Archive for March, 2010

On March 31, 1917, the United States took possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renamed the territory the United States Virgin Islands.

The Opening History aggregation contains two digital collections with a focus on the history of Virgin Islands:Virgin Islands Funeral Memorial Booklets and Virgin Islands Historical Photographs.
The photograph below, courtesy of The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) Libraries, Virgin Islands Historical Photographs collection, shows the Virgin Islands’ old waterfront in 1920s.
Old Waterfront View (1920s)


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372 years ago, on March 29, 1638, Swedish colonists established the first settlement in Delaware, naming it New Sweden. This book below, published in 1858, courtesy of Making of America digital collection, details the history of Swedes in Delaware. To read the full text of this book, please click on the image of its title page below.

Clay, Jehu Curtis (1858). Annals of the Swedes on the Delaware. Philadelphia: F. Foster

Another book, published in 1873, comes from the Harvard University, Immigration to the United States (1789-1930) digital collection. To read the full text, please click on the introduction page below.

Acrelius, Israel. (1876). A history of New Sweden, or, The settlements on the River Delaware. Philadelphia : Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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120 years ago, on March 27, 1890, a powerful tornado measuring F4 on the Fujita scale and later labeled “the whirling tiger of the air” struck Louisville, Kentucky, killing 76 and injuring 200. The tornado destroyed 766 buildings in Louisville, including the Falls City Hall, the rubble of which is shown on this stereograph below, courtesy of the Library of Congress, Stereograph Cards digital collection.
This Louisville tornado was the most notable part of the Mid-Mississippi Valley Tornado Outbreak — a major tornado outbreak occurring in the Middle United States on March 27, 1890. To this day, this outbreak is still the 25th most deadly storm in U.S. history.

Louisville tornado, wreck of Falls City Hall (75 killed)

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March 24 is World TB (tuberculosis) Day. The title page featured below, courtesy of Making of America digital collection, is from a book Brief history of the campaign against tuberculosis in New York City: catalogue of the tuberculosis exhibit of the Department of Health, published in New York City over 100 years ago — in 1908. To read the full text of this book, please click on the title page image below.

The drawing below, courtesy of The North Carolina Experience digital collection, shows Mountain Sanitarium for Pulmonary Diseases in Asheville, North Carolina, where tuberculosis patients were treated, in 1870s.
The more recent photograph below, courtesy of Pittsburgh City Photographer Collection, part of a larger Historic Pittsburgh Image Collections digital collection, was made in 1937 and shows a doctor giving a tuberculosis vaccination to a small girl.

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March 21 is the International day for the elimination of racial discrimination.
The poster below is courtesy of Teaching with Digital Content (Digital Cultural Heritage Community) digital collections

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American Express was founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo 160 years ago — on March 18, 1850. A year later, they organized the firm of Wells, Fargo & Company to conduct an express business between New York and San Francisco by way of the Isthmus of Panama and on the Pacific coast, where it long had a virtual monopoly.
This Wells Fargo & Co. Express Freight receipt document from 1903 is courtesy of Hudson River Valley Heritage digital collection.

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Maine became the 23rd U.S. state 190 years ago — on March 15, 1820. The Anna M. Bucknam’s painting below, courtesy of the Maine Memory Network digital collection, shows the Main State House in 1820.

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