Pretty Portraits of the Tiny, Lumpy, Sweet Strawberries of the Early 20th Century
Here are some of the images found in a search for "strawberry" in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Pomological Watercolor Collection, which holds art made for the department between 1886 and 1942. This collection contains USDA-produced art that was used in publications illustrating advances in pomology (fruit breeding and production) for the benefit of American growers.
A 1942 List of Hitler’s Lies
This 11-page document collects 10 years of Adolf Hitler's "more conspicuous lies," as the American Office of War Information described them in December 1942. Most are mischaracterizations (to put it mildly) of Nazi intentions toward the world: "We have no territorial demands to make in Europe" (March 1936); "We want nothing from France—nothing at all" (September 1938); "Germany does not conduct a war against small nations" (April 1940).
Adorable Depression-Era Posters Promoting Kindness to Animals
These posters, by artist Morgan Dennis, were produced for the American Humane Association's Be Kind to Animals Week during the 1930s. The commemorative week was first observed in 1915, and several well-known artists of the time created artwork to promote it over its first few decades of life. The national organization offered copies of posters like Dennis' to local branches, leaving space at the bottom for their identifying information.
How Early-19th-Century Students Cemented Their Bonds Through Friendship Albums
Friendship albums became popular in America in the 1820s, as the blossoming culture of sentimentalism made its mark on personal relationships, especially those of young people. Bookmakers created sturdy, thick, leather-bound books expressly for friends to leave emotional tributes. This album was a gift to Mary Wallace Peck, a former student and then drawing teacher at the Litchfield Female Academy in Connecticut, from her fiancé Edward Mansfield in 1825.
Finding the Poetry in Walt Whitman’s Newly Rediscovered Health Advice
On Friday, the journal Walt Whitman Quarterly Review published a special issue reprinting a series of journalistic treatises by Whitman, expounding on the nature of health. "Manly Health and Training," written under the pseudonym "Mose Velsor" and published in installments in the New York Atlas in 1858, is 47,000 words long, and you can read the whole thing here.
A WWI–Era Memo Asking French Officers to Practice Jim Crow With Black American Troops
In this memo published by W.E.B. DuBois in the NAACP's magazine the Crisis in 1919, a French liaison to the American military in France counsels French officers on the proper treatment of black American troops. The memo, signed by Colonel J.L.A. Linard of the American Expeditionary Force Headquarters, voices white American concerns that black soldiers and officers working with the French were being treated with too much "familiarity and indulgence."
A Trove of Newly-Digitized Trademarks Offers A Capsule History of Late-19th-Century California
The California State Archives recently announced that it has digitized thousands of trademark applications filed with the state between 1861 and 1900. California passed a trademark law in 1863, years before the first federal trademark legislation. The state acted in part, writes the State Archives, to regulate the "explosion of commerce after the Gold Rush."
Some Surviving Receipts for Taxes Paid in 18th-Century England and Scotland
This small group of receipts for taxes paid in the United Kingdom, before the institution of an income tax in 1799, show how land, real estate, and other property translated into money owed in the last decade of the 18th century.
An Affectionate 1932 Illustrated Map of Harlem Nightlife
Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library just acquired this original pen-and-brush version of E. Simms Campbell's nightlife map of Harlem, from 1932. The map, drawn by an illustrator who frequented many of the establishments he depicted, exudes an insider's pride in the robust music scene in full swing during the Harlem Renaissance.
Some Delightfully Scatological and Cruel Nursery Rhymes, From the Oldest Surviving Book of Them
The British Library holds this 1744 book of nursery rhymes, Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book, which was sold in London and is the oldest surviving published collection in the genre. Some of the rhymes inTommy Thumb's are still familiar; others, like the wonderful "Piss a Bed," have dropped out of circulation.