Archive for Online Primary Sources

Top Five Library Blog Entries

As this blog passes its 3000th entry, below are the top five entries of all time; the interest in online primary sources is noteworthy.

Online Primary Sources for the War of 1812

More stats 6,037
Online Primary Sources for American History: The Territorial Papers of the United States More stats 3,654
Online Primary Sources for American History: New Jersey Colonial Documents More stats 3,206
New Federal Withholding Tax Tables Published More stats 2,498
Online Primary Sources: The Easter Rising More stats 2,188
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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The Bulstrode Papers, contained in the invaluable series Catalogue of the Collection of Autograph Letters and Historical Documents, present these newsletters in modern transcriptions along with editorial apparati.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).

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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.

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New Jersey Postcards

The NJ State Library has a collection of slightly over 1800 postcards featuring various towns in the state. These tend to be representations from times past so they act as a primary source of information. This collection is arranged by town name; here are the postcards for Jersey City. The University of Maryland houses the National Trust Library Historic Postcard Collection that contains thousands of these items; you can search by state as well as by town. New Jersey is represented by over 500 of these.

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50 Years Ago Today: the First Men on the Moon

Not quite the scenario envisioned by H G Wells in his novel First Men in the Moon, but an astounding achievement nevertheless. Practically anyone alive at that time can tell you exactly where they were. I was with my Irish grandma – Nanny – watching on a black and white tv. She who had escaped Ireland under pain of death for teaching Gaelic, who had married a veteran of the Spanish American War, had lived long enough to witness this. She cried.

Here are some sites of interest:

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting hosts To the Moon, a collection of 146 interviews of those who participated in this program;

The American Presidency Project contains hundreds of speeches/announcements/proclamations on the Apollo program;

The BBC has issued Apollo in 50 numbers – informative essays on everything from the cost of the program to the workers that helped put men on the moon;

C-SPAN has a pre-launch interview with Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins as well as additional relevant videos;

Infodocket has assembled a small collection of vital primary sources, including the flight journal;

NASA has numerous links on the Apollo Program as well as a collection of Apollo-related videos;

The New York Times offers its extensive coverage of this mission; and

YouTube carries many videos of Apollo 11.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong at 10:56pm ET on July 20, 1969 from the surface of the Moon.

 

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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”.

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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.

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