Posted by: tpsmsudenver | April 21, 2009

The World Digital Library

The Library of Congress just launched a new website in partnership with The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as well as 32 other partners.  You can read the official statement here and I’ll quote a few interesting and exciting passages below.

Paris, Washington D.C.—The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and 32 partner institutions today launched the World Digital Library, a website that features unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world. The site―located at www.wdl.org―includes manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, prints and photographs. It provides unrestricted public access, free of charge, to this material.

The World Digital Library functions in seven languages―Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish―and includes content in more than 40 languages. Browse and search features facilitate cross-cultural and cross-temporal exploration on the site. Descriptions of each item and videos, with expert curators speaking about selected items, provide context for users and are intended to spark curiosity and encourage both students and the general public to learn more about the cultural heritage of all countries.

One of UNESCO’s main mandates is to promote the free flow of all forms of knowledge in education, science, culture and communication. The organization therefore promotes education, research and exchanges through the improved and increased availability of content on the Internet. To this end, it collaborates with a number of partners on the creation of digital and other repositories.

It’s a really great site that just got off the ground and I’m really looking forward to whatever else they add to it.

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Posted by: tpsmsudenver | February 20, 2009

Quick Opinion Poll

Todd here.  This post is just testing the viability of WordPress.com’s poll services for future use.  Please take a few seconds and vote in the poll.

Thanks.

Posted by: tpsmsudenver | February 17, 2009

Submarines are Cool!

February 17: submarine Hunley

I’ve been fascinated with submarines for as long as I can remember.  I read The Hunt for Red October when I was very young and while I didn’t completely understand the novel of course, I was still obsessed with the fact the crew could be submerged underwater for months at a time.  Over the years I read books about them and saw movies, such as the classic Das Boot, and even played the Jane’s simulation game, 688(i) Hunter/Killer.  My interest in submarines has waned since I’ve gotten older and I don’t really keep up with all the latest news and technological advances.

So when I heard recently that two submarines had collided in the middle of the ocean, my curiosity was piqued like the “good ole’ days” of my youth.  **At the end of this post are articles linking to information about this most recent incident.

While in the process of garnering inspiration for this post, I happened upon a link of related events that took place on this day. Imagine my surprise when listed close to the top was the headline “The H. L. Hunley becomes the first submarine to engage and sink a warship, the USS Housatonic.”

According to the Naval Historical Center, The Hunley was built in 1863 by Park and Lyons of Mobile, Alabama, and was fashioned out of a

cylindrical iron steam boiler, which was deepened and also lengthened through the addition of tapered ends. Hunley was designed to be hand powered by a crew of nine: eight to turn the hand-cranked propeller and one to steer and direct the boat. As a true submarine, each end was equipped with ballast tanks that could be flooded by valves or pumped dry by hand pumps. Extra ballast was added through the use of iron weights bolted to the underside of the hull. In the event the submarine needed additional buoyancy to rise in an emergency, the iron weight could be removed by unscrewing the heads of the bolts from inside the vessel.

I found some more information about the ship on the Encyclopedia of Alabama website:

The Hunley was the third submarine vessel to be constructed under the direction of riverboat captain James McClintock, engineer Baxter Watson, and lawyer Horace Lawson Hunley, whom the boat was eventually named after. The first submarine, Pioneer, was constructed in New Orleans in late 1861 and early 1862. It was tested in the Mississippi River in February 1862 and was later taken to Lake Pontchartrain for further testing. It had to be scuttled in April when Union admiral David Farragut’s fleet advanced upon the city of New Orleans.

Feel free to click the article’s link for a detailed account of the ship and it’s building process.

On February 14th, the Hunley made a daring and ambitious late night attack on the:

USS Housatonic, a 1,240-ton (B) sloop-of-war with 16 guns, in Charleston Harbor off the coast of South Carolina. H.L. Hunley rammed Housatonic with spar torpedo packed with explosive powder and attached to a long pole on its bow. The spar torpedo embedded in the sloop’s wooden side was detonated by a rope as Hunley backed away. The resulting explosion that sent Housatonic with five crew members to the bottom of Charleston Harbor also sank Hunley with its crew of eight. H.L. Hunley earned a place in the history of undersea warfare as the first submarine to sink a ship in wartime.

