The United States has a long history of activists seeking social, political, economic, and other changes to Americaalong with a history of other activists trying to prevent such changes. American activism covered a wide range of causes and utilized many different forms of activism. American sociopolitical activism became especially prominent during the period of societal upheaval which began during the 1950s. The African American civil rights movement led the way, soon followed by a substantial anti-war movement opposing American involvement in the Vietnam War, and later by vigorous activism involving womens issues, gay rights, and other causes. The United States remains a land of nearly constant change, and activists play a significant role in the ongoing evolution of American democracy. It seems likely that Americans will remain enthusiastic activists in the future. This exhibition is part of the Digital Library of Georgia.
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In the spring of 1918, the United States was embroiled in World War I, fighting alongside the English, French, and Russians against the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. In total, 70 million men were at war on multiple fronts across Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. The tide was finally turning for the Allies after a crushing offensive by German forces mere weeks earlier. Then, a fierce enemy intervenedan outbreak of influenza that would decimate entire regiments and towns, kill civilians and soldiers alike by the millions, and rapidly become a global pandemic. This disease weakened forces on both sides, changing not only the course of the war but also the economies and population stability of every affected nation. In the long term, this particular outbreak would inspire research on an unprecedented scale and lead to advances in science and medicine, forever altering our understanding of epidemiology. From the spring of 1918 to early 1919, no aspect of life remained untouched by the pandemic for Americans at home and on the front. This exhibition explores the pandemics impact on American life. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAs Digital Curation Program by the following students as part of Dr. Joan E. Beaudoin's course "Metadata in Theory and Practice" in the School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University: Bethany Campbell, Michelle John, Samantha Reid-Goldberg, Anne Sexton, and John Weimer.
Throughout the early twentieth century, women looked to break new ground in ways never before possible, and the sky literally became the limit. As the nation moved into the aviation age, many women saw flying as a way to break out of traditional societal roles. It gave women not just an opportunity for adventure and excitement, but a way to earn a living outside of the home that demanded respect. Aviatrix Ruth Bancroft Law described it, after defeating the cross-country distance record: "There is an indescribable feeling which one experiences in flying; it comes with no other form of sport or navigation. It takes courage and daring; one must be self-possessed, for there are moments when one's wits are tested to the full. Yet there is an exhilaration that compensates for all one's efforts." In this exhibition we explore the early history of aviation and the courageous women who took to the skiesaviatrixes who found freedom, broke new ground, and inspired generations of women along the way. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAs Digital Curation Program by the following students as part of Professor Debbie Rabinas course "Information Services and Sources" in the School of Information and Library Science at Pratt Institute: Megan DeArmond, Diana Moronta, Laurin Paradise.
The stock market crash on October 29, 1929 -- known as Black Tuesday -- was the "worst economic collapse in the history of the modern industrial world." It spread from the United States to national economies across the globe. It ended a decade known for its high-spirited free-spending, called the Roaring 20s, and began almost 10 years of financial desperation that would touch nearly every citizen of the United States. The Great Depression caused bank closures and business failures and by its end, saw "more than 15 million Americans (one-quarter of the workforce)" unemployed. Herbert Hoover, president at the time, did not acknowledge the depth of the crisis and assumed that the American characteristics of individualism and self reliance would quickly bring the nation out of the disaster without a need for federal intervention. But, layoffs and financial desperation at the personal level were growing: "an empty pocket turned inside out was called a 'Hoover flag' [and] the decrepit shanty towns springing up around the country were called 'Hoovervilles'." Three years into the financial crisis, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, running on a platform of federal recovery programs called the "New Deal," easily took the presidential election of 1932.
In 2016, a billionaire businessman and the first woman nominated by a major party ran against each other for president of the United States. In very different ways, both candidates approached the presidency as outsiders, reaching beyond the traditional boundaries of US presidential politics. As outsiders, the 2016 candidates are noteworthy, but not unique; indeed, the 2016 race resonates with the legacies of outsiders who have come before. This exhibition explores the rich history of select individuals, parties, events, and movements that have influenced US presidential elections from the outside—outside Washington politics, outside the two-party system, and outside the traditional conception of who can be an American president.
