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Inherit the Wind Research Center: Major Players

Find information for your paper and create your video using this helpful guide.

Group Description

Major Players in the Scopes Trial

  • Clarence Darrow
  • Williams Jennings Bryan
  • John Scopes

Please note: each group member will choose one of these individuals.

This group should focus not only on the basic biographies of these individuals but also on what motivated them to become major players in this case and why.


Famous Trials in American History: Tennessee vs. John Scopes
Law professor Douglas Linder from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, created this exceptional legal history site. It includes a section on the Scopes "Monkey" Trial (1925).

Clarence Seward Darrow
A biographical site devoted to "this sophisticated country lawyer, this hedonistic defender of the poor and downtrodden, this honest, devious man," Clarence Seward Darrow.

Clarence Darrow Cross-Examines William Jennings Bryan
A transcript of the cross-examination from the Scopes Trial, July 20, 1925.

Monkey Trial
Created to accompany the American Experience episode, this website has information on the trial and the people involved.

Today in History: May 5
On May 5, 1925, high school science teacher John Scopes was arrested for teaching evolution in one of Tennessee's public schools. Information on the Scopes Trial from the Library of Congress.

Works by William Jennings Bryan
Read works by Bryan available through Project Gutenberg

Timeline: Remembering the Scopes Trial
An in-depth timeline of the "Monkey" trial.

Teaching and Learning About Evolution with the New York Times


Search these databases available through AVL.

Biography Reference Bank
For the most precise results, type Last Name, First Name. Find your person in the results by checking dates of birth and death or the occupation. You will have at least one biography. For more information, click Most Recent Articles. Show only articles you can read online by clicking the Full-Text tab.

History Reference Center 
A search for "scopes trial" or the individual names of the major players returns a number of results. Click on the article of interest and on the left-hand side you will see your full text options. You can also find information by searching for subjects "EVOLUTION -- Religious aspects" or "SCOPES, John Thomas -- Trials, litigation, etc.".  


John Thomas Scopes

John Thomas Scopes
Dayton, Tennessee, June 1925.

The 24-year-old Scopes was in his first job after graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1924. He taught algebra and physics, served as athletic coach, and occasionally substituted in biology classes at the Rhea County High School.