Here is a authentic map of Charleston Harbor circa 1864, from the Library of Congress (thanks to Keith):

Map of Charleston Harbor

Map of Charleston Harbor

The crew of eight lay in the ship for 131 years, until the author Clive Cussler and his team from the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) discovered the submarine after a 14 years of searching:

At the time of discovery, Cussler and NUMA were conducting this research in partnership with the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology (SCIAA). The team realized that they had found Hunley after exposing the forward hatch and the ventilator box (the air box for the attachment of a snorkel). The submarine rested on its starboard side at about a 45-degree angle and is covered in a 1/4 to 3/4-inch encrustation of ferrous oxide bonded with sand and shell particles. Archaeologists exposed a little more on the port side and found the bow dive plane on that side. More probing revealed an approximate length of 34 feet with most, if not all, of the vessel preserved under the sediment.

After searching further for more information about the recovery of the ship, I came across an interesting article from the official website of the U.S. Navy.  In it, it talks about the finding of a wallet of one of the Hunley’s crewmembers.

“There are endless possibilities on what kind of information this wallet may hold,” said Paul Mardikian, senior conservator on the Hunley project. “It is just too difficult to imagine that someone would carry a wallet with nothing in it.” In the past, Mardikian has worked on wallets recovered from the Titanic which held documents, currency and business cards.

The wallet was found near a crew member’s shoulder bone, which means he possibly carried it in his jacket pocket. Any information the wallet may hold will add to personal details about the crew, which are starting to emerge as a result of ongoing forensic and genealogical research.

Again from the Encyclopedia of Alabama article linked above:

During the conservation, the remains of the eight crewman were recovered, and all were found in their assigned positions onboard the vessel, suggesting that there was no panic at the time the boat went down. The reason for the submarine’s sinking after its attack on the Housatonic remains a mystery. There is some evidence to suggest that the men did not drown, but rather suffocated from lack of oxygen, and that the Hunley may have remained airtight for some 30 years after the attack on the Housatonic.

On April 17, 2004, the men were buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston next to the other crewmen who had drowned on the submarine some 140 years earlier. The Hunley remains at the Warren Lasch Conservatory at present, and visitors can view the submarine on weekend tours. The building that housed the Park and Lyons Machine Shop still stands on the corner of Water and State streets in Mobile.

See why I like submarines? Not only are they interesting in and of themselves, but they have a rich history that dates all the way back to the Civil War. And plus, no one ever talks about them in their history class. Sure, they talk about The Monitor and The Merrimack with regards to naval events of the Civil War, but rarely do you hear about submarine warfare during this time.

Am I wrong about this?  I will admit I haven’t taken a Civil War class past the high school level.  How often does the topic of submarines come up?

Please met me know.  🙂

–Todd

Posted by: tpsmsudenver | February 10, 2009

Our Recent TPS Librarian Days Convention

One of the Auraria Campus signs. This one is l...
Image via Wikipedia

TPS-Colorado held its annual Librarian Days Conference this year on the last two days of January.  Over one hundred educators from across Colorado converged on Auraria Campus, in downtown Denver, each one of them anticipating a stimulating two days of learning, networking, and information gathering.  Their main objective was to learn the methods and intricacies of incorporating primary sources into their teaching skills.  For some of them it was their first time; for others, they were seasoned veterans, simply there to hone the skills they already have.  One librarian, from Estes Park High School said, “I’m very excited. I’ve been coming for three years.  I’m very appreciative that we’re actually working with TPS and have the time to work with them.  We’re very fortunate to have this available to us.”

The conference was slightly different this year.  It celebrated the anniversaries of three major events: the sesquicentennial of the founding of Denver, the centennial of the Colorado Governor’s Mansion completion and the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.  To reflect this, TPS-Colorado brought in speakers from a diverse number of subjects to talk about these events.  Some were educators from universities in Denver and one was a retired Professor Emeritus at Duke University.  The main concentration of the talks was about our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.  There were many topics discussed, ranging from interesting stories of his thought processes regarding situations such as returning to the political scene and the Civil War, as well as his connection to Denver and the West.  Many of the attendees enjoyed it immensely.  A middle-school librarian mentioned, “This is my fourth year. I try to bring a different teacher every year.  The format’s a little different than last year, but it’s been valuable to have the speakers’ expertise and knowledge, especially this year.”