It was approximately 40,000 years ago that mankind first donned a pair of shoes. During humanitys long history of footwear, and an equally broad array of styles, the basic fundamentals of Western shoemaking remained mostly unchanged until the mid-nineteenth century. In the 1800s, the small state of Massachusetts revolutionized the shoemaking industry, cladding the feet of consumers nationwide in unprecedented numbers. One of Americas original colonies, Massachusetts found itself at the heart of the nations shoemaking industry by attracting and retaining skilled shoemakers and shoe machinery engineers. Only when the technology that Massachusetts' shoemakers invented became available beyond the state did the industrys market expand throughout the country. Even with the spread of industrialization, Massachusetts remained the largest producer of shoes in the United States through World War I, responsible for nearly forty percent of Americas shoes and home to an equal percentage of its shoemakers. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAs Public Library Partnerships Project by collaborators from Digital Commonwealth. Exhibition organizer: Anna Fahey-Flynn.
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory800,000 square miles of land in the interior of North America. Most of this land had not been previously explored or documented. President Thomas Jefferson chose Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to lead an ambitious military expedition, seeking a northwestern passage to the Pacific Ocean and to document their journey in this unknown territory. Starting in what is now Missouri, the expedition followed the Missouri River and passed through present-day Montana on its way to the Pacific. The explorers commented on the beauty of the landscape and the abundance of animals, and their descriptions attracted fur traders and others ready to take advantage of the region's abundant natural resources. The discovery of gold in 1862 brought in the first rush of people and subsequent mining forever changed the region. The mining industry demanded support in the form of towns, railroads, logging, ranching, and farming. These industries shaped Montana and the people who settled there. This exhibition explores the industries that brought settlers to Montana from the early days to the 1920s. Each industry had its own boom and bust cycle that impacted the residents and the future of the state. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAs Public Library Partnerships Project by collaborators from Montana Memory Project: Jennifer Birnel, Della Yeager, Cody Allen, Dale Alger, Caroline Campbell, Carly Delsigne, Pam Henley, Stef Johnson, Lisa Mecklenberg-Jackson, Laura Tretter, and Franky Abbott. Exhibition organizers: Jennifer Birnel and Franky Abbott.
Boston Sports Temples celebrates the rich histories of Bostons professional stadiums and arenas. Some, like Fenway Park, still welcome fans today. Others were demolished decades ago, leaving only hints of their former glory amid the urban landscape. This exhibition welcomes modern fans through the gates of venues both famous and forgotten: the various home fieldsand courts and tracks and iceof Bostons most beloved franchises and hosts to a century of public events, concerts, and gatherings. Featuring historical photographs from the Boston Public Librarys extensive archives, Boston Sports Temples draws from thousands of negatives and prints dating from the early twentieth century through the 1960s. The images capture the unique character of Bostons historic sports venues, memorable moments, and the communities of athletes, fans, and staff who have come together within their walls. Together, these vintage materials provide an invaluable window into the past and a nostalgic look back at our city, our deep sporting traditions, and generations of passionate fandom. Created by the Boston Public Library.
The Lawrence Textile Strike was a public protest mainly of immigrant workers from several countries, including Austria, Belgium, Cuba, Canada, France, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Syria, and Turkey. According to the 1910 census, 65% of mill workers (many of whom eventually struck) lived in the United States for less than 10 years; 47% for less than five years. Prompted by a wage cut, the walkout spread quickly from mill to mill across the city. Strikers defied the assumptions of conservative trade unions within the American Federation of Labor that immigrant, largely female and ethnically diverse workers could not be organized. The Lawrence strike is referred to as the Bread and Roses strike and The Strike for Three Loaves." The first known source to do so was a 1916 labor anthology, The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest by Upton Sinclair. Prior to that, the slogan, used as the title of a 1911 poem by James Oppenheim, had been attributed to Chicago Women Trade Unionists. It has also been attributed to socialist union organizer Rose Schneiderman. James Oppenheim claimed his seeing women strikers in Lawrence carrying a banner proclaiming We Want Bread and Roses Too inspired the poem, Bread and Roses. The poem, however, was written and published in 1911 prior to the strike. Later the poem was set to music by Caroline Kohlsaat and then by Mimi Farina. The song and slogan are now important parts of the labor movement and womens movement worldwide. This exhibition was made in collaboration with the Lawrence History Center and the University of Massachusetts Lowell History Department.
