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Flowers!

Posted by Laurie Frost on April 28, 2014

Something simple this spring evening: pictures of flowers. These are from the category “Plants” at the USDA’s Digital Image Gallery. Give credit to the USDA and its photographer (if mentioned) for the use of these copyright-free images. Visit the site to see several dozen more and download size options.

Sunflowers, Image Number K5752-2, and Sunflowers in Fargo North Dakota, Image Number K5751-1. Both by Bruce Fritz.

 

 

 Clematis hybrid, Image Number K5546-14, by Scott Bauer

 

Wood sorrel, Oxalis, Image Number K5545-17, by Scott Bauer

 

Potato flowers, Image Number K4021-1, by Keith Weller

 

Fire lily, a Cyrtanthus hybrid, Image Number K5547-10,  by Scott Bauer

 

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Flower of bird-of-paradise, Image Number K9054-1, by Scott Bauer.

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The Public Domain Review

Posted by Laurie Frost on August 23, 2012

I’ve been so negligent recently — but here’s something to make it worth your while coming back today. I just found a really interesting looking site, The Public Domain Review, that has all kinds of lovely and useful images, as well as public domain films, text, and audio. Enjoy!

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Once More to the National Archives’ Vaults: Flying Machines, a Life-Preserving Coffin, Harp Guitar, and More!

Posted by Laurie Frost on September 9, 2010

Back to the National Archives’ Public Vaults, this time looking at patent office drawings, found by refining the search to yield only Architectural and Engineering Drawings.

First, a few flying machines.

Patent Drawing for a Flying Machine, 10/05/1869 - 10/05/1869

Printed patent drawing for a flying machine invented by W. F. Quimby, 1869. ARC Identifier 594412

 

What do you make of this poem, “Aspiration,” accompanying the drawing here? 

Drawing of a Device by Which a Person Can Fly, 1902

Drawing of a Device by Which a Person Can Fly, 1902. ARC Identifier 594758

 Have you ever been worried about being buried alive? This inventor must have. I like the revision to the subtitle of this “life preserving coffin” in which actual has been marked through. After all, no coffin design will help the actually dead.

Drawing for a Life - Preserving Coffin, 11/15/1843 - 11/15/1843Drawing for a Life–Preserving Coffin, 11/15/1843. Invented by Christian H. Eisenbrandt. ARC Identifier 595517

 

 I don’t know what to make of these next two.

Drawing of Submarine Explorer, 02/18/1830 - 02/18/1830

Drawing of Submarine Explorer, 02/18/1830. ARC Identifier 595884

Drawing of Diving Dress, 12/24/1810 - 12/24/1810

Drawing of Diving Dress, 12/24/1810.ARC Identifier 594916

 

Lots of puzzling things going on in the next diagram. What is the man at the top of this staircase doing? And the second guy in the top hat? What is that chair doing at the base of the stairs? Why did the inventor call his mobile staircase a ladder anyway? etc.

Drawing of Fire Ladder, 04/18/1831 - 04/18/1831

Drawing of Fire Ladder, 04/18/1831. ARC Identifier 593886

 

Time to rest, but how fast would you have to rock in this chair to make a breeze strong enough to justify expending your energy?

Drawing of Rocking Chair and Fan, 08/07/1847 - 08/07/1847

Drawing of Rocking Chair and Fan, by Charles Horst, 08/07/1847. ARC Identifier 594932

 

 Here’s something to listen to while you rock:

Drawing of a Harp Guitar, 10/06/1831 - 10/06/1831

Drawing of a Harp Guitar, 10/06/1831. ARC Identifier 594917

 Rock on.

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Back Into the Public Vaults, National Archives

Posted by Laurie Frost on September 3, 2010

Back into the Public Vaults of the National Archives today, this time selecting for artifacts, maps and charts, and textual records for an eclectic collection ranging from stamps showing a skull-like profile of Hitler to an Air Force department’s chart illustrating reports of UFO sightings in the summer months of 1952.

Counterfeit Stamps with Skeletal View of Adolph Hitler

Counterfeit Stamps with Skeletal View of Adolph Hitler. ARC Identifier 594871

Stamps with Profile of Adolph Hitler

Real stamps. ARC Identifier 594864

 

Abraham Zapruder Camera

Abraham Zapruder Camera. ARC Identifier 305171

Who, you want to know, is Abraham Zapruder? He brought his home movie camera along on November 22, 1963 when he went to watch President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade through Dallas, and he ended up filming the assassination of the president.