The theme of the conference this year was “Inquire. Create. Participate. Grow.”  It represented four simple steps that the conference sought to teach:  To inquire about history, create resources for learning and knowledge, participate in an innovative learning community, and grow as learners and professionals.  This theme was inspired by the 2007 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) standards model which was also a theme of the conference.  The four-word theme also provided an easy format that allowed the presenters, as well as educators, to keep in mind the overall focus of the conference, no matter what the topic or lesson was.

At the conclusion of the first day of the conference, a reception was held at the aforementioned Colorado Governor’s Mansion—now officially titled the Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion.  Here, the educators were given tours of the mansion by Cindy Starks, Program Director of the Governors Preservation Fund.  During the conference earlier in the day, Cindy had given a short presentation on some historical artifacts that are stored in the attic of the Residence.  The artifacts were then shown in person at the reception to the delight of all in attendance.  Two speeches were then given by professors from Metropolitan State College of Denver, one about women in 1908—relating to the centennial anniversary of the Residence, and a entertaining talk about the families who built and lived in the Mansion prior to being bequeathed to the State of Colorado.

The conference was a great success and received many positive comments.  Many educators professed their wishes for another conference soon. Marcela, an obviously pleased educator, said at the end of the conference, “This is my third [conference] and probably the best.  They have all been good.  The speakers have all been knowledgeable and compelling. The format has made this one better.  It’s clear they took our comments and redesigned [the workshop].  It’s a much better, much more useful format. We don’t always get collaborative opportunities.  We absolutely had more work time, which has been great.  Teachers never get enough of that…nowhere on this planet.”

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Posted by: tpsmsudenver | January 6, 2009

Obama-Lincoln Inauguration Connection

Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, 4 March 1861.

Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, 4 March 1861.

On January 20th, President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in using the Lincoln-Inaugural Bible. According to the Library of Congress, it is the same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used for his inauguration in 1861:

The first Lincoln Inaugural is rife with historical significance, coming at a time when the survival of the United States was never more endangered, according to Clark W. Evans, an expert on Lincoln who heads the Reference Services Section of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress.

The Bible itself can be found here.

To view the Lincoln Inaugural Bible today is to conjure up the remarkable scene which unfolded on the East Front of the Capitol almost 147 years ago. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, then 84 years old. As the author of the infamous “Dred Scott” decision of 1857, which held in part that Congress did not have the power to abolish slavery in the territories, Taney was clearly no friend to Lincoln or the cause of emancipation. In the Inaugural Address which followed, President Lincoln appealed to his countrymen to follow “the better angels of our nature.”

The Presidential Inauguration Committee has this to say about the Obama’s Inauguration and the Lincoln Bible:

Facing a nation divided, teetering toward civil war, President Lincoln used his first inaugural address to call for national unity, arguing that our Constitution was created “to form a more perfect Union.“ Now, 147 years later, President-elect Barack Obama is echoing President Lincoln’s call in words and in symbolism. He will be placing his hand upon the same burgundy velvet-bound Bible that was used by President Lincoln at his first inauguration as he is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

The 20th should be an interesting day.

On a personal note, the new spring semester starts for me on this day too, so it’s doubly special.

—Todd

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Posted by: tpsmsudenver | December 18, 2008

Ty Cobb’s Birthday

This is TPS-Colorado’s first sports post. Being a huge sports fan, I’m really excited to write this.

Ty Cobb, one of the most famous (most would say notorious or at least infamous) and hated professional baseball players in history would be 122 today. He was born Tyrus Raymond Cobb on December 18th, 1886 in Narrows, Georgia and would later be given the nickname “The Georgia Peach”.