As the United States began the most deadly conflict in its history, the American Civil War, it was also laying the groundwork for one of its greatest achievements in transportation. The First Transcontinental Railroad, approved by Congress in the midst of war, helped connect the country in ways never before possible. Americans could travel from coast to coast with speed, changing how Americans lived, traded, and communicated while disrupting ways of life practiced for centuries by Native American populations. The coast-to-coast railroad was the result of the work of thousands of Americans, many of whom were Chinese immigrant laborers who worked under discriminatory pressures and for lower wages than their Irish counterparts. These laborers braved incredibly harsh conditions to lay thousands of miles of track. That trackthe work of two railroad companies competing to lay the most miles from opposite directionscame together with the famous Golden Spike at Promontory Summit in Utah on May 10, 1869. This exhibition explores the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad and its impact on American westward expansion. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAs Digital Curation Program by the following students as part of Professor Krystyna Matusiak's course "Digital Libraries" in the Library and Information Science program at the University of Denver: Jenifer Fisher, Benjamin Hall, Nick Iwanicki, Cheyenne Jansdatter, Sarah McDonnell, Timothy Morris and Allan Van Hoye.
In twenty-first century American society, childhood is popularly understood as a time of innocence, learning, and play. At the end of the nineteenth century, however, children made up part of the countrys workforce, and labored on farms and in factories. When they were not working, they enjoyed great independence in leisure activitiesbe it in a loud city street or a peaceful country lake. Often, children were far from adult supervision. Reformers during the Progressive Era period of social activism and political reform across the United States between the 1890s and 1920s took a great interest in child welfare. Through organizations and legislation, they sought to define what a happy and healthy childhood should be in the modern age. Immersion in nature was central to what the Progressives prescribed, and childrens organizations and camps offered a suitable combination of supervision and open spaces. The formula for a healthy childhood was further refined in postwar America. Children were given a distinct place in the family and home, as well as within the consumer market with the emergence of teenage culture and buying power. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLA's Public Library Partnerships Project by collaborators from the Digital Library of Georgia and Georgia's public libraries.
From the earliest days of settlement and migration, the people of North America have relied on maps and mapping to understand their environment and place within it. Maps have helped Americans prospect investments, comprehend war, and plan leisure in places unknown. As Americans have used maps to explore the U.S., capitalize on its resources, and displace its Native peoples, maps have shaped American cultural ideas about travel, place, and ownership. This exhibit explores the cultural and historic impact of mapping through four specific moments in American history: migration along the Oregon Trail, the rise of the lumber industry, the Civil War, and the popularization of the automobile and individual tourism. It concludes with a look at maps in the age of computers, the Internet, and beyond. These moments demonstrate the influence maps have had over how Americans imagine, exploit, and interact with national geographies and local places. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAs Digital Curation Program by the following students in Professor Helene Williams's capstone course at the Information School at the University of Washington: Greg Bem, Kili Bergau, Emily Felt, and Jessica Blanchard. Additional revisions and selections made by Greg Bem.
Three years before the United States entered World War II, President Roosevelt declared the South to be "the nation's number one economic problem." Georgia's economy was distinctly agricultural and low-wage, with little manufacturing compared with states in the North and Midwest. The median family income was nearly half of the national average. One year later, an influx of federal defense money established new industries, such as the Bell Aircraft plant in Marietta, and expanded existing ones, such as the J. A. Jones Construction Company in Brunswick. While 320,000 Georgians served in the United States Armed Forces, tens of thousands of Georgians repaired aircraft, built B-29 bombers, and worked in shipyards at home during the war. Meanwhile, military training was widespread throughout Georgia, occupying its fields as well as skies. Capitalizing on the state's flat coastal region and mild winters, Army airfields were installed in Savannah, Statesboro, Thomasville, and Waycross, and pilots trained in Albany, Augusta, Americus, and Douglas. Thousands of soldiers passed through Fort Benning and Fort Oglethorpe, where members of the Women's Army Corps trained for positions at home and abroad. World War II employment was crucial to the economic development of the state, ushering in the transformation to a modern, industrial, and diverse Georgia. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLA's Public Library Partnerships Project by collaborators from the Digital Library of Georgia and Georgia's public libraries. Exhibition organizers: Mandy Mastrovita and Greer Martin.
Tuning into the radio is now an integrated part of our everyday lives. We tune in while we drive, while we work, while we cook in our kitchens. Just 100 years ago, it was a novelty to turn on a radio. The radio emerged at the turn of the twentieth century, the result of decades of scientific experimentation with the theory that information could be transmitted over long distances. Radio as a medium reached its peakthe so-called Radio Golden Ageduring the Great Depression and World War II. This was a time when the world was rapidly changing, and for the first time Americans experienced those history-making events as they happened. The emergence and popularity of radio shifted not just the way Americans across the country experienced news and entertainment, but also the way they communicated. This exhibition explores the development, rise, and adaptation of the radio, and its impact on American culture.
