A Depression-Era Medicinal Plant Map of the United States
This map of medicinal plants depicts one or two important species that grew in each state in 1932, identifying the plant as native or cultivated, and describing its medical uses. A few species of seaweed float in the map's Atlantic Ocean, and the border identifies important medicinal plants from around the world.
"U Tr?": A Glossary of Abbreviations Used by Early-20th-Century Telegraph Operators
This list of abbreviations for telegraphic transmission, from a 1901 textbook, shows how operators increased the speed of communications by streamlining the messages they sent and received. By the time George M. Dodge published this book, telegraphy abbreviations had been evolving for half a century, along with the profession.
An Early-19th-Century Scientist’s Close-Up Portraits of Pollen
German chemist and botanist Carl Julius Fritzsche observed and depicted these grains of pollen from flowering plants using a microscope set at around 500x magnification. Fritzsche cataloged pollen grains from different angles, trying to understand their structure, and published his findings in an 1837 book, Ueber den Pollen (About Pollen).
How Proponents of Forced Sterilization Convinced Everyday Californians to Support Their Cause
The Human Betterment Foundation, which operated in California between 1929 and 1942, researched the effects of eugenic sterilization and created and distributed literature arguing for the practice's benefits. This 1938 pamphlet makes the case for state-imposed sterilization to readers who might have moral qualms, arguing that the practice was widespread, highly cost-effective, and approved by the families of the people who had been sterilized.
Audubon’s Animals of 19th-Century North America, Newly Available for Hi-Res Download
The University of Michigan's Special Collections Library has digitized its copy of naturalist John James Audubon's The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, originally published between 1845 and 1848. This collection of scans of public-domain material is hi-res, and the library is making the files available for free download and use, with attribution. (Plates from Audubon's more famous Birds of America are also available through the library's website.)
Bright 1970 Cuban Propaganda Posters Urging Solidarity With Vietnam
These posters by Cuban artist Felix René Mederos Pazos were the product of a trip Mederos took to Vietnam in 1969, on assignment from the Cuban government's Department of Revolutionary Orientation.
Rules of Business Ethics for Early-19th-Century Christian Merchants
The American Tract Society published these undated "Rules for Christian Mechanics and Merchants" sometime before 1841, when the tract was listed for sale in the Society's Annual Report. The Rules exhort businessmen and tradesmen (then commonly called "mechanics") to think of honesty and Christian ethics before profit, and to use their positions as public figures and employers to proselytize to those they might encounter in daily life: "shopmates—clerks—apprentices, and comers-in."
A Gorgeous Rainbow 19th-Century Geological Map of Europe
This stunning geological map of Europe was produced in 1875 by Andre Dumont, a Belgian scientist and mapmaker. Dumont, who previously published a geological map of Belgium that took him 20 years to complete, was one of the first cartographers to successfully deploy the techniques of chromolithographic printing to represent geology in vibrant color. The map, which folds up into a case, is composed of 24 sections.
The Books Virginia Colonists Were Buying in the Decade Before the Revolution
This list of books sold in the post office of Williamsburg, Virginia, which was printed sometime in the 1760s, gives a sense of the kind of reading material people living in the capital of the Colony of Virginia were consuming in the decade before the American Revolution.