He was an exceptional outfielder and set over 90 records throughout his career.  To this day he still holds the  records for highest batting average at .367 and batting titles with 12.  He was also named Most Valuable Player in 1911, which was known as the Chalmers Award at the time.  That year he set an AL record by hitting in 41 straight games. There was some controversy, however, with the award, from Baseball Library.com:

It looked as if Cobb would win a fifth straight batting title in 1910, the year auto maker Chalmers decided to award the batting champ in each league with a new car. Cobb had a comfortable lead over the Indians’ Nap Lajoie, but was sidelined the final game of the season. Lajoie was in St. Louis for a doubleheader, needing a perfect day to take the batting title. The Browns, like everyone else, wanted Lajoie to beat out the hated Cobb, and did all they could do to help Lajoie. In his first at-bat, Lajoie got a triple when his fly ball was “lost in the sun.” Lajoie lined a clean single his next time up. Browns manager Jack O’Connor then ordered rookie third baseman Red Corrigan to play deep on the outfield grass, and the swift Lajoie exploited the alignment with six straight bunt singles. The final figures gave Cobb the title, .38415 to .38411, but Chalmers gave both players cars. O’Connor and Browns coach Henry Howell were later fired by the Browns. Ironically, later research revealed that record-keeping errors had denied Lajoie the title.

Here is an interesting story, again from Baseball Library.com

The other apocryphal stories about Cobb, a natural righthander who taught himself to hit lefthanded so he could be closer to first base, aren’t as dubious. For instance: By mid-1925, he had finally had enough of reporters asking him about Babe Ruth‘s awesome home run prowess. Cobb, who had a split-handed grip that gave him more bat control but less power, had a well-known disdain for the long ball and the boisterous Babe, and told reporters that hitting home runs didn’t take any special skill. To prove his point, he slid his hands down to the knob of the bat, Ruthian style, then hit three HR in that day’s game against the Browns (5/5/25). To pound the point home, he hit two more the next day.

He only hit 117 homeruns throughout his career. Here he is talking about close ballgames, homeruns and how to steal a base:

Some more pictures of Cobb from the Library of Congress:

Baseball players Jack Fournier, White Sox, and Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, standing on the field at Comiskey Park

Baseball players Jack Fournier, White Sox, and Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, standing on the field at Comiskey Park

Detroit Tigers baseball player Ty Cobb, batting during a game against the Chicago White Sox at South Side Park

Detroit Tigers baseball player Ty Cobb, batting during a game against the Chicago White Sox at South Side Park

Cobb was just an amazing baseball player and American.

Let us know what you think of our blog posts by leaving some comments!

–Todd

Posted by: tpsmsudenver | December 16, 2008

Another Denver Weather Post

It’s been really, really cold this week. And not just your average low temps experienced on a given December day either. We’re talkin’ record-breaking low temperatures! We’ve actually set records three straight days now. The record on the 15th obliterated the previous one.

Here’s an article from 9news.com about it. I’ll quote the main points below:

On Monday morning, the official low temperature plummeted to -19 degrees at Denver International Airport. The coldest temperature on record for Dec. 15 was -6 degrees, last set in 1951.

The record low for Dec. 14 was broken at DIA. Shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday, DIA recorded a temperature of -18 degrees, breaking the old record of -14 last set in 1901.

And here’s further information from the National Weather Service about the records.

The Denver Weather Examiner has a great picture of what the temperatures all around Colorado looked like at 7am on the 15th of December. Scroll down to the middle of the page to see how cold it was.

And I just read that after a few days reprieve from the cold, meaning temperatures in the low 30s, another frigid arctic front is set to move in for the weekend.

Doesn’t mother nature have great timing?

—Todd, the intern.

Posted by: tpsmsudenver | December 9, 2008

Denver Blizzard of 1913

It snowed in Denver last night and into this morning. Probably our biggest one of the year, in the metro area at least. It reminded me of how snarled the city becomes when even just a few inches touches down and sticks to the street. People drive either too slow and cautious or not enough and too fast. This snowstorm also reminded me of the Colorado blizzard of 2006 where the city recorded six inches or more of snowfall two weekends in a row and also the record-setting blizzard in 2003, where almost 32 inches fell. Driving to work, I wondered what was the worst snowstorm in Denver’s history.

According to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, the greatest amount of snowfall from one storm was 45.7 inches from December 1-6, 1913 (with 37.6 inches recorded between December 4-5th 1913). Very interesting!

