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Blog Posts by Subject: History of North America

The Second Time America was Bombed in World War II

A patron wrote ASK NYPL to ask about her uncle, who died in March 1945 while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. She granted us permission to share the story of the search here.

The patron knew very little about her uncle "Buddy." When the Army notified her uncle's next of kin of his death, they did not disclose how or where he died. Further, her uncle's military records had been destroyed in the 1973 National 

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"Chris in the Morning" Reading List

From 1990 through 1995, the television viewing public was obsessed with the goings on in Cicely, Alaska. Northern Exposure ruled the television airwaves. And while our airwaves were dominated by this quirky drama, on the show itself the airwaves were ruled by Chris Stevens and his KBHR radio show Chris in the Morning.

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Teaching Prohibition: Databases for Use in Creating Lesson Plans

To help in your lesson planning, I've highlighted some databases available at the Library that are related to Prohibition.

Grolier Online — type in "Prohibition" and find articles on the topic in various reading levels and in Spanish. Kids Search — click on the “images” link and type in "Prohibition." You will find primary source information on the topic. ... Read More ›

Social Studies Resources for the 4th Grade Classroom: Colonial and Revolutionary Periods

With Thanksgiving a few days away, many of us are getting ready to enjoy the wonderful foods of our harvest, spend time with loved ones and reflect on the things for which we are thankful. We know that teachers are also busy creating social studies lessons about the significance of this holiday, especially the contributions of the different groups living in and travelling to the "New World" in the 1600-1700s.  This list of resources was compiled to help teachers and students learn, from a variety of perspectives, how the United States was 

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The Sixties: An Era of Pop Cultural Revolution in America

New York Foundation Records: Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Physicians

In 1933 — the same year he was first contacted by Franz Boas about funding for scientific studies to subvert anti-Semitic claims spreading through Europe and America — banker and New York Foundation Trustee Felix Warburg also began receiving letters requesting his assistance from the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Physicians and Medical Scientists. At that time, the German National Socialist party had 

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Findings from the Miscellaneous Personal Name Collection: The Case of the Slave Ship Antelope

Detail of 1825 John MacPherson Berrien letter on Antelope slave ship trial

This is one of the most fascinating documents I have found so far in the Miscellaneous Collection. It’s a letter written by attorney and politician John MacPherson Berrien on March 4th, 1825, the same day he started his term as a U.S. Senator from Georgia.

The above detail of the letter reads: “…the U.S. have consequently a rightful possession of a number of human beings, who are claimed by the Sp[anish] and Port[uguese] 

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9/11/01

From "Drugstore Photographs, Or, A Trip Along the Yangtze River, 1999;" Lower Manhattan Block-by-Block by Dylan Stone. Block 084: West Thames Street between South End Avenue and the Hudson River Esplanade (north side), Digital ID 504218, New York Public LibraryWhere were you? Uptown, midtown, downtown. Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx. Brooklyn, Manhattan, New Jersey. On the ferry, on the train, in the air, below ground. At the library, at school, at home, at work. Maybe you were somewhere 

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Maury and the Menu: A Brief History of the Cunard Steamship Company

In 1907 the Cunard Steamship Company launched the first of their Express Liners, the Lusitania and the

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My Library: Jerilyn Jurinek

Jerilyn is a painter of American history, and teaches drawing at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers and Spring Studio, and collage at The Cooper Union Department of Continuing Education.

What brings you to the Mulberry Street Library today?

I intend to use the computer. I do everything that needs to be done with email, practice how to use the 

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Charles Kuralt and Walt Whitman on the Road

Walt Whitman filled the pages of Leaves of Grass with poetry exalting the lives of Americans. While out in the streets, he observed and recorded the beauty of daily life. Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing" is a delightful example how common activities make up the fabric of America.  Within its lines, a boatman owns a part of America, and a mother's daily activities are considered 

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Music manuscripts from the composer of the Star-Spangled Banner

It’s been a while since my last post, but the genesis of this post began with July 4th, 2010.  I was thinking:  What better way to observe the anniversary of the United States of America than with the national anthem. (The image above ‑ seen through mylar protection ‑ is of the first edition of the Star-Spangled Banner owned by the Music Division – one of 

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Fact Checking a Novel: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Did that really happen?!? 

Historical fiction is a genre that encompasses both fact and fiction, but where the line is drawn between the two can be anyone's guess sometimes.  Some authors do tremendous research for their novels to be historically accurate, while others take liberty with history to fit their plot line.

One such novel that rides that line between fact and fiction is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz.  It follows the story of Oscar Wao and 

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Wertheim Study and the Allen Room writers celebrate Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Free public lectures in the South Court Auditorium by the writers and scholars of the Research Study Rooms began last week, and with a bang.

Distinguished historian and biographer Susan Butler spoke about her forthcoming book, Roosevelt and Stalin: Winning the War: Shaping the Peace.  For it, she discovered 300 unpublished hot-war messages, researched the Tehran and Yalta conferences, and we learned all sorts of things - 

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In the Neighborhood: Theodore Roosevelt's Birthplace

Of all the reference questions I expected upon coming to work at the Andrew Heiskell Library in its current location on West 20th Street in Manhattan, "Where is Teddy Roosevelt's birthplace?" was nowhere on my list. I quickly learned that the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Historic Site is a short two blocks east, at 28 East 20th Street, and that this question comes up mostly during the summer tourist season. Since then, I've often walked past this now familiar, unassuming townhouse and 

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Changing the Changing City

Seeking further enlightenment into the city we call home, I recently took a class on the literary and cultural history of New York City. Among the many themes common to New York City novels we discussed was the portrayal of the city itself as a character with power to shape the lives of its citizens.

Many of us New Yorkers have felt this pressure in our own lives: we choose where to live based on our budgets, our hobbies, our family situation, and often our ethnic, linguistic or religious 

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Have you read... Bill Bryson?

Best of Reference 2010: Thrifty Reference

Knowledge is power, and in hard times, finding the best information can be even more important. These books, websites, and electronic resources, available through your local library, can save you both time and money! 

Selected and presented by librarians from all three NYC library systems, Best of Reference is sponsored by The New York Library Association's Reference and Adult Services Section.

Coupon Clipping   Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend Anthony S. Mercatante and James R Dow, eds. ... Read More ›

Not Just Another New York Travel Guide

In these tight economic times, we’re all looking for ways to save money, and as summer approaches this applies to vacation plans as well. About this time of year Americans start to dream of vacations to faraway places, respite from the daily grind and a little sun and relaxation. Conventional wisdom says that in recessions we lean towards travel options light on the wallet, heading to locales closer to home, such as a national park or an American destination city.   Well, the budget ... Read More ›

Endurance Racing: First Leg, the Bunion Derby

Vacationers traveling in the United States usually do so by car, plane or train, but in 1928 (and again in 1929), approximately 200 runners signed on for the challenge of crossing the country coast-to-coast on foot. These were the runners in the Transcontinental Footrace, jokingly called the “Bunion Derby” by the newspapers. The race was used to advertise everything from foot products to the new Route-66 highway to Madison Square Garden, and was managed by a sports promoter of questionable character named C.C. Pyle, whose legal troubles added an additional bit of entertainment 

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