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Archive for January, 2012

On January 29, 1936, the first five men elected for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame were publicly announced: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson.  However, the official induction ceremony did not take place until 1939 when the Hall opened in Cooperstown, New York.  To date, 297 individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and approximately 350,000 baseball fans make the pilgrimage to Cooperstown each year.

Ty Cobb with Young Boy in Seattle, ca. 1922. Image courtesy of the Museum of History and Industry, made available via King County Snapshots.

Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth during a charity baseball game held in Anaheim, CA in October 1924. Image courtesy of the Anaheim Public Library, made available via Calisphere.

Christy Mathewson in New York, ca. 1914. Image courtesy of the Bain Collection at the Library of Congress.

Honus Wagner, ca. 1910. Image courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art, made available via Historic Pittsburgh Images.

The images above were all culled from collections in Opening History where you can find additional primary source materials related to baseball and the history of sports in America.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is observed annually on the third Monday of January, which usually falls within a few days of Dr. King’s birthday on January 15.  King was a Baptist minister who rose to prominence as a leader of the civil rights movement.  He is best known for having organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and delivering the speech entitled “I Have a Dream” at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his activism.  Tragically, King was assassinated on March 29, 1968 on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King, Jr. at the March on Washington in 1963. Image courtesy of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Though passed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1983, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was not celebrated by all fifty states until the year 2000.  In some states, the holiday is meant to commemorate civil and human rights more broadly. In the state of Pennsylvania and in many universities and organizations across America, residents, students, and employees are encouraged to use the holiday as a day of volunteer service in honor of Dr. King.

A memorial march in Mobile, Alabama following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. Image courtesy of the University of South Alabama.

Further images and documents relating to Dr. King may be found across multiple collections in Opening History.

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On January 9, 1788 Connecticut, one of the original 13 colonies, ratified the United States Constitution, thus becoming the nation’s fifth state.  Seven days prior, Georgia had achieved statehood, and seven other colonies would follow suit over the course of the year.  By September of that year, the Constitution went into effect through a resolution passed by the Continental Congress.

A map of Connecticut and Rhode Island circa 1776. Image courtesy of Connecticut History Online.

Opening History is rich with primary sources relating to United States history. For more information on the state of Connecticut, see Connecticut History Online.

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On January 3, 1938, President Roosevelt announced the creation of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, known today as the March of Dimes Foundation.  Originally founded in response to a series of polio epidemics, the organization was designed as a coalition between scientists and volunteer fundraisers.  The volunteers raised $233 million dollars by 1955, and the scientists created the Salk vaccine, effectively eliminating the threat of polio in the United States.

Mrs. Eunice Cook and a girl in a wheelchair representing the March of Dimes. Image courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art via Historic Pittsburgh.

With volunteer organizations across the country, fundraising efforts for the March of Dimes are documented in many local history collections, which can be found through Opening History.

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