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Blog Posts by Subject: United States History

Using NYPL resources to enrich your African American History studies

Toussaint Louverture, about 1795 (NYPL Digital Gallery)Use the resources of NYPL to engage your students with the rich and complex history of African Americans. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has several online exhibitions that make NYPL resources easily accessible and usable in your classroom: 

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience: http://www.inmotionaame.org/home.cfm

African Americans in American Politics: 

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The City of Light Before the Advent of Electricity: New York City Travel Writing, 1600s

Gotham. The Big Apple. The City of Light. Crossroads of the World. And my personal favorite: the City of Superlatives. These are all sobriquets that have been applied to New York City at one time or another.

The city that has insinuated its way into the hearts of so many travelers has inspired an incredible outpouring of travel guides and literature.

Travel writing at its best is half reporting and half myth-creating by the adventurer fortunate to visit an unknown, perhaps exotic destination. These treatises offer a 

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Road Trip

What could be more American than the road trip narrative? From Jack Kerouac to Tom Robbins, Americans have penned accounts both real and fictional about the joys and singular boredom of the open road. The rolling hills and prairies, the breeze wafting in through the window, and the seemingly endless dots of small towns, roadside restaurants and gas stations all stem from a particularly American phenomenon: the Interstate Highway System.

The

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The Reader's Den: Discussion Wrap Up!

Thank you for participating in this month’s Reader’s Den! I hope you enjoyed reading The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent. Feel free to come back and post your thoughts and comments about the novel.

If you’re interested in reading other books relating to the Salem Witch Trials, you should try one of these:

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division! Come see Willem Janszoon Blaeu's Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova in person at the fabulous Mapping New York's Shoreline 1609-2009 exhibition, open today and the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving in the Gottesman Exhibition Hall located on the first floor of the

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Reader's Den: "The Heretic's Daughter"

Welcome to this month’s edition of The Reader’s Den! We will be reading and discussing the historical fiction novel, The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent. You can request a copy of the book by visiting the New York Public Library’s online catalog or stopping by your local branch to pick 

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Happy 4th of July!

Civil War Blues

Fashion held an uneasy place in the war years of the North-South conflict in America. The Union and Confederate armies, uninterested in flashy uniforms, chose practical wear, while women remained ensconced in thick petticoats and triangular-shaped gowns. Some fashion textbooks call this the “crinoline period”. Hoops, or the cage crinoline, made women’s dresses billow as they did, and also made mobility more problematic.

Since the North controlled ports and shipping, and therefore received 

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John Hope Franklin

The New York Public Library, especially the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, joins millions of Americans in honoring the pioneering, purposeful, immensely productive life of Dr. John Hope Franklin (1915–2009). The preeminent scholar of the African American experience, he was a leading authority on Southern American history, a distinguished educator, and an uncompromising advocate for equality and justice in American society.

A New York Public Library Lion (2007), a co-chair of the Schomburg Center's first private fundraising 

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Washington Crosses The Delaware (Again)

Many people in the New York and New Jersey areas today probably don’t realize how much history there is about the American Revolution right at their doorstep. The key early parts of the war were enacted right here. The battles of Trenton and Princeton have to be the most popular and covered aspects of the Rev War. So any recent book on these well worn topics should offer something new. For the most part, Washington's Crossing, by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004), does, but the author still allows himself to get 

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Is Feminism Dead?

Working as an archivist I often come across collection items that change the way I see the world around me. I had such an experience recently when processing a manuscript collection. As I sorted through the papers of a woman who had donated her papers to the library, an article title caught my eye, “Is Feminism Dead?”

Those who are interested in the Feminist movement will remember the Time magazine cover from 1998 that asked this question, featuring the images of four women across a stark black 

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“Don’t Let Them Break Your Camera”

The NYPL Photography Collection has one of the largest collections of Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographs outside of the Library of Congress. I’m not sure what it is about these images—though given the economic times I’d say they are due for a resurgence—but they continue be some of the most 

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Mapping NYC

We've updated the Map Division's Google Earth index to digitized NYC map collections to include more than 2000 maps from 32 titles, organized chronologically and geographically (by borough), all published between 1852 and 1923. The map index (download .kmz file) requires installation of Google Earth on your computer. There are three recommended ways to search for maps using this 

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Moderator's Notes: A Few Thoughts on Remix Culture (LIVE from the NYPL)

Steven Johnson will be moderating next week's LIVE from the NYPL event, "Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy" — Thursday, February 26 at 7pm at the Celeste Bartos Forum at The New York Public Library

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The great thing about next Thursday's NYPL event on remix culture is the fact that the topic is at once incredibly timely, and yet at the same time 

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Updike

From the dust jacket of Pigeon Feathers A number of summers ago I saw John Updike at the library. He was sitting in the back of the main reading room, leaning over the table, and writing with a small gold pen. I felt as oddly excited and privileged as someone else might feel who, in the course of day-to-day activity, had encountered Johnny Depp or Angeline Jolie. I ached to know what he was writing on that pad, if it was a story for the New Yorker, another episode in the chronicles of Harry Rabbit Angstrom or Henry Bech, or just a tally of his day’s expenses in New York. I 

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A Big Day

The image left is from 1889, taken during the centennial celebration of George Washington's inauguration. I wonder what kind of celebration there will be 100 years from tomorrow . . .

To be sure, one will not need to wait 100 years to see a celebration. Washington, D.C. is gearing up for the largest crowd it has ever seen. I won't be there on Tuesday, but I will be watching. In fact, if you want to join me, stop by the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. We'll be watching inaugural festivities in the South Court classrooms.

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The Creation of Christmas

I generally enjoy the Christmas season if I don’t allow myself to get sucked up in the frenzy. Of course, the frenzy is almost irresistible: the catalogs start coming right after Labor Day, store owners regard Halloween as the beginning of the holiday season, and the stability of the global economy depends on how free and easy you are with your credit card. As for me, I’ve always thought of Christmas as:

"a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open ... Read More ›

An election of a lifetime

This certainly is the election of my lifetime. If you’ve already voted today you probably had to wait a while to do so. This morning I’ve been spending time with the Encyclopedia of U.S. campaigns, elections, and electoral behavior. While it was just published in 2008 and is excellent for historical review, so much has changed this election season that I am wondering if an addendum will be published in the near future. I’m looking forward to new studies that will take the innovations used in the 2008 election into 

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I Have A Dream

It’s Election Day, and history will be made by this evening, once the West Coast has cast its last ballots. American Presidential elections are significant events, with repercussions into almost every aspect of our lives. There were few fashion points to be made with this one, two men slugging it out in suits. But the awesome factor is that one of the candidates is a black man. At one point, it looked like there might have been a woman presidential candidate, but when that collapsed, suddenly the other party came up with a female vice-presidential choice! Regardless of how you feel 

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A unique collection: US military shoulder patches

 For the most part materials at the Milstein Division include print and electronic resources. A particularly unique collection held in our stacks is a seven-volume set of scrapbooks filled with World War I and World War II shoulder patches. Recently, these scrapbooks were treated by the Conservation Lab staff who lovingly restored them, cleaning the patches and encapsulating the pages. Conservation staff enjoyed this project thoroughly and 

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