Archive for History

All Things Canadian

The Canadian Encyclopedia, a freely accessible resource, provides a plethora of features, from timelines to collections; it also has a browsing function that allows one to search among the vast number of articles. Many of the writings are geared to support the Ontario curriculum standards, but the information contained here is valuable. The entries vary depending on the topic; however, they all provide a solid foundation of knowledge. Links to other relevant essays in this resource are evident; you will occasionally find references to original source materials.

Leave a Comment

Listen to Classic Babylonian and Assyrian Writings

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has produced this fascinating collection of recordings of excerpts of Babylonian and Assyrian classics as read by scholars in the field. You can listen to the original language renderings as well as peruse the English-language versions. You can listen to parts of Gilgamesh, explore portions of the Code of Hammurabi, and hear about Istar’s descent into the netherworld.

A helpful overview is included along with a very informative FAQ.

Leave a Comment

Online Primary Sources for American History: Kent State University

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings that marked for many the beginning of the polarization of politics in this country. For many of us, we know exactly where we were when this occurred. (For me, I was galvanized into becoming a participant in the march on Washington the following week.)

You can review the FBI files on this event, browse the extensive May 4 collection at Kent State, view dozens of photos, consult a graphic timeline, and read an excerpt from the book “When Truth Mattered: The Kent State Shootings 50 Years Later”. And don’t forget the 1970 document – The report of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest.

“This summer I hear the drumming. Four dead in Ohio.” – Neil Young, Ohio (1970).

Leave a Comment

The Library of Congress

Jefferson’s Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress is just that – a succinct overview of the growth and development of one of the great libraries in the world. Illustrated with contemporary prints, this brief re-telling of the founding and maturation of what was a small library of 740 volumes into one containing millions of items is an amazing journey. Involving the burning of the library, Thomas Jefferson’s involvement in it, its designation as a copyright repository, and its acquisition of massive collections of foreign-published material in multiple languages, attest to this institution’s importance to the country.

Annual reports from 1866 to 2007 are available here; recent reports through 2018 are here.

Biographies of the previous Librarians of Congress are also online.

Thousands of pictures of this institution can also be browsed.

Leave a Comment

Online Primary Sources for American History: Google News Archives

Actively curated between 2006 and 2011, Google News Archives contains thousands of United States and Canadian newspapers spanning decades.

What is frustrating for researchers is that the search function is minimal at best, there is no stated policy as to what was included, and additions to this database ceased in 2011. However, what is does provide is ready access to long runs of historic newspapers from around the country dating from the late 18th century. With a little patience and creative use of the simple search engine, valuable information can be culled from this vast repository.

Used in conjunction with Chronicling America, a superior site in terms of searching and additional features, a window into the past is readily at hand.

Leave a Comment

Online Primary Sources for American History: Revolutionary-Era Boston Newspapers/Pamphlets

A remarkable four-volume work containing hundreds of Boston newspaper issues and dozens of pamphlets detailing the political tenor of the times, circa 1765 to 1776, was compiled by the improbably named Harbottle Dorr, a merchant and member of the Sons of Liberty. Not only did he arrange these writings into chronological order, but he also produced a detailed index that is also available for viewing.

The Massachusetts Historical Society hosts this valuable collection and allows searching through a browse function as well as a table of contents. If one wants a look into the pre-revolutionary fervor that was stirring in Boston, here is a perfect landing.

Leave a Comment

The Woman Who Owns Halloween

That would be Lesley Bannatyne from Harvard who has published extensively on Halloween. You can sample many of her writings here.

Leave a Comment

“Today in History”

Here are a few sites that present chronological entries for each day of the year: Associated Press (with media galleries); the History Channel; Infoplease; the Library of Congress (you can get lost in all the marvelous links attached to each entry); and The New York Times (with links to archived articles).

Leave a Comment

Sir Richard Bulstrode, 1610 – 1711

What is memorable about Sir Richard Bulstrode is not his longevity, which is remarkable in and of itself given the lack of medical care during the 17th century, but the network of correspondence that this diplomat engaged in. “… the Pforzheimer collection [Harry Ransom Center, University of Texan at Austin] preserves over 1,450 handwritten newsletters that were sent from offices in London to Richard Bulstrode between 1667 and 1689 while he was stationed in Brussels. These newsletters contained proprietary information for their subscribers about proceedings in parliament, activities of the military and royal family, and court gossip that could not be printed in public newspapers. As reciprocation for this service, Bulstrode and other subscribers around the English realm and Europe mailed accounts of news and politics from their host regions along with copies of local newspapers back to London.”

The Bulstrode Papers, contained in the invaluable series Catalogue of the Collection of Autograph Letters and Historical Documents, present these newsletters in modern transcriptions along with editorial apparati. They are a treasure house of information and are considered a logical successor to Pepys’ diaries, extending coverage from 1667 to 1675.

His writings were published posthumously. They include: Memoirs and reflections upon the reign and government of King Charles the 1st. and K. Charles the IId … wherein the character of the royal martyr, and of King Charles II. are vindicated from fanatical aspersions.
Written by Sir Richard Bulstrode. Now first published from his original manuscript (1721), and    Miscellaneous essays: Viz. I. Of company and conversation. … XIII. Of old age (1715)

Two recent monographs that explore the dissemination of news during Bulstrode’s time are: News Networks in Early Modern Europe (2016) and Travelling Chronicles: News and Newspapers from the Early Modern Period to the Eighteenth Century (2018).

Leave a Comment

Letters of President James Polk

A pivotal figure during the Mexican War, Polk’s letters, while published in a scholarly edition, were not available freely online. That has since changed and you can now read the fourteen volumes of his correspondence.

