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Archive for January, 2011

On January 27, 1888, a group of scientists and explorers established the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. The Society formed with the stated mission of promoting “the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge,” and nine months later, in October 1888, published the first issue of National Geographic magazine to broaden its audience. Since its founding, the National Geographic Society has supported many different exploration and research projects, including Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson’s successful expedition to the North Pole in 1909 and Jane Goodall’s research on chimpanzees in the 1960s. Its public programming, which today includes television and online resources, has long been an important component of the Society’s activities.

A photograph of the National Geographic Society building ca. 1921-1922. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

A ticket to a lecture by Theodore Roosevelt, sponsored by the National Geographic Society. After his presidency, Roosevelt had undertaken high-profile expeditions to South America and Africa. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Opening History offers a number of materials related to the National Geographic Society and the magazine. Collections from the Library of Congress, including the Map Collections and An American Time Capsule, contain maps, ephemera and photographs documenting the Society and the prominent role it has played heightening public interest in international travel and culture.

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Standard Oil’s Legacy

Representatives of Standard Oil of California, now known as Chevron. Standard Oil of California was one of 34 successor companies created by Standard Oil's break-up in 1911. Photograph courtesy of the Uintah County Library (Utah).

On January 10, 1870, John D. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil. Growing to achieve a virtual monopoly over oil production in the U.S., Standard Oil was one of the world’s first and largest multinational corporations. Standard Oil’s dominance lasted until 1911, when the Supreme Court found the corporation in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and Standard Oil was split into 34 separate companies. The successor companies from Standard Oil’s breakup form the core of today’s US oil industry.

A Standard Oil Company of California truck. Courtesy of the Uintah County Library (Utah).

Opening History offers historic photographs pertaining to successor companies of Standard Oil, including historic Chevron (formerly Standard Oil of California) and ExxonMobil (formerly Esso, or Standard Oil of New Jersey) photos. See in particular the Uintah County Library’s Vernal Express Photographs, hosted by the Acton-Shapleigh Historical Society (Utah), and the Huey P. Long Collection from the LOUISiana Digital Library. The Huey P. Long Collection contains original documents concerning depression-era Louisiana and detailing Huey P. Long’s “Share Our Wealth” program; opposition to Long’s programs is documented, in this collection, by newspaper articles, broadsides and legislative appeals sponsored by a variety of Louisiana political and economic groups including Standard Oil and the Louisiana Women’s Committee.

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