Archive for December, 2010

December 18 marks International Migrants Day as established by the United Nations in 2000. The date was based on the day when the General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The purpose for this day is to recognize that all migrant are entitled to the same rights non-migrants have. All nations and states are encouraged to recognize the day.

Migrant worker musicians at a camp in Hillsboro, June 20 1943

Migrant worker musicians at a camp in Hillsboro, June 20 1943. Image courtesy of Washington State University Digital Collections.

Migrants dominated United States history and so does the struggles migrants have had to gain rights and respect. The U. S. would not be the country that it is without this long history of migrant work. Opening History has many images of all varieties of migrant throughout the country and its history. This image came from Washington State University Digital Collections.


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James Naismith came up with an unusual method to combat inactivity and boredom from the Springfield, Massachusetts winter in 1891. He created a game that soon became one of the most popular sports in the United States. The first basketball game was inspired by rugby, soccer, football, and lacrosse, had nine versus nine players, and thirteen rules. That game in the local YMCA soon spread to other YMCA’s and universities.

Basketball team, 1905

Basketball team, 1905. Image courtesty of BYU Campus Photographs.

James Naismith lived to see his sport explode in popularity and to  see it accepted as an official Olympic sport at Berlin in 1936. Opening History has plenty of early basketball images. The image above is courtesy of Brigham Young University Campus Photographs.

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December 12 marked the day Frank Sinatra was born in 1915. He grew up to become an iconic singer and actor until his death in the 1998. Among Sinatra’s best known songs are “New York New York,” “My Way,” “Come Fly With Me,” and many more. Sinatra also starred  in many movies including “From Here to Eternity,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “The Manchurian Candidate.” Frank Sinatra was also a member of the Rat Pack, along with Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop.

You can find many images of Frank Sinatra in glamorous shots or images of him working and rehearsing at Opening History. The image below was provided by Special Collections from the University of Nevada, Reno Libraries.

Frank Sinatra at the Cal-Neva Lodge

Frank Sinatra at the Cal-Neva Lodge. Image courtesy of the University of Nevada, Reno.

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Human Rights Day

December 10th marks Human Rights Day, which is annually celebrated all over the world. The United Nations chose this date in honor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted and proclaimed  in 1948. Human Rights Day was formally established in 1950.

Civil rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy

Civil rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy. Image courtesy of the University of Illinois Libraries.

United States history is full of  marginalized groups struggling for human rights. The most commonly known fights are the Suffrage movement in the 1900’s, the Civil Rights movement in the 1950’s – 1970’s, Native American activism in the 1970’s and LGBT activism going on today. There is so much more and Opening History has abundant images and texts about past and present human rights activism. The image above was provided by the University of Illinois Libraries and the image below is from the Washington State University Libraries.

State history. Native Americans. Indian Affairs. 1932-12-30

State history. Native Americans. Indian Affairs. 1932-12-30. Image courtesy of the Washington State Libraries.

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Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas Day is a Catholic religious festival for children in many European countries related to the legends of St. Nicholas. This day is not officially recognized in the United States, but it is still observed in many parts of the country with a large population of German ancestry such as Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Missouri.


Santa Claus surrounded by children, Seattle, 1949
Santa Claus surrounded by children, Seattle, 1949. Image courtesy of University of Washington Digital Collections.

Saint Nicholas is known to American children as Santa Claus. Unlike many children in Europe, American children have to wait until December 25 to gifts from Santa Claus. You can find many more images of children celebrating Santa Claus in all his incarnations on Opening History. This image was provided by the University of Washington Digital Collections.

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Thomas Edison demonstrated the first phonograph on December 1, 1877. This was a remarkable achievement because earlier versions of the phonographs could record sound but not play it back.

Edison Home Phonograph

Edison Home Phonograph. Image courtesy of the Illinois Digital Archives.

The phonograph was such a unique device that “Phonograph Parlors” open up around the country. Customers would enter a Phonograph Parlor for the purpose of recording their voice and hearing it play back for a price. Popular music exploded into households across the United States thanks to the phonograph. You can see more photographs of phonographs or Edison’s other invention through Opening History. The image above was from the Illinois Digital Archives.

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