With this information in hand I dug around in the Library of Congress and American Memory website and found some great photographs of the 1913 blizzard.

Here’s a Stereoscope image Keith created of an image found of the snow that day in 1913. It attempts to created a “3D” image be blurring two images together.  It sort of works, I guess.

And here’s some more pictures found on the Library of Congress website:

Two men walk on the sidewalk in front of the State Capitol Building cleared of deep snow from the December 1913 storm, Denver, Colorado.

Two men walk on the sidewalk in front of the State Capitol Building cleared of deep snow from the December 1913 storm, Denver, Colorado.

Men unload their wagons of snow brought from the downtown area to Civic Center grounds, Denver, Colorado. The 1909 Public Library and residences show in background.

Men unload their wagons of snow brought from the downtown area to Civic Center grounds, Denver, Colorado. The 1909 Public Library and residences show in background.

Traffic struggling through deep snow, Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado.

Traffic struggling through deep snow, Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado.

Some pretty interesting pictures. Makes me happy I’m not dealing with that mess right now. Finals week is this week, let a blizzard come next week! Please…

Posted by: tpsmsudenver | November 14, 2008

Tulip Mania

Orange Tulip

Orange Tulip

Tulips are pretty flowers.

So pretty in fact it caused an outright hysteria in the 1630s.  A hysteria on such a grand scale, it is said to have created the first recorded speculative bubble and subsequent burst.

Here is some detailed information from the Library of Congress, taken from a Harper’s Magazine article of 1876.  Click on the link tilted “View the page images (at Cornell University)”:

Library of Congress – Tulip Mania

Inside the link from Cornell, you can read about the worth of the tulip at the height of the hysteria:

Tuplip Prices

Tulip Prices

And here is one last link to a Tulip Mania article, from Harper’s Magazine again, this time the year is 1850, a little earlier than the previous article.

Fascinating, yes?

–Todd, the intern.

***Update – Using the purchasing power calculator at Measuring Worth, today the price of a single tulip would be equivalent to $14,459.00!

Tulips aren’t that pretty!

Posted by: tpsmsudenver | November 14, 2008

First Post – Welcome

Hello all.  Todd, the TPS-Colorado intern here.  I was given the unique responsibility of creating content for this blog.  The blog will be updated regularly with announcements of important upcoming TPS-related events, as well as additional information regarding what we actually do here.  It will also feature neat and unique things that the other TPS-Colorado employees and myself find on a daily basis.  These posts will most likely have a definite “random” flavor, but should be very interesting.  Please stay tuned.

First post:

The War of the Wealth

War of Wealth

This is a picture from the Theatrical Poster Collection of the Library of Congress.  Go ahead and click on the picture or the title to go to the Library of Congress website to view it in a larger format.

The War of Wealth was a play written by Charles Turner Dazey in February of 1896.  Here he is:

Charles Turner Dazey

Charles Turner Dazey

The play was inspired by the Panic of 1893.  According to the Wikipedia entry about it, it was an extension of the Panic of 1873 and was caused by “railroad overbuilding and shaky railroad financing which set off a series of bank failures. Compounding market overbuilding and a railroad bubble was a run on the gold supply and a policy of using both gold and silver metals as a peg for the US Dollar value. The Panic of 1893 was the worst economic crisis to hit the nation in its history to that point.”

Due to the crash many people decided to move west and many developing cities including “Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles took in the populations, as did many smaller centers.”

For even more information regarding the Panic of 1893, here is an entry from Archive.org on the causes of the Panic.  To the left are links to an entire book that gets to the heart of the matter:

Causes of the Panic of 1893

And lastly, here are a few primary sources from the Library of Congress talking about the Panic in Cleveland in 1893.

It is interesting to note on the first page of information, the article states, “For the first time in almost forty years the Presidency and both branches of Congress passed into the hands of the Democratic Party.  This revolution was the result in large part of widespread discontent with existing social conditions, was of so sweeping a character, and threatened such radical changes in legislation, that thoughtful business men, including many who had supported the successful party, at once became alarmed.”

How familiar does that sound?  Keep reading, it gets even more uncanny.

And please stay tuned for the next blog post when we talk about the Tulip Craze of 1637, which led to another depression.

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