Tag: american history
Today’s post comes from Emma Rothberg, intern in the National Archives History Office.
Tucked in a corner in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery at the National Archives in Washington, DC, is a rectangular piece of paper faded grey with time. It is unobtrusive and, due to its small size, could easily be missed among the larger and flashier documents and artifacts. But this card is a reminder of one of the most resonant and well known stories of American history—that of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination by the actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth.
On April 14, 1865, Vice President Johnson was staying at the Kirkwood House—a hotel that stood at the corner of 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Also in the hotel, and in a room directly one floor above the Vice President’s suite, was George Atzerodt. He was a fellow conspirator in Booth’s larger plot to murder President Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Vice President Johnson and thus throwing the recently victorious North into chaos and disarray. Atzerodt—a German carriage painter from Maryland who had spent the Civil War years ferrying Confederates across the Potomac—arrived at the Kirkwood House on the morning of the 14th. His task: to assassinate Vice President Johnson.… [ Read all ]
The Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, has housed some famous and infamous inmates, such as “Birdman of Alcatraz” Robert Stroud and Machine Gun Kelly. In the early 20th century, the prison took in some less likely felons—violators of the Oleomargarine Act of 1886.
How did trafficking in this popular butter substitute become a Federal offense? Well, almost immediately after New York’s U.S. Dairy Company began production of “artificial butter” in 1871, regulation began. Dairy interests pushed Congress to pass the 1886 act, which imposed a two-cent tax (per pound) on margarine and also required manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of margarine to obtain margarine licenses.
By 1902, 32 states had bans on coloring margarine yellow to make it look more like butter. That same year, Congress increased the tax to 10 cents a pound for colored margarine but imposed a lesser tax of a quarter of one cent per pound on the uncolored stuff.
The exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” includes the story of felons convicted of violating sections of the Oleomargarine Act and sent to the Federal prison at Leavenworth. Some tried to pass the margarine off as butter; others tried to evade the tax by reusing tax stamps again and again.
Posted by Mary on July 6, 2011, under Prologue Magazine, Unusual documents, What's Cooking, What's Cooking Wednesdays.
Tags: american history, Leavenworth, NARA, National archives and records administration, National Archives at Kansas City, Oleomargarine Act of 1886, United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth
Someone who read my post on Squirrel Appreciation Day alerted me to World Sparrow Day, which was Sunday, March 20. This inspired me to dive back into Online Public Access (OPA) on the National Archives web site. I typed in “sparrow,” and amid many references to the U.S. Marines, missiles, and Sparrows Point shipyard were a couple of photographs of the tiny bird and some quite interesting Indian School Journals from the early 20th century.
The Journal came from the National Archives at Fort Worth, among Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The magazine was published by students at the Chilocco Indian School and was printed in the school’s print shop. It contained articles about the Indian service and various tribes, stories, poems and inspirational paragraphs, and advertisements. There are also a number of photographs of students, faculty, school buildings, Indian houses, and artifacts.
I’m featuring a page from the February 1907 issue of the Indian School Journal that was featured in a section called “Educational Department—Lesson For Teachers from The Office.” The suggested Q&A taught students about “Birds as Weed Destroyers.”
The Journal authors were not sympathetic to the English (house) sparrow, which is the bird celebrated on World Sparrow Day. Because house sparrows are not native to North America, … [ Read all ]
Posted by Mary on March 21, 2011, under Uncategorized.
Tags: american history, Indian school, Indian School Journal, NARA, national archives, National archives and records administration, National Archives at Fort Worth, Online Public Access, OPA, sparrow, sparrows, squirrel, World Sparrow Day
Congratulations to Dave M! Our guest judge Lynn Bassanese of the Roosevelt Presidential Library chose your caption, as FDR “was a real Navy man and enjoyed an occasional cocktail so we think he would approve of our choice.”
It’s unlikely President Roosevelt would have enjoyed the wartime cocktail being ladled out, though. The original caption declares: “Saturday’s a holiday for most of the nation’s small fry, but to these youngsters of Roanoke, Va., it’s fat-collection day” (NLR-PHOCO-A-65701 ).
Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, some of our readers may have plans for a green beer tonight. This week’s caption is about drinking, too—use your gift o’gab and give us your best caption!
Posted by Hilary on March 17, 2011, under - World War II, Photo Caption Contest, Uncategorized.
Tags: american history, National archives and records administration, old photos, Photo Caption Contest, Roosevelt Library, weird photos, World War II
Here at Prologue: Pieces of History, we have Facial Hair Friday. On the Harry S. Truman Library’s Facebook page, they celebrate Millinery Monday! When I was very little, I loved poking through my mother’s old hatboxes stored in the basement. Alas, the era of wearing hats for every occasion had passed, but she had saved her favorites.
Bess Truman apparently did the same thing. The Truman Library has several of her hats and many more photographs of her in hats at various stages of her life. Scrolling through the Truman Library’s page is a good substitute for exploring my mother’s hatboxes. Not only do you get to see some remarkable chapeaux, but you also get to see the very stylish young Bess Wallace (and others) wearing the hats.
Because Millinery Monday covers the span of Bess Truman’s life, we get to see how hat styles changed from the start of the 20th century through its late decades. We also get to see a part of the library’s collection that is not usually seen by the public. On the National Archives Facebook page, click through our list of “Favorite Pages” to find out more about the Presidential libraries, regional archives, and other units that are all … [ Read all ]
Posted by Mary on March 7, 2011, under Uncategorized.
Tags: american history, Bess Truman, Facial Hair Fridays, hats, Millinery Monday, national archives, National archives and records administration, Pieces of History, Truman Library