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Archive for April, 2009

May Day, which in the 20th century became the International Workers’ Day, or Labor Day, is celebrated on May 1st. May 1st is also a birthday of a famous American labor leader Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (1830?-1930).
The Opening History aggregation includes a number of digital collections about labor movement history; one of them is Mining and Mother Jones in Mount Olive collection.
The image below, courtesy of Mount Olive Public Library, Mining and Mother Jones in Mount Olive collection (part of Illinois Digital Archives) is a 1930 newspaper article about Mother Jones’ 100th birthday celebration which took place in Maryland.

Mother Jones' 100th birthday

Mother Jones' 100th birthday


Click on the image to read the rest of the article.

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On April 27, the telegraph inventor Samuel F.B. Morse (1791-1872) was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

The item featured below is a full-text digitized version of Amos Kendall’s “Morse’s patent” (1852) book, courtesy of Making of America collection (find out more about this digital collection from Opening History aggregation).

Morse's patent / Kendall, Amos.

Morse's patent / Kendall, Amos.

Also, please see yesterday’s Indicommons blog posting about Samuel Morse .

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209 years ago, on April 24, 1800, the U.S. Library of Congress was established in Washington, D.C.
The Opening History aggregation includes 32 digital collections created or hosted by the Library of Congress, ranging in size from 32 items (Parallel Histories: Spain, the United States, and the American Frontier collection) to 62,976 items (Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1820-1860, 1870-1885 collection) and covering a wide range of topics.
The image below, courtesy of one of the smaller Library of Congress’ digital collections, John C. H. Grabill Collection, features three men and a dog, washing an panning gold in a stream near Rockerville, South Dakota, a photograph taken by John Grabill in 1889.

We have it rich: washing and panning gold, Rockerville, Dakota

"We have it rich": washing and panning gold, Rockerville, Dakota. Old timers Spriggs, Lamb, and Dillon at work


Almost two hundred thousands of items (198,306 to be precise) from the Library of Congress digital collections in Opening History aggregation nicely complement those in Library of Congress Flickr photostream.

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Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, Jr. , better known as Charlie Chaplin, was born 120 years ago, on April 16, 1889.

portrait of Charles Chaplin

Autographed portrait of Charles Chaplin


Reproduction of an autographed portrait of Charlie Chaplin, dated July 2, 1915, originally shot by Witzel of Los Angeles. Courtesy of the University of Southern California, California Historical Society Digital Archive (learn more about this digital collection from Opening History aggregation)

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Two important events in the history of aviation and astronautics happened this week: one 142 years ago, another almost a century later.

American aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright was born on April 16, 1867. The photograph of Wilbur Wright below is courtesy of Wright Brothers Negatives collection, in Opening History aggregation.

Portrait of Wilbur Wright, 1905

Portrait of Wilbur Wright, 1905

On April 12, 1961, the era of astronautics began, when the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. World Day of Aviation and Astronautics is celebrated on April 12.
The photograph below features astronaut John Glenn, who was the third person and the first American to orbit the Earth (1962). Courtesy of Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, part of a larger King County Snapshots collection (more information about this collection from Opening History ).

John Glenn on the monorail at the World's Fair, Seattle, 1962

John Glenn on the monorail at the World's Fair, Seattle, 1962

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Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, was born on April 12, 1743.
Digital collections in Opening History aggregation contain a number of items related to Thomas Jefferson’s life and deeds. Other US presidents, whose life is covered by digital collections in Opening History, include Abraham Lincoln, William Taft, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and John Kennedy.

The item featured below is a full-text digitized Buffalo Historical Society’s 1904 publication, “A bundle of Thomas Jefferson’s letters, now first published”. This digital copy replaces the irreparably deteriorated original. Courtesy of New York State Historical Literature Collection , Cornell University (more information about this digital collection from Opening History).

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One hundred and forty eight years ago, on April 12th, 1861, U.S. Civil War began as 11 Southern states declared their secession from the U.S., formed the Confederate States of America, and started fighting against the federal government with the attack on Fort Sumter, North Carolina.
Civil War history is one of the subject strengths of the Opening History aggregation. Opening History contains twelve digital collections that cover Civil War events. Both photographs below come from University of Illinois’ Teaching with Digital Content (Digital Cultural Heritage Community) collection (More information about this collection from Opening History).

Three Confederate Soldiers

Three Confederate Soldiers

A photograph of Three Confederate Soldiers by Matthew Brady.

Cushing's Artillery Men

Cushing's Artillery Men

Cushing’s Artillery Men (Union soldiers), a photograph by Matthew Brady.

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