Leave a Comment

“Boroughitis” in Bergen County

This year 2019 will mark for many towns in Bergen County their 125th anniversary; that year saw many newly incorporated towns/villages being created. To read up on this, please consult this most informative research; this brief newspaper article summarizes the events.

Leave a Comment

Archival Publications Online

Back in the day when I was pursuing a doctorate in medieval history, my “C” field was archival studies. I was involved in various field operations, among them were American Irish Historical Society and the Archives of American Art. I was so enthralled with this field that I seriously considered following it as my career path, but library science presented a stronger calling. But the inclinations of an archivist are never far from the surface, and that is why I am so glad to point out that many of the Society of American Archivists publications are freely available online, from the classics authored by Posner and Schellenbach to multiple issues of The American Archivist. For those grounded in historical research, these resources will provide an introduction to this ever-evolving and fascinating field.

Leave a Comment

The First Associated Press Report on D-Day

We have covered this monumental event previously. Here is the original AP report on the landings as filed by Don Whitehead, aka “Beachhead Don”.

Leave a Comment

Historian Robert Caro and Doing Research in the Digital Age

This is an enlightening interview of interest to anyone who does historical research.

Leave a Comment

OAH Distinguished Lectures

The Organization of American Historians has a YouTube channel featuring eminent historians discussing certain topics ranging from the War of 1812 to the 1960s. Each lecture runs between about an hour and an hour and a half. Well worth a visit. And let’s not forget the OAH’s podcast series.

Leave a Comment

Play Ball!

With the opening of the 2019 baseball season safely behind us (Go, Mets!), now would be a good time to add to this site’s entries on baseball.

“This boy comes the nearest to perfection in pitching of anyone in either major league at the present time. He has more speed than Spahn and almost perfect control of a slow curve, – that really curves. He also has an exceptional fast ball and occasionally throws a change up off the fast ball.” This is the opinion of the legendary Branch Rickey in one of his numerous scouting reports – this one on the superb pitcher Sandy Koufax. (A point of transparency here. I am a native-born Brooklynite and actually saw Koufax pitch with the Brooklyn Dodgers.) All of Rickey’s insightful reports, including ones of Henry Aaron and Roberto Clemente, are now available online at the Library of Congress. A timeline of Rickey’s contributions to baseball accompanies this site as do other useful links.

How about viewing the first baseball cards? There are 2,100 of them printed between 1887 and 1914 representing 1,000 players from thirteen leagues and seventy-five cities. They feature the likenesses of some of the great names from that era including Christy Mathewson and Cy Young. And the collection even has the 1909-13 Brooklyn Dodgers! In addition, the backs of the cards are also displayed because they contain either biographies of the players or other sporting information. You can search by city or league.  A special feature is the chronological arrangement of the cards by the collections in which they appeared. A wonderful site for those who consider baseball as the only true sport in this country.

Leave a Comment

Online Primary Sources for American History: W.E.B. Du Bois and the 1900 Paris Exposition

“The Paris Exposition of 1900 included a display devoted to the history and “present conditions” of African Americans. W.E.B. Du Bois and special agent Thomas J. Calloway spearheaded the planning, collection and installation of the exhibit materials, which included 500 photographs.” (About)

Primary and secondary sources are available about this event in which Du Bois played such a pivotal role; included here are his writings on the exhibit. He wished to show the progress that African Americans had made since the Civil War, but also make people aware of the roadblocks put in their way by Jim Crow.

The photos can be accessed here along with Du Bois’ remarkable infographics showing the statistical profile of African Americans over the decades. Here is one showing the growth in population from 175 to 1890; there are seventy more of these documents. (Found on pages 1 and 2 of this site.)

Leave a Comment

Online Primary Sources for American History: WWI News Clippings

Comprised of four hundred volumes totaling 80,000 pages, these press clippings were culled from United States and European papers between 1914 and 1926. Though there is no index to this vast collection, the clippings are arranged in chronological order so one can read articles, editorials, cartoons, and news reports that are in reaction to events as they played out during this conflict. The scope of this undertaking is impressive; almost all the pieces I saw have the identifying newspaper indicated along with the date. The vast majority of the clippings are in English, but given the European sources, German pieces are also available.

An informative history of the collection is available. An invaluable resource.

Hot Off The Presses: Newspapers During WWI is fairly self-explanatory.

Leave a Comment

Online Primary Sources: Historic Canadian Newspapers

Those of you who have perused this site have seen passing references to Canadian-centric resources subsumed in writings on American history. (This entry for example.) But this time, we are looking at specific Canadian resources:

BC Historical Newspapers. (University of British Columbia)Digital copies of 167 titles.

The British Colonist (title varies over the years) allows access to an almost complete rum of this important British Columbia newspaper from 1858 – 1950. You can browse by date of use an advanced search option with multiple filters.

Canada Gazette. (Library and Archives Canada) The “official newspaper of the Canadian government. Over 160 years are available online.

Canada Online Historical Newspapers. Access to many titles, the vast majority are freely available.

French-Canadian Newspapers: An Essential Historical Source (1808-1919) (Library and Archives Canada) provides digital images of numerous papers.

Halifax Gazette.Canada’s first newspaper, published in 1752. A history of the paper is here.

Historical Canadian Newspapers Online (from Bowling Green State University) has gathered dozens of English and French titles that span the centuries. Many of the images come courtesy of the cancelled Google Newspaper Archive.

Nova Scotia Historical Newspapers (Nova Scotia Archives). Including newspapers published by those pro-British colonists forced to flee both during and after the Revolutionary War.

Victoria’s Newspapers 1858-1936 provides indices to the British Colonist. Come here to review the scope of this site.

Leave a Comment

Online Primary Sources in American History: NAACP Annual Reports

Available online are reports from 1910 – 1923 and from 2004 to the present.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »