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.”
The CIA's 1961 "Personality Sketch" of Nikita Khrushchev
In this fifteen-page document, shared with John F. Kennedy in 1961, the Central Intelligence Agency summed up their view of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s personality. (Click on the image below, or on this link, to reach the PDF of the full document.)
Convicts Transported to Australia Left Loved Ones With These Emotional Tokens of Their Affection
The National Museum of Australia has a great online exhibit showcasing its collection of convict love tokens. These mementoes—coins that had been smoothed over and then engraved with messages, memories, and dates—were tangible souvenirs that transportees gave to sweethearts, families, and friends before leaving for penal colonies in Australia. Some personally crafted their tokens, while others paid artisans to do it for them.
A 19th-Century Mother's Handwritten Record of Her Babies' Childhood Illnesses
This register, found tucked into a family Bible, catalogs childhood diseases and vaccinations of the nine siblings in the Fisher family, who lived in Philadelphia in the nineteenth century. The pages below show the illnesses suffered by Hannah Wharton Fisher (born 1816), her sister Sarah Fox Fisher (b. 1820), their brother William Wharton Fisher (b. 1822), and their brother Thomas Wharton Fisher (b. 1827).
The Lincoln Speeches a Mourning Nation Most Loved to Remember
After Abraham Lincoln’s death in 1865, the national outpouring of grief resulted in the printing of many souvenir books, sermons, portraits, and even medals. Companies that sold prints went into high gear. Historian Harold Holzer writes that the New York firm Currier & Ives had deathbed lithographs for sale within nine days of the President’s death, “a breathtakingly fast response in the 1860s.”
Virginia Poe's Sad Acrostic Valentine for Edgar Allan
Virginia Clemm Poe wrote this carefully-penned acrostic valentine for her husband, Edgar Allan, in 1846. The letters of the first lines spell out his name.
The Snakes, Angels, and Invented Alphabets of a Mysterious 18th-Century Magic Book
The strange eighteenth-century manuscript called the Clavis Inferni (“Key of Hell”) is filled with invocations, cryptic sigils, and paintings of supernatural beings. The book defies interpretation—as it was meant to do.
Common 19th-Century Arguments Against Women's Suffrage, Neatly Refuted
This pamphlet, entered in the Records of the House of Representatives in 1866, runs through often-heard objections to women’s suffrage, striking down each.
Shirley Temple's Earliest Movies Are Really Hard to Watch
This early Shirley Temple film, Kid in Africa, is part of the “Baby Burlesks” series that launched her career. Temple made eight “Baby Burlesks” and four “Frolics of Youth” shorts for Educational Films Corporation between 1932 and 1933, when she was 4 and 5. (Her real star turn was in Stand Up and Cheer, 1934.)
A 1930 Chinese Comic-Book Edition of All Quiet on the Western Front
This Chinese version of the 1929 Erich Maria Remarque classic All Quiet on the Western Front was sold in serial form in Shanghai in 1930. This particular group of All Quiet booklets is collected at Dartmouth’s Rauner Special Collections Library.