The "Can't Get There From Here" Railroad Map of 1854 New England
This map shows the reach of railroad and telegraph infrastructure in New England in 1854. Notched lines signify extant railroads. Double lines show telegraph wires (often, if not always, built alongside and with the cooperation of railroads). A single line indicates railroads under construction.
Susan B. Anthony's Indictment for Voting While Female
On Nov. 1, 1872, Susan B. Anthony convinced officials in Rochester, N.Y., to allow her to register to vote, arguing down their objections and threatening to sue them if they refused. Anthony cast a vote in the Nov. 5 election, selecting the straight Republican ticket, headed by Ulysses S. Grant.
The "Coffin Handbill" Andrew Jackson's Enemies Used to Circulate Word of His "Bloody Deeds"
In Slate earlier this week, Jillian Keenan argued that we should “kick Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill.” As this “coffin handbill,” distributed during the 1828 election, shows, the seventh President has long inspired such violent dislike.
Hand-Drawn Early-20th-Century Charts Showing the State of African-American Economic Life
In 1900, W.E.B. Du Bois, along with collaborators Thomas J. Calloway and Daniel Murray, planned and mounted an exhibition on the state of black American life for that year’s Paris Exposition. The exhibition consisted of charts, books, maps, and photographs (here’s a photograph of the exhibit as it would have looked to a visitor). While the Library of Congress has long offered digital access to the photographs shown in that display, they’ve just recently added scans of 57 hand-drawn charts to that digital collection.
How to Build a POW Camp for Captured Germans
This simple plan, approved in 1945, shows the construction of a prisoner of war camp for German POWs in Ogden, Utah. The camp was one of hundreds scattered around the country, usually located in isolated areas. Altogether, the American Army housed more than 400,000 prisoners of war during the conflict.
A 1940s Board Game for French Kids Taught Tactics for Successful Colonialism
Published in 1941, this “Trading Game: France—Colonies” aimed to teach French children the basics of colonial management.
How to Keep Your Neighbors From Panicking After the Bomb Drops
This list of recommended actions for auxiliary police officers trying to quell panic in their communities was part of a 1951 booklet published by the New York State Police in 1951. I found the pamphlet in the collections of San Francisco’s Prelinger Library.
Historical Chart of the Causes, Milestones, and Battles of the Revolutionary War
The George Washington Bicentennial Commission, established in 1924, collected this commemorative chart of battles, leaders, and milestones of the Revolutionary War and deposited it in the National Archives.
When Wolf-Killing Was Legal, and Paid Well
This slip of paper shows how settlers were compensated for killing wolves in New Hampshire during the time of the American Revolution. Side 1 is a signed statement from the constable of Abner Ally’s small town of Chesterfield, attesting to his having killed a “grown woolf.” Side 2, dating to several months later, is a receipt for 10 pounds, signed by Nicholas Gilman, then the state treasurer.
A Beautiful 1880s Geography Game for the "Rising Generation"
This map is from a geographical game meant for children, published in the 1880s. The game starts in Hartford, Conn.—the location of the publishing company that sold the set—and proceeds westward via a northerly route, and then back east via a tour of the South, ending up in New York City after 200 total possible “stops.”