Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights

Aug. 8 2014 11:45 AM

Photos of “Soldiers’ Inventories” Showcase 1,000 Years of Fighting Gear

U.K. photographer Thom Atkinson spent nine months working on this project, titled “Soldiers’ Inventories.” In it, he assembled 13 groups of artifacts: the weapons, clothing, and personal effects that British soldiers would have carried while fighting in conflicts from the Battle of Hastings (1066) to the present day.

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Aug. 7 2014 2:34 PM

Gorgeous 1914 Relief Maps of Six National Parks

These U.S. Geological Survey relief maps, published circa 1914 by the Department of the Interior, offer “panoramic views” of several of the young national parks. Yosemite (est. 1890); Mt. Rainier National Park (1899); Crater Lake National Park (1902); Mesa Verde National Park (1906); Glacier National Park (1910); and Rocky Mountain National Park (1915) appear in craggy glory, in shaded relief maps illustrating the natural and human-made attractions of the parks.

Aug. 6 2014 11:21 AM

19th-Century Classified Ads for Abortifacients and Contraceptives 

This compilation of classified ads, from the New York Herald and the New York Sun, shows how contraception, cures for sexually transmitted diseases, abortifacients, and abortion services were advertised in New York City during one week in December, 1841. (Curators at the Library Company of Philadelphia put together the collection of ads as part of an online exhibition, “Capitalism by Gaslight: The Shadow Economies of 19th-Century America.”)

Aug. 5 2014 1:15 PM

The Hyper-Patriotic 1833 “Eagle Map of the United States”

The “Eagle Map of the United States, Engraved for Rudiments of National Knowledge” first appeared in an 1833 atlas published by E.L. Carey and A. Hart of Philadelphia. At nearly 400 pages, the atlas, titled Rudiments of National Knowledge, Presented to the Youth of the United States, and to Enquiring Foreigners, was meant to fill a void in educational texts about American history and geography.


Aug. 5 2014 11:11 AM

American Boys at a Nazi Summer Camp, Upstate New York, Summer of 1937

Audrey Amidon, of the National Archives’ Motion Picture Preservation Lab, recently shared this film of German-American boys at a Nazi summer camp in Windham, New York, in the summer of 1937.

Aug. 1 2014 1:16 PM

The Blue-and-Green Elegance of Turn-of-the-Century Tennis Illustrations

These posters from the turn of the 20th century reflect the new enthusiasm for tennis that swept Europe and the United States during this time.

July 31 2014 11:44 AM

A Post–World War I “Hunger Map of Europe,” Aimed at the Hearts of American Kids 

This map prefaced a 1919 book by the United States Food Administration, titled Food Saving and Sharing: Telling How the Older Children of America May Help Save From Famine Their Comrades In Allied Lands Across the Sea. “Remember,” the text asked its readers, “that every little country on the [map] is not merely an outline, but represents millions of people who are suffering from hunger.”


July 30 2014 11:04 AM

The First Generations of Paper Currency, Printed in Colonial Massachusetts

These notes, printed by the government of Massachusetts in 1713, 1717, and 1744, are part of the first generation of paper currency in the United States. Massachusetts first printed folding bills in 1690 to pay for military expenses incurred during King William’s War. Other colonies followed suit.

July 29 2014 10:26 AM

Photo Postcards Made to Celebrate the Ruins of Black Neighborhoods After the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921

These images, made into postcards, commemorate the destruction brought on by the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, capturing the ruins that replaced the city's African-American neighborhoods after 18 hours of looting and burning. These postcards, like the images of lynching victims that circulated in the mail around the same time, served as souvenir objects for white collectors, celebrating the destruction that had taken place.

July 28 2014 10:46 AM

The Documents A.J. Liebling Carried While Reporting Overseas During World War II

New Yorker writer A.J. Liebling carried these papers while reporting in Europe during World War II, and in the postwar era.