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Archive for the ‘Object’ Category

Though the exact date of his birth is unknown (and presumed to be sometime during the latter half of 1867), Scott Joplin’s birthday has historically been observed and celebrated on November 24. Joplin was an American composer and pianist best known for his Ragtime compositions.  During the late 1890s and early 1900s, he composed “The Maple Leaf Rag,” “The Entertainer,” and many of his most enduring works.  Toward the end of his life, he focused on composing and producing an opera, Treemonisha, which proved a failure in 1915.  Long after Joplin’s death, however, Treemonisha was revived to critical acclaim, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1976.

Cover art of sheet music for "The Maple Leaf Rag." Image courtesy of the University of Indiana.

At Opening History, you can find audio recordings and notated sheet music of Scott Joplin’s works through the Louisiana State Museum Jazz Collection and Indiana University’s Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, respectively.

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Checker Cabs

photo Checker Cab Co. p.1

Checker Cab Co. p.1, December 21, 1939

87 years ago today, on June 18, 1923, the first Checker Cab rolled off the line at the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The Checker Cab became a  national icon, renowned for its style, which remained consistent throughout the life of the company. 1982 was the final production year for Checker Cabs, and the last Checker Cab was removed from service in New York City in 1999. The photograph above, depicting a Checker Cab in 1939, comes from the Utah State Historical Society’s Shipler Commercial Photographs collection, which documents people, places and events of the Progressive Era.

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Brigham Young and his brothers


Founder of Utah and patriarch of the Mormon church Brigham Young (1801-1877) was born in Whittingham, Vermont, on June 1, 1801. Called the “American Moses,” he led thousands of religious followers across the wilderness to settle over 300 towns in the West, including Salt Lake City, Utah. On the photograph above, courtesy of Religious Education Image Archive digital collection, Brigham Young (second left) is portrayed with his brothers in 1866.
Named after him, Brigham Young Academy, which later became Brigham Young University, was opened in Provo, Utah, in 1876. The photograph below, courtesy of BYU Campus Photographs digital collection, pictures Brigham Young Academy class of 1896, and was taken in front of the Academy Building in 1893.

Brigham Young Academy class of 1896 (1893)

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The IMLS Digital Collections and Content project celebrates Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month by uploading to its Flickr photostream the images from the Wing Luke Asian Museum digital collection (part of the larger King County Snapshots digital collection). Three photographs below are from Wing Luke Asian Museum (King County Snapshots) Flickr photoset.

Japanese Pavilion at the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition, Seattle, 1909

Seven Chinese American women and one Caucasian woman, Seattle, ca. 1920

Four Boy Scouts, Seattle, August 1935

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The first revenue trains in the United States began service on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between Baltimore, Maryland and Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland, 180 years ago, on May 24, 1830.

This James Benney III’s 1889 photograph of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad passenger platform in the downtown Pittsburgh, PA, is courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh Image Collection. The station pictured was designed by Frank Furness in 1877 and later was demolished and replaced by a new station on lower Grant Street.

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Comet Halley

One hundred years ago, on May 18, 1910, the Earth passed through the tail of Comet Halley, the best-known of the short-period comets, visible from Earth every 75 to 76 years. Halley’s Comet last appeared in the inner Solar System in 1986 and will next appear in mid-2061.

This article on Halley’s Comet orbit, published in 1910, is courtesy of the Library of Congress, American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera digital collection. To read the article, please either click on the image below or follow this link.

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International Day of Families is celebrated annually on May 15th. This year’s topic is “The impact of migration on families around the world”.

A small digital collection (66 items) in Opening History aggregation — Orange County Californio families photographs (part of Online Archive of California) focuses on families and family history. The 1890 photograph of an unknown family in San Pedro, California (below) is courtesy of this digital collection.

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