First Die of the Great Seal of the United States, 1782

First Die of the Great Seal of the United States, 1782. ARC Identifier 596742

 

Track Chart of Bombing Mission to Schweinfurt, 08/17/1943

Track Chart of Bombing Mission to Schweinfurt, 08/17/1943. ARC Identifier 596346

 

 .Appendix I to Project Blue Book Status Report Number 8, 06/1952 - 09/1952This chart, Appendix I to Project Blue Book Status Report No. 8, was produced by the Technical  Intelligence Division of the US Air Force. It shows the frequency of unidentified flying object (UFO) reports during the months of June, July, August, and September 1952. ARC Identifier 595542

 

Map of the Battles of Bull Run Near Manassas, 1861 - 1862

Map of the Battles of Bull Run Near Manassas, 1861 - 1862. ARC Identifier 594732

 

 

 

 

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A Random Browse in the National Archives’ Public Vaults

Posted by Laurie Frost on August 29, 2010

These photos are all from the Public Vaults collection found under National Archives Exhibits in the ARC Gallery of archives.gov.  Once I reached the Public Vaults page, I refined my search by de-selecting all but “Photographs & Other Graphic Materials,” which dropped the number of results from 1,049 to 504. 

The 504 images are not, as best I can tell, organized in any particular way. This makes for a random browse. To preserve the feel of visiting these pages, I haven’t imposed any order on the images I’ve selected for this sampling, either. 

Credit pictures to National Archives/ARC ID number. 

Photograph of a Lifeboat Carrying Titanic Survivors, 05/14/1912Photograph of a Lifeboat Carrying Titanic Survivors, 05/14/1912. ARC Identifier 278337

From ARC: This is a photograph of a lifeboat carrying Titanic shipwreck survivors. Original caption: “Boat No 6, 16, 11 women, 6 men, Miss Bowerman, Mrs. J. J. Brown, Mrs. Candee, Mrs. Cavendish, Mrs. Cavendish (Maid), Mrs. Meyer, Miss Norton, Mrs. Rothchild, Mrs. L. P. Smith, Mrs. Stine & Maid, Hitching Q. M.”

 

This is the grimmest wedding party I have ever seen: 

Photograph of a Group in Front of Metlakahtla Christian Mission Church Following a Wedding Ceremony in Metlakahtla, AlaskaPhotograph of a Group in Front of Metlakahtla Christian Mission Church Following a Wedding Ceremony in Metlakahtla, Alaska . ARC Identifier 297667

 

This next one looks like a cross between a junior high science fair project and an audition for a “Price is Right” hostess, but it is neither: it’s advice on stocking your personal bomb shelter. 

Photograph of Survival Supplies for the Well-Stocked Fallout ShelterSurvival Supplies for the Well-Stocked Fallout Shelter. ARC Identifier 542103 /Local Identifier 311-D-9(2)

 

No one is keeping his eyes on the man climbing the ladder, and even he is more interested in the photographer than in doing whatever made him climb that rickety ladder. 

Photograph of Men Testing the Subsurface by Drilling with Diamond Drills, 08/1910Photograph of Men Testing the Subsurface by Drilling with Diamond Drills, 08/1910. ARC Identifier 596095

 

 Most of the time you see “Whites Only” signs in pre-Civil Rights era photos. But here’s one with: “Colored Only Police Order.”

Photograph of a Shack for Negroes Only at Belle Glade, Florida, 04/1945Photograph of a Shack for Negroes Only at Belle Glade, Florida, 04/1945. ARC Identifier 594942

 

Don’t those hands look weird? I’m not convinced that the hands belong to the heads, if you know what I mean. 

Enemy Ears Are ListeningEnemy Ears Are Listening. ARC Identifier 514209

 

I don’t know what the story is behind this: 

Jell-O Box Exhibit Used in the Espionage Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Morton Sobell, 03/06/1951 - 03/29/1951Jell-O Box Exhibit Used in the Espionage Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Morton Sobell, 03/06/1951 – 03/29/1951. ARC Identifier 278774

 

Yet another example of an exercise in futility: 

Photograph of Prohibition Agents Destroying a BarPhotograph of Prohibition Agents Destroying a Bar. ARC Identifier 595674 / Local Identifier 306-NT-727-16

 

Photograph of a Workman on the Framework of the Empire State Building Workman on the Framework of the Empire State Building. ARC Identifier 518290

 

Photograph of Sketch of a D-Day Dress - Platoon LeaderPhotograph of Sketch of a D-Day Dress – Platoon Leader. ARC Identifier 596375 / MLR Number NM3 427 

Photograph of Flag Bearer for Women's Rights Standing Near White HousePhotograph of Flag Bearer for Women’s Rights Standing Near White House. ARC Identifier 594266

 

Photograph of Richard M. Nixon and Elvis Presley at the White House, 12/21/1970Photograph of Richard M. Nixon and Elvis Presley at the White House, 12/21/1970. ARC Identifier 1634221 

 

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Still Looking for Public Domain Images of the Berlin Wall

Posted by Laurie Frost on August 23, 2010

The Berlin Wall keeps coming up among the search terms that bring people to this blog. I posted images of the wall back in November 2009, but I thought I’d have another look around. Pre-unification (11/9/89) images are surprisingly hard to find, but I found a few more that don’t repeat what is in the November post.

