Archive for Holiday

Christmas with the Founding Fathers

The Founders Online site currently contains over 181,000 transcribed documents written to and by George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. A simple search allows you to locate those works that mention Christmas; another search filter allows you to limit your searches to those missives dated December 25 of a particular year. Such an example is this letter written by George Washington to Robert Morris on December 25, 1776, the night he successfully attacked the Hessian garrison at Trenton.

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2018 Winter Solstice

Facts, figures, and folklore are here.

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Facts and Figures on Irish Americans

This annual feature from the Census Bureau incorporates various data sets that pertain to the Irish in America (and some St Patrick’s Dayinformation as well).

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Vintage Valentine Day Cards

From the Smithsonian Institution comes this collection of Valentine Day cards and images from handmade to commercially produced. Some are simply done while others are very elaborate in their fabrication; many pre-date 1900. The Peabody Essex Museum also has a large collection, almost two hundred, with a couple pre-dating 1800. Hundreds of comic valentines are available from Pennsylvania State University; additional collections are at the Library of Birmingham, the Museum of London, New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress.

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Happy National Science Fiction Day!

It is held annually on January 2, the birthday of the prolific author, science fiction master, and fellow Brooklynite Isaac Asimov. Please review our previous science fiction postings for apposite readings in this genre.

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Christmas Postcards

From the New York Public Library’s extensive collection of postcards, here is a subset depicting Christmas from the early 20th century; here is a sub-section with Santa as the main theme.

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Thomas Nast’s “Christmas Drawings for the Human Race”

Nast was a political cartoonist whose work helped expose the corruption of New York City government as typified by Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall; he was also a prolific chronicler of the Civil War for Harper’s Weekly. In addition, he is credited with the creation of our modern depiction of Santa Claus. His Christmas Drawings for the Human Race collect his many seasonal sketches; you can see in these pages the Santa Claus we now know appear.

Additional work by Nast can be found at: The Thomas Nast Collection (Princeton); and Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (Ohio State).

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