The Army's Advice to Soldiers Headed for the Korean War: "Respect Your Allies"
This list of things soldiers should remember when preparing to go to Korea is part of a pamphlet titled “Getting Along With Our Allies,” published by the Department of the Army in 1950. (You can read the whole pamphlet here.)
Counting Fifes and Drums in George Washington's Army
Gender-Ratio Map Shows Where The Men Were In 1870
A WWII-Era Protest Letter, Sent By Japanese-American Internees Resisting the Draft
Second-generation Japanese-Americans interned at the Heart Mountain “Relocation Center” in Wyoming used this form letter to protest the government’s demand that they register with Selective Service. The letter was entered as evidence in a court case brought against seven organizers of draft resistance at Heart Mountain.
Life Advice for Young Men That Went Viral in the 1850s
This anonymous list of advice for young men was a mid-nineteenth-century viral sensation, appearing in at least 28 newspapers, Northern and Southern, with datelines between 1851 and 1860. The list even made it all the way to Hawaii, and was published twice in Honolulu’s The Polynesian.
"Having A Baby" in 1942: One Couple's Utterly Charming Homemade Documentary
Ten years ago, artist Ellen Lake found this film, along with many other 16mm home movies, in her grandmother Betty’s closet. Lake told me, via email, that she performed minor color correction on the original; otherwise, the video below is the same version that came out of her grandma’s archives. The films, which Lake was finally able to view on an ancient projector her husband “rigged up with an old shoe lace,” are unique documents, an intimate look at the domestic space of a WWII-era American home.
John Brown's Passionate "Declaration of Liberty," Written on a Lengthy Scroll
This proclamation, over 2,000 words in length, was drafted on successive sheets of paper and pasted onto a long piece of cloth, then wrapped around a wooden dowel. After John Brown’s failed raid on Harpers Ferry, investigators found the assembled scroll, along with other documents related to his crusade, at Kennedy Farm in Maryland. Brown had rented the farm to use as a home base while preparing for the action at Harpers Ferry, and wrote this proclamation there during the summer before the October 1859 raid.
A British Teacher's Archive of Confiscated Toys
These “confiscation cabinets,” assembled by veteran teacher and artist Guy Tarrant, are an unusual archive: toys taken from London schoolchildren in 150 different schools, over thirty years.
Map Promising 1897 Travelers the "Good Roads" In and Around Philadelphia
This map outlined in red the “good roads” to be found in and around Philadelphia in 1897. Before standardized, state-funded road maintenance, you might find a potholed, frost-heaved nightmare when you turned your wagon toward your destination. This map was intended to make travel planning easier by giving people a tool to investigate conditions before they set out.
Learn Cherokee Words for "Dog," "Harp," "Star," and More, Using An 1888 Primer
Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library recently digitized a number of nineteenth-century documents written and printed in Cherokee, as part of a new effort to catalog its thousands of Cherokee manuscripts. Here are five pages of a Cherokee Pictorial Book, compiled by Reverend A.N. Chamberlin, which also contains a catechism and hymns in Cherokee. The captions indicate translations and phonetic pronunciations. In the audio below the images, Tom Belt, who grew up speaking Cherokee as his first language, reads the vocabulary words in order.