Mapping sound at the British Library. The British Library has organized several of its archival sound collections on Google Maps. The results include Accents and Dialects, wildlife and soundscape recordings from Britain, music from India and Uganda, and a whole mess of noisy frogs. [more inside]
Webcasts from the Library of Congress. Hundreds of recent public programs from the Library of Congress, from Indian Religious Freedom, to Litigate or Legislate? to End of European Colonial Empires, to Robert E. Lee, to 1507 Waldseemuller World Map. Other topics include Performing Arts, Education, Government, World Affairs, Literature, Religion and Science. [more inside]
How many men does it take it recreate the massive 1944 allied assault on Omaha Beach? Three. [YouTube] [more inside]
Segregated Seattle: For most of its history Seattle was a segregated city, as committed to white supremacy as any location in America. Segregated Seattle is a student/community created website and digital archive sponsored by UW's Civil Rights and Labor History Project. Check out the segregation maps, the short films and slide shows, Activist Oral Histories, and a page where you can browse the site by time period or topic. And the Restrictive Covenants Database will help Seattle homeowners determine if the fine print in their deed forbids the property from being "used or occupied by any person of the Ethiopian, Malay, or any Asiatic race."
A heroic sculpture of explorer Christopher Newport recently unveiled at the university of the same name is drawing criticism because of the decision of the university and the sculptor to depict Newport with his right hand manfully resting on his unsheathed sword--even though he lost that arm two decades before the founding of Virginia. Sculptor Jon Hair ("AMERICA'S MOST HIGHLY COMMISSIONED MONUMENTAL SCULPTOR" according his website) isn't winning any friends with his explanation of the blunder. "I wouldn't show an important historical figure like this with his arm cut off . . . We don't show our heroes maimed." [more inside]
Public libraries with Online Content: Residents of Missouri can get a free account at the Kansas City Public Library that will let them access digital databases including the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and downloadable audiobooks. Residents of the Empire State can get a digital library card at the New York Public Library to access a wealth of digital databases. (The rest of us can get a NYPL card for $100.) And the Boston Public Library will give digital access to most of the above, plus JSTOR and (sigh) the Early American Imprints collection of nearly everything printed in North America to 1820. Unfortunately you have to show up at a branch of the BPL and prove Massachusetts residence to get your card. Your turn--what other public libraries offer access to subscription online information databases?
Peale’s Mastodon by Paul Semonin. "The skeleton preoccupied American patriots for another reason less scientific in nature–one which helps to explain why its bones were eagerly sought after by the Founding Fathers during and after the Revolutionary War. For many Americans, the great beast had become a symbol of the new nation’s own conquering spirit–an emblem of overwhelming power in a psychologically insecure society." An interesting article about Americans trying to understand mammoths, from Common-Place, the web magazine of early American history. Semion wrote a book on the topic, American Monster.
The Kameny Papers Project preserved and presents the papers of gay rights pioneer Franklin Kameny, who had activists picketing the White House in 1965, well before Stonewall. The website includes a nice archive of his papers, including correspondence, a small photo gallery, and some charming hate mail from members of Congress. See also the Franklin Kameny pages at the Rainbow History Project. Yesterday, the Library of Congress accepted Kameny's papers. [via Andrew Sullivan]
Dr. John Jeffries: Physician, Loyalist, Aeronaut is a typically delightful entry from historian J. N. Bell's blog Boston 1775.
Rebellion: John Horse and the Black Seminoles, First Black Rebels to Beat American Slavery. "Rebellion is a Web documentary that explores the inspiring, true, and largely unknown story of John Horse and the Black Seminoles, a community of free blacks and fugitive slaves who in 1838 became the first black rebels to defeat American slavery." This visually arresting site is a treasure trove of information about the Seminoles, early Florida history, and a largely unrecognized (and successful!) slave rebellion that may have been the largest in American history. The site includes interactive maps, arresting images, and a thorough history of the rebellion. Too bad the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma expelled all its black members in 1990.
David Skal talks about the Origins and Myths of Halloween. [MP3 file] The author of Death Makes A Holiday was interviewed in 2004 for the radio program Talking History. The Skal interview runs from 4:47 to 18:20 of the program. Skal briefly addresses some Halloween urban legends, which are more thoroughly debunked at Snopes Halloween page.
A Native American Scoops Lewis and Clark. Moncacht-apé, a Yazoo Indian, traveled up the Missouri and to the Pacific 100 years before Lewis and Clark. He told his story to the Frenchman Le Page du Pratz, who recorded it as part of his 1758 Histoire de la Lousiane (new translations here). Thomas Jefferson owned the book, as did Meriwether Lewis. But a walk to the Pacific Ocean was no big deal for the Mississippi native--after all he had walked to Niagara Falls a few years earlier.
A New Alpine Melt Theory: "The Alpine glaciers are shrinking, that much we know. But new research suggests that in the time of the Roman Empire, they were smaller than today. And 7,000 years ago they probably weren't around at all." Fascinating report from Der Spiegal about the "Green Alps" theory. This page has a small graphic showing the Alps today and how they might have looked in a warmer period. Another article here. Maybe Otzi forgot to pack his sunscreen?
Talking History is a radio show where historians talk about their latest work. The archives include MP3 and (sometimes) Realplayer streams, with discussions on topics like the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, George Washington and his slaves, and the history of "Boston Marriages" (today called same sex-unions). Some programs feature interesting archival audio, such as this speech by Elijah Muhammad.