Stars, Stripes, and History

Posted on June 27, 2016

By Candy Jones-Guerin

Our Nation’s largest birthday celebration is just around the corner and we’re excited to get the party started!

On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on July 4th, we don our red, white, and blue to pay homage and celebrate with food, friends, and fireworks.

There are also a lot of lesser known facts about this important day. Take note of these and surprise whomever you celebrate with.

Did you know…

  • Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a “laptop,” which was a writing desk that could fit on one’s lap.
  • Including John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, a total of three US presidents have died on July 4th. James Monroe is the third president to share this fate.
  • According to author Kenneth C. Davis, July 2nd is the real day of Independence, but it’s celebrated on the fourth because that’s when congress accepted Jefferson’s declaration.
  • Due to concerns about cracking the iconic instrument, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. Instead, every year, to mark the Fourth of July, the 2,000-pound bell is tapped 13 times to signal for bells across the country to start ringing.

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American Eras: “A Valued Resource for the Classroom and Library Alike”

Searching for “a valued resource” to provide users with topics in early American History? Look no further, Gale’s American Eras: Primary Sources feature a fascinating, student-friendly reference to provide a unique understanding of songs, speeches, advertisements, letters, laws, legal decisions, newspaper articles, cartoons, and much more! With over 900 primary-source documents that provide vivid first-hand account of key events, trends, and people, Gale’s American Eras will be your go-to source.

Read three reviews on this title:

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Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World: “Ambitious” and “Recommended” eBook

Looking for an “accessible” and “ambitious” resource designed to support user’ religion and history understandings? The Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World provides rich historical content partnered with coverage of the issues, countries, and people that are important in today’s world to provide knowledge of Islam’s influence on all areas of human activity. Libraries will “benefit” researchers by obtaining this resource, read a few reviews below!

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World Refugee Day – June 20th

Posted on June 2, 2016

By Debra Kirby

Since ancient times refugees have fled their homes and countries because of war, famine, natural disaster, and religious and racial persecution and genocide, often risking their lives and the lives of their children in search of safe haven. The current Syrian refugee crisis is only the latest in a string of similar tragic human events that has occurred in every corner of the world.

In the aftermath of World War II in response to the atrocities committed during that conflict, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was issued by the United Nations, which recognized the right of persecuted people to seek asylum in other countries. The United Nations also established the IUN International Refugees Organization (IRO), which provided assistance to some 1.5 million European and Asian World War II refugees. Though it was disbanded in 1951, it was replaced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which continues to provide such assistance and which established the first World Refugee Day on June 20, 2001 – now an annual event observed by more than 100 countries throughout the world.

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New Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History: Lively, First Person, and Real

Posted on May 26, 2016

Primary sources have been called snippets of history – small windows that show a picture of one moment in time. A letter, a memoir, a personal account – each provides a unique, often personal perspective. And when they are put together in a meaningful way, they create a full and rich picture of historical events, people, and developments while supporting national learning standards.

By directly engaging with artifacts and individual records, students can explore, analyze, and delve more deeply into a topic.  In addition, primary sources help students:

  • Develop critical thinking skills by examining meaning, context, bias, purpose, point of view, and more.
  • Pursue independent learning as they construct knowledge by interacting with sources that represent different accounts of the same event/topic.
  • Understand how viewpoints and biases affect interpretation of history.

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Honoring Those That Have Served Our Country

Posted on May 18, 2016

By Candy Jones-Guerin

Memorial Day is almost up on us.  Observed as a holiday on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day honors men and women who died while serving in the United States Military. In cities and towns across the country Memorial Day is honored with parades including military personnel and members of veterans organizations.

Prior to being called Memorial Day, this day was celebrated as Decoration Day, originating in the years following the Civil War.  It became a federal holiday in 1971 and has been observed annually by Americans.

Take some time this year to learn about the significant wars in American history and the men and women who lead the charge.

The Civil War, 1st Edition
February 2016
The bombardment of Fort Sumter in 1861 set off the savage four-year war between the North and the South. The North fought to preserve the Union, whereas the South fought to win recognition as an independent nation. The war was a climax to quarrels between the two sides over the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. With this title readers will analyze the background of the war, military leadership and strategic plans of the war in the West and East, specific battles on land and sea, and the costs of the war.

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Criminalizing Sexual and Gender Deviance

Posted on May 10, 2016

By: Jen Manion

The changing meanings and usages of terms related to gender and sexuality can be charted in the American Antiquarian Society Collection on Literature, Reports, and True Crime in Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920, which features a diverse range of true crime tales, dime store novels, formal state reports, and longer accounts, factual and fictitious. The term “gay” appears in over one thousand monographs over a one-hundred-year period from 1820–1930, peaking in the 1860s with 318 documents describing spirits, songs, companions, groups, conventions, deportment, and art. The term “unsex” appears a scant nine times. One such usage appeared in a trial testimony implicating a woman as an accessory to a crime for which her husband was charged:

But if you dare to raise your arm, to unsex yourself and engage in a conspiracy against the nation’s life and the nation’s honor, to make a widow of one of your own sex, to strike down the father and husband in the presence of his wife and child, I call upon this honest jury of my countrymen to spurn that spirit of mawkish sentimentality.[i]

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A Captivating Crime Story: the Brighton Railway Murder

Posted on May 4, 2016

By: Daniel Pullian

The compartment was much bespattered with blood’: the Brighton Railway Murder

Barely a week went by in the nineteenth-century press without a sensational crime story appearing. Whether it was the gory prospect of blood and dismembered bodies, or simply the thrill of a classic ‘whodunit’, there can be little doubt that crime reporting made compelling copy. This was certainly the case with the ‘Brighton Railway Murder’ which took place in the summer of 1881. From beginning to end, the case captivated the imagination of the British people, eager to discover who had murdered wealthy tradesman Frederick Gold, and what would become of the culprit. A search of Gale Artemis: Primary Sources highlights the case’s notoriety, giving me the perfect opportunity to trace its development.    

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Peaceful and Quiet Conduct on the Streets of the Village: New York City in the Years following Stonewall

Posted April 7, 2016

By Caitlyn Colman-McGaw

It’s now widely acknowledged that the Stonewall Riots of 1969 represent the historical tipping point of the Gay Rights movement. Years and years of work by LGBT folks in New York City and beyond culminated in riots on the street of the Village. With this year representing the 45th anniversary of Stonewall I decided to take a look back at what was it like in the years after Marsha P. Johnson & Company threw the first brick and ignited a movement. Specifically, what was it like to be a lesbian in the 70s in New York City? Gale’sArchives of Human Sexuality and Identity is a fantastic place to discover more fantastic information.

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