in their study of Henry “Box” Brown and the Underground Railroad.

The study guide is broken up into five sections, each one corresponding to a different portion of the novel and covering different historical subjects:

  • Chapters 1-9. From the Plantation to Richmond
  • Chapters 10-17: Courtship and Marriage
  • Chapters 18-27: Losses in His Life
  • Chapters 28-34: The Plan
  • Chapters 35-39: Philadelphia

Each section includes discussion questions, essay ideas, and key learning points.

Following the five sections, we provide ideas on how you can dig deeper into the history of the Underground Railroad. We connect you to original sources and describe more in-depth projects, such as mapping Henry’s escape route or building a model of his box.

The study guide below is available as both a PDF or a Word document.

Thinking Inside the Box: A Study Guide for Junior High and Senior High History Teachers
PDF Version
Word Version

History by the Slice Fact Sheets

We have developed a series of History by the Slice fact sheets, available as PDF documents. These two-page publications cover many different topics from my historical novels. Feel free to download them, free of charge, and use them as you see fit.

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Fact Sheet 1: The Berlin Wall

It happened overnight. When Berliners woke up on the morning of August 13, 1961, the border between East and West Berlin had closed. The Berlin Wall, the “surreal cage” as it was called, began to rise. Read about why it went up and how it came down.

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Fact Sheet 2: Elizabeth Van Lew

They called her “Crazy Bet.” Little did they know that Elizabeth Van Lew, a proper southern belle, was spying for the north in Richmond—the heart of the Confederacy. Learn about this amazing woman and why General Ulysses S. Grant was grateful for her service.

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Fact Sheet 3: Ellen & William Craft

Ellen Craft escaped from slavery in 1848 by posing as a white man, while her husband William pretended to be her slave. Hiding in plain sight, Ellen and William ran 1,000 miles to freedom. Read about their incredible, true escape.

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Fact Sheet 4: Henry ‘Box’ Brown

Henry Brown mailed himself to freedom in 1849. He sealed himself in a box in Richmond, Virginia, and was shipped to Philadelphia—a grueling, 27-hour ordeal. Find out more about one the greatest escapes in the history of the Underground Railroad.

History by the Slice Videos

Check out our History by the Slice YouTube page, where we regularly post 5- to 10-minute mini-documentaries.

Infernal Machines: Civil War Submarines
Part 1—The David

This engaging, 10-minute documentary describes the beginnings of Civil War torpedo boats and submarines, focusing on the CSS David.

Infernal Machines: Civil War Submarines
Part 2—The Pioneer

Follow the continued development of submarines during the Civil War through this 10-minute documentary on The Pioneer and The Pioneer II.

Frederick Douglass: ‘A War Upon the Immortal Spirit’

This 4-minute documentary focuses on the dramatic turning point in the life of renowned abolitionist, author, and orator Frederick Douglass.

Saint Patrick: A Pirate Story

Contrary to legend, St. Patrick didn’t drive all the snakes out of Ireland. Learn the real story behind this saint’s impact on the Emerald Isle, and what pirates had to do with him.

Infernal Machines: Civil War Submarines Part 3—The Hunley 

An engaging 15-minute documentary on Civil War submarines, focusing on the H.L. Hunley.

Don’t forget to subscribe for free to our YouTube channel.

Dramatic Presentations

I work with award-winning actress, Jennifer Goran, to present dramatic shows at schools, nursing homes, and museums. Check out our two programs: “Meet the Vanishing Woman” and “Elizabeth’s War.”