The Puzzle-Writing, Puzzle-Solving Teen Subculture of the Late 19th Century
Jane Austen's Collection of Critical Feedback From Her (Sometimes Harsh) Friends and Family
In an eight-page document, Jane Austen collected her friends’ and family’s opinions of her third and fourth novels, Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815). The British Library recently made the manuscript available online as part of its great Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians collection.
Interactive Time-Lapse Map Shows How the U.S. Took More Than 1.5 Billion Acres From Native Americans
This interactive map, produced by University of Georgia historian Claudio Saunt to accompany his new book West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776, offers a time-lapse vision of the transfer of Indian land between 1776 and 1887. As blue “Indian homelands” disappear, small red areas appear, indicating the establishment of reservations.
A Unique Atlas Shows How Much of the Arctic Has Been Mapped by the Inuit
A group of researchers has collated historical documents to produce an interactive atlas, Pan Inuit Trails, that shows how much of the Canadian Arctic has been explored and mapped by the Inuit people.
The Sniffy, Scandalized Letter That Sealed the UK Government's Ban of Ulysses
In this letter, the British Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Archibald Bodkin, issued an official opinion on James Joyce’s book Ulysses, calling it a “filthy book” and declaring that it should “not be allowed to be imported into the country.” The government adopted Bodkin’s recommendation, and banned Ulyssesfrom the UK.
How Eisenhower Handled McCarthy's Threat to a "Middle-of-the-Road" GOP
In March 1954, President Eisenhower sent this letter to George N. Craig, then the Republican governor of Indiana, defending his policy of not publicly criticizing the actions of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. The letter shows how carefully Eisenhower had formulated this tactic, and how often he had fielded questions about its appropriateness.
An Early Draft of "The Star-Spangled Banner," With All Those Verses We Never Sing
This year marks the bicentennial of Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and there will be commemorations galore (see the Smithsonian’s extensive plans here, and the Maryland Historical Society's here). Here’s one of Key’s first drafts of the song, including the unfamiliar second, third, and fourth verses.
A Detail-Packed Mid-19th-Century Map of World Religious Belief
This 1854 map of world religious belief appeared as part of an atlas published in Scotland by cartographer Alexander Keith Johnston. The map, a “Moral and Statistical Chart Showing the Geographical Distribution of Man According to Religious Belief,” presents religious geography from a Scotch Protestant perspective.
"A Forlorn Little Rescue Party": Post-Combat Interviews With D-Day Survivors From One Hard-Hit Company
This testimony, collected soon after D-Day by the U.S. Army Historical Section, compiles memories from seven survivors of Company A, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division.
Photos of Late 19th-Century Bicycle Clubs Riding Their Penny-Farthings Around the Bay Area
The California Historical Society recently posted a batch of cycling-themed images from their collections on Flickr. While some of the ephemera is gorgeous (and don’t miss this studio portrait of “Miss Valentine Conwell, age 3 year and 4 months, the youngest cyclist in the world”), I like these photographs of groups of cyclists on outings best.