The Papers Late-19th-Century Chinese Immigrants Had to Carry To Prove Their Legal Status
As of the 1892 passage of the Geary Act, which extended the decade-old Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese immigrants living in the United States were required to carry identification papers at all times. Here are four examples of such papers, carried by men who worked as laborers and farmers in California; they are part of a larger Flickr group of documents issued between 1894 and 1897, and held by the California Historical Society.
Jefferson’s Outline of the Differences Between Northerners and Southerners
In a 1785 letter to the Marquis de Chastellux, a French writer and historian who fought on the colonists’ side during the Revolutionary War, Thomas Jefferson outlined the dominant personal qualities he saw emerging in the population of the new country’s northern and southern states. Chastellux was working ona book about his travels through the new States; he had sent Jefferson the part of this work-in-progress pertaining to Virginia, for his review.
A Victorian Argument That Snow Is Holy, Illustrated by a Beautiful Catalog of Flakes
The Info-Dense Maps Civilians Used to Follow WWII From the Home Front
These bright Dated Events War Maps, issued in 1942, 1944, and 1945, are by Toronto artist Stanley Turner. Other Turner war maps digitized by the David Rumsey Map Collection are also dated between 1942 and 1945. Each offers readers a packed visual guide to the recent happenings of the global war.
The Documents That Trapped Poor Southern Farmers in a Dangerous Form of Debt
A commonplace of Southern rural life in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, these long forgotten promissory documents, nicknamed “guano notes,” are among the most unique forms of debt in American history.
Beguiling 19th-Century Space Art, Made by a Self-Taught Astronomical Observer
Etienne Leopold Trouvelot, a French-American artist and amateur astronomer, published these drawings of celestial subjects as chromolithographs in 1881. Trouvelot was a scientist without formal training, whose primary occupation was artist, nature illustrator, and printmaker.
Flyers for the Campaigns Martin Luther King Was Working on When He Was Assassinated
These flyers call people to join Martin Luther King’s last campaigns, against poverty and the Vietnam War. Two of them have been modified to act as commemorations of the leader’s assassination. These objects of movement ephemera are part of Tulane University’s Amistad Research Center’s “Print Culture of the Civil Rights Movement, 1950-1980” digital collection.
Pitching a Potential Donor, Shackleton Sketched This Expedition Map
Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, gathering funds for his proposed Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1914, sketched this route map on a menu card to explain his plans to a prospective donor. It’s included in Tim Bryars and Tom Harper’s recent book, A History of the Twentieth Century in 100 Maps.
The Lucky Charms Soldiers Carried Into WWI
During (and after) World War I, British folklorist Edward Lovett made a point of collecting examples of lucky charms and amulets that soldiers had carried to war. Some of these—included in a new book about the Imperial War Museum’s World War I collections, The First World War Galleries, by Paul Cornish—are below.
Pretty Tree Maps Showing the State of American Forests in 1884
These tree maps, commissioned by the United States Census and published in 1884, were compiled at the direction of dendrologist and horticulturist Charles Sprague Sargent. The complete set of sixteen maps, digitized by the David Rumsey Map Collection, represents American forests by genus of tree, density, and position. The USDA estimates that while the total area of forested land in the United States has diminished by 30 percent since the date of European settlement in 1630, “75 percent of net conversion to other uses occurred in the nineteenth century.” Sargent’s project was meant to capture the contours of the forest as it stood in the Victorian era.