This first image from the Library of Congress  is chilling. The photographer, Toni Frisell, was a high society fashion photographer when World War II broke out. She volunteered her services to the Red Cross, the Air Force, and the Women’s Army Corp, staying on after the war’s end to document its aftermath. When you just glance at the picture, what you see is a smiling, seeming relaxed young man. But look up and to the right and you see he has a gun pointed at his head.

 [Berlin Wall]

Summary from LoC: West Berliner in uniform in front of Berlin Wall; soldier pointing gun over wall.  Toni Frissell Collection [LC-USZC4-4334]

[Berlin, October 1961]

Man carrying cross on street, Berlin, West Germany.  Toni Frissell Collection [LC-USZC4-4333]

These are not tagged “Berlin Wall” but are related to the Berlin airlift, and so may be of interest. The first from the National Museum of the US Air Force is rather unusual:

DAYTON, Ohio -- Berlin Airlift dog parachute on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Berlin Airlift SCR-658 Radio Receiver on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo

I found this on this on the CIA’s website in a document titled “Turning a Cold War Scheme into Reality: Engineering the Berlin Tunnel”, a formerly classified account of the construction of a secret tunnel “in a rural area of the American Sector southwest of Berlin known as Altglienecke” to tap into Soviet communications lines. It operated until 1956 when East German telephone repairmen accidentally came across it. Or so it was believed at the time.

 

The next images are from the National Archives‘ German Reunification Day Exhibit :

President Nixon views the Berlin Wall from a platform

Photograph of President Reagan giving a speech at the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Federal Republic of Germany, 06/12/1987 - 06/12/1987

Photograph of President Reagan giving a speech at the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Federal Republic of Germany, 06/12/1987 – 06/12/1987. ARC Identifier 198585

And here’s a post-unification one from the US Army:

Fireworks illuminate Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate as thousands celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nov. 9, 2009. 

Photo Credit: Richard Bumgardner (U.S. Army Europe)

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Be They Buffalo or Bison, They’ve No Place to Roam

Posted by Laurie Frost on October 20, 2009

Rath & Wright’s buffalo hide yard in 1878, showing 40,000 buffalo hides, Dodge City, Kansas. ARC Identifier 520093

A collection of buffalo, elk, deer, mountain sheep and wolf skulls and bones near Fort Sanders, Albany County, Wyoming, 1870. ARC Identifier 516956

When I was looking for National Park images, I came across the shocking pictures above. I hadn’t grasped how intensively the species was hunted in the nineteenth century, but according to the Nature Conservancy, by the early twentieth century, “less than 100 free-roaming bison remained in the world,” when once millions of these creatures, the largest land mammals on the North American continent, could be found coast to coast.  Conservation efforts prevented the extinction of the species, and numbers have increased, but the American Prairie Foundation notes that because of cross breeding with cattle, “of the 500,000 bison alive today, fewer than 7,000 are non-hybridized.” It considers the species “ecologically extinct.”

Blackfoot Indians chasing buffalo, Three Buttes, Montana, 1853. ARC Identifier 531080

The Plains Indians hunted the buffalo (while buffalo is probably the more widely used word, technically, the species is Bison bison, and so some prefer to call them bison), but the differences between them and the newcomers to the hunt are significant. One big difference: guns. And Indians generally — but not always — as Shepard Kreech explains in “Buffalo Tales: The Near-Extermination of the American Bison” on a  National Humanities Center webpage, used every part of their prey they could, unlike the settlers who killed herds to sell their hides on to distant traders.

Arapaho camp with buffalo meat drying near Fort Dodge, Kansas, 1870. ARC Identifier 518892

Kreech begins his overview of the role of the buffalo in the Plains Indians lives by noting that they ate

an incredible variety of bison parts: meat, fat, organs, testicles, nose gristle, nipples, blood, milk, marrow, fetus.But the buffalo represented more than food. For many it provided over one hundred specific items of material culture. Day or night, Plains Indians could not ever have been out of sight, touch, or smell of some buffalo product. It was the era’s Wal-Mart.

Distributing buffalo hides, ca. 1936. ARC Identifier 285666 The creator of this picture is listed in the bibliographic record as Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Rosebud Agency. The Rosebud Reservation, part of the Sioux Nation, is in South Dakota.