For every object that ends up in a library or museum collection whether its a manucript, a photograph, or something more approaching the concept of art there is a narrative, a story that gets told. The story a visitor to an exhibit ends up hearing, of course, is dependent upon who is telling the story and the slant of their own perspective. When the subject of the exhibit is Native Americans in the Upper Midwestern United States during the extraordinary upheaval of the 19th century, one must be particularly careful about the story being told since the narrative that largely exists is one of cultural denouement, of endings, as told by a colonizing population to its descendants. The dominant narrative of the demise of traditional Native American culture in the face of colonization, conversion to Christianity, confinement to reservations and economic collapse is, however, not the only story that can be told. The accounts of the lives of Native Americans during the 19th century that are told by Native peoples themselves are strikingly different to those recounted in history books, movies, and all too frequently in museums. Rather than narratives solely recounting destruction and demise, Native stories about Native history tend to focus on what White Earth Ojibwe scholar Gerald Vizenor has called survivance a narrative incorporating themes of survival and resistance that insist on the inclusion of the Native presence. The following is an exhibit of resources that can be found within the Digital Public Library of America retold through the lens of Native American survivance in the Minnesota region. Within are a series of objects of both Native and non-Native origin that tell a story of extraordinary culture disruption, change and continuity during 19th c., and how that affects the Native population of Minnesota today. This exhibit was created by the Minnesota Digital Library.
For many Americans, their fondest memories revolve around a library card. From searching through the stacks, to getting a return date stamped on the back of a new favorite book, libraries are a quintessential part of how Americans learn and engage with their local communities. Since this countrys founding, public libraries have received broad and consistent popular support for their democratic missions and services. The ability to access free information has become a core ideal of what it means to be an American citizen, despite periods of historic inequality. Libraries help make this access possible by placing public benefit at the center of their work and continually adapting their strategies to meet changing public needs over time. This exhibition tells the story of the American public library system, its community impact, and the librarians who made it possiblefrom the founding of the first US libraries through the first one hundred years of service. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAs Public Library Partnerships Project in collaboration with partners and participants from Digital Commonwealth, Digital Library of Georgia, Minnesota Digital Library, Montana Memory Project, and Mountain West Digital Library.
- U.S. History
- Material Type:
- Primary Source
- Unit of Study
- Digital Commonwealth
- Digital Library of Georgia
- Digital Public Library of America
- Minnesota Digital Library
- Montana Memory Project
- Mountain West Digital Library
- Provider Set:
- DPLA Exhibitions
- Franky Abbot
- Hillary Brady
For many Americans today, snapping a photo is as easy as pulling out a smartphone. However, that digital photo is the result of decades of experimentation and development, from first forays into bulky and difficult-to-use professional cameras to instant-photo Polaroids. Since the advent and eventual commercialization of photography throughout the nineteenth century, cameras have continuously redefined the American publics conception of how images and history can be captured and shared. Looking to the early cameras of the 1800s to todays cell phones and social networking apps, this exhibition explores how the personal camera has shaped American consciousness and culture over the course of its development. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAs Digital Curation Program by the following students as part of Dr. Joan E. Beaudoin's course "Metadata in Theory and Practice" in the School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University: Ellen Tisdale, Rachel Baron Singer, Amanda Seppala, Michell Geysbeek, and Jay Purrazzo.
December 2013 marks the 80th anniversary of the end of Prohibition, the period between 1920 1933 when the manufacture, transport and sale of intoxicating liquors was illegal in the United States. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1919, was the crowning achievement of a temperance movement that had been building in this country since the late 1700s. Alcohol consumption had peaked to a high of about 7 gallons per person in the early 1800s (compared to less than 3 gallons today), with recognized health and societal consequences. But the new laws were difficult to enforce, due to general unpopularity and the profits that could be made through circumventing the law. Demand for alcohol remained high, and organized crime and corruption flourished. Loopholes and exemptions also allowed home wine production, and prescriptions for medical alcohol rose dramatically. Enforcement difficulties, popular resistance, and economic pressures associated with the Great Depression all contributed to efforts to repeal Prohibition. In 1933, the 21st Amendment ended national prohibition and returned responsibility for alcohol regulation to the states. The Kentucky Digital Library and DPLA would like to thank the contributing institutions for providing the unique content and metadata featured in Indomitable Spirits: Prohibition in the United States. Texts, research, and compilation by University of Kentucