Narrative Script for Pullman Research Paper

Step 2: Locate sources

When Kiran has done research in the past, she began at the library. For an I–Search project, she saved the library for later, choosing to work first with primary sources.

Find primary sources by exploring community resources.

Kiran interviewed her grandmother about why her grandmother lives where she does. The interview inspired Kiran to learn more about the area. Here's an excerpt from the tape–recorded interview:

KIRAN: When did you move here and why?

GRANDMA: It was 1959. I was pregnant with your dad. Grandpa and I needed more space. At that time, I was working at the paint factory, and my boss, Mr. Adams, told me that a few small homes were for sale in Pullman. We saw this place and liked it, so we got a mortgage and moved right in. And I've been here ever since.

KIRAN: What did the neighborhood look like in 1959?

GRANDMA: I don't remember just what it looked like, but I do remember how friendly our neighbors were. For example, Vera and Bill Graham. Vera was born in Pullman, and Bill, who was about 70 then, had built railroad cars for the Pullman company in the 1920s.

KIRAN: You mean the neighborhood called Pullman is named after a company?

GRANDMA: Not exactly. A man named George Mortimer Pullman made grand railroad cars in Detroit when railroads were the main way to get around the country. You should've seen those cars—parlor cars, dining cars, sleeping cars. Mr. Pullman named his rail—car business after himself. Then 130 or so years ago, he needed to build a new factory, so he bought land here—they say it was swampland then—and beginning in 1880 Mr. Pullman started building a factory and a town around it. He named the town after himself too. Back then, Pullman was a town of its own, not a district within the city of Chicago like it is now. People referred to it as a company town.

KIRAN: Grandma, tell me where I can see a Pullman car.

GRANDMA: Not so fast. This interview is supposed to be about me, remember? I'll tell you later how to learn about the Pullman cars. Now ask another question about me, dear.

KIRAN: Well, you always say, "I helped save this neighborhood from the wrecking ball." What do you mean?

Grandma introduced Kiran to her friend Edolphus, who volunteers at the Historic Pullman Foundation (HPF) Visitor Center on South Cottage Grove Avenue. The HPF helps the area preserve its history and its buildings. Edolphus took Kiran on a walking tour. These are some of the notes Kiran made from her firsthand observations and from Edolphus's knowledge of the neighborhood.

Entire blocks of 19th century residences still stand.

In a row of houses that look alike, facades (fronts) vary to make things more interesting.

Beautiful clock tower is considered one of the symbols of the neighborhood

Original color accents (the Pullman company's light green, dark green, maroon) being restored

Original architect = Solon S. Beman

Landscape architect = Nathan F. Barrett

Statements by Edolphus

"Pullman is a top example of a preserved 19th century U.S. neighborhood."

"Walking out my front door every day is like walking onto a movie set, but better." (Use this quotation? Or paraphrase him?)

"Only Chicago could produce this place." (What did he mean?)

Explore library resources.

  • Online catalog. Now that Kiran had the two primary sources her teacher asked for, she started her library research for secondary sources. Her first stop was the library's online catalog. By typing in Pullman and Town, Kiran found quite a few books that her library had or could get for her from another library branch. She was interested in two of them—one short and recently published book and one longer and older book. Here's the computer screen telling about the more—recent book:
  • Bookshelves. When Kiran told a librarian what she was working on, he suggested she also look at the shelves for travel and guide books about Chicago. There she found many books with Pullman Historic District in their indexes; she chose one to borrow.
  • Electronic databases. Then Kiran used electronic databases (the library subscribes to several of them) to find recent articles in newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals. She searched for Pullman and neighborhood and selected a piece from 2005 to read and evaluate.

Evaluate Internet sources.

Finally, Kiran turned to a search engine to find more information on her topic. Again using the search words Pullman and neighborhood, she pulled up a list of options: a Wikipedia encyclopedia entry on Pullman Town, YouTube videos showing architectural preservation efforts in the area, a community bulletin board giving neighborhood news, a real estate agency selling homes in Pullman, a company offering walking tours of Chicago's historic neighborhoods, and a foundation devoted to Pullman Town's history and preservation. Kiran clicked on the last link——because she felt she could trust the Historic Pullman Foundation. The .org domain of its Web site indicated that this was a nonprofit organization. That meant it did not have a political or commercial agenda—it wasn't presenting biased ideas or selling products. In addition, the foundation offered useful information: Here in one place were essays about the history of the neighborhood, historic photographs, a bibliography of Pullman information resources, and links to city and state museums, libraries, and agencies.

Record complete information for every source.

For each source, Kiran recorded the author, title, and publishing information. For each electronic source, Kiran also wrote the date on which she accessed it. For each source found through her Internet search, she also recorded the URL.

In the past, Kiran recorded this information on an index card—one for each source. This time, she decided to keep track of all the sources by adding each one to a running list in a computer file.

Write each entry for your working bibliography according to the style your teacher requires.

Kiran's teacher told the class to use the documentation style approved by the Modern Language Association (MLA). She also reminded students to assign each source a number in the upper right—hand corner of the index card or at the top of each entry in a computer file.


Nejaime, Leila. Personal interview. 2 May 2010.

Thompson, Edolphus. Walking tour. 9 May 2010.

Longstreet, Stephen. Chicago 1860–1919. New York: McKay, 1973. Print.

Laughlin, Rosemary. The Pullman Strike of 1894. Greensboro, NC: Morgan, 2006. Print. American Workers Ser.

Chicago. London: Dorling, 2001. Print. DK Eyewitness Travel Guides.

Bebow, John. "Pullman Museum Site Languishes 7 Years after Fire." Chicago Tribune. 28 Aug. 2005: N. pag. General OneFile. Gale. Lenox Library Association. 12 May 2010.

Historic Pullman Foundation. Historic Pullman Foundation. Web. 13 May 2010. <>.