Hides with and without fur on were used for clothing, moccasins, bedding, and tipi covers. Other parts and their uses included:

  • Hair: ropes, stuffing, yarn
  • Sinew: thread, bowstrings, snowshoe webbing
  • Horns: arr ow points, bow parts, ladles & spoons cups, containers
  • Brains: to soften skins
  • Fat: paint base
  • Dung: fuel, to polish stone
  • Teeth: ornaments
  • Paunch & Large Intestine: containers
  • Penis: glue
  • Compare this to the meaningless slaughter of buffalo from trains:

    ”]Illus. in: Harpers Weekly, v. 2 (1867), p. 792.

    Illus. in: Harper’s Weekly, v. 2 (1867), p. 792. [LC-cph 3b08935]

    or the hunter interested in the securing the largest numbers of hides he could:

    Illus. in: Harpers Weekly, 1874 Dec. 12, v. 18, no. 937. LC-USZ62-55602

    Illus. in: Harper's Weekly, 1874 Dec. 12, v. 18, no. 937. LC-USZ62-55602

    Image with the identifier prefix ARC are from the National Archives; those with LC, the Library of Congress.

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    National Parks: WPA Federal Art Project Posters

    Posted by Laurie Frost on October 15, 2009

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    The National Park Service [NPS] was the beneficiary of several initiatives under the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration [WPA], primarily through the work accomplished by the Civilian Conservation Corps in building roads and facilities in the parks.  Among the posters produced under the auspices of  the WPA Federal Art Project, some featured the NPS. A few of these are presented here. All are courtesy of the Library of Congress; number identifiers are listed at the post’s end.

    While the next two do not name a national park, they seem likely based on Carlsbad Caverns and Arches.

    Number identifiers

    goats: ppmsca-23061

    Grand Canyon: ppmsca 13397

    Ft. Marion: ppmsca-13396

    Lassen: ppmsca-13398

    Zion: ppmsca-13400

    Yellowstone: ppmsca 13399

    cave: LC-USZC4-4243. Artist: Alexander Dux

    arches: LC-USZC2-831. Artist: Frank S. Nicholson.

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    More Postcards Sarah Vowell Didn’t Send You on Her Assassination Vacation

    Posted by Laurie Frost on July 29, 2009

    We’ve two more dead presidents to go, if we follow Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation.  Sarah is a very big fan of Abraham Lincoln’s; less so of her other two subjects, James Garfield and William McKinley.

    Once again, all photo credits are to the Library of Congress.

    Garfield was only four months into his first term when he was gunned down July 2, 1881; he died September 19.127765pr lawnfield

    He came to Washington from Lawnfield, his home in Mentor, Ohio. When Vowell visits, she imagines the candidate Garfield campaigning from his front porch (LC HABS OHIO,43-MENT,2-9), but feels most sympathetic toward the man when she is in his home library (LC HABS OHIO,43-MENT,2-16).

    hancockGiven the shortness of his presidency and his lack of other claims to fame, Vowell is hard pressed to find traces of Garfield in Washington, DC. But she soldiers on, beginning her walking tour at the equestrian statue of the Democratic candidate defeated by Garfield, Winfield Scott Hancock (LC-DIG-npcc-00116).  Then on to the Arts and Industries Museum of the Smithsonian, where Garfield’s inaugural ball was held (LC HABS DC,WASH,520A-5), and then to the bac029510prk entrance of the National Gallery of Art, where the depot of the Baltimore & Potomac  Railroad depot once stood. This is where Garfield was shot, and Vowell is seriously perturbed to find no historical marker commemorating the event.

     

    After a brief stop to recover at the Sherman monument, she carries on to the corner of Fifteenth and F, where the assassin, Charles Guiteau, bought his gun. That building is long gone, but here is the corner, for what it’s worth (LC HABS DC,WASH,512-1).029484pr

     

    Finally, Washington, DC offers this statue of Garfield 042787pr(LC HABS DC,WASH,618-13). Vowell finds it  

    exceedingly gay. A life-size, fully dressed Garfield stands on top of a giant shaft. At the foot of the shaft, at eye level, three skimpily clad male figures recline. . . And Garfield looms over them, like a dirty old man pulling up in his car about to take his pick from a lineup of street hustlers.

    But there’s more. Garfield didn’t die immediately from his wounds; he lingered on for the summer, and when he appeared out of danger, was taken by train to Long Branch, New Jersey, where he had a beach house. That is gone, too, so Vowell makes do with a visit to St. James Chapel, better known as the Church of the Presidents, popular site for worship by vacationing commanders-in-chief. Garfield’s remains were first taken there (LC HABS NJ,13-LOBRA,4-1).038224pr

    And though her visit there appears not in Vowell’s chapter on Garfield, but in the next one, on McKinley, we’ll end today’s tour with the Garfield Memorial, Cleveland (LC-DIG-ppmsca-18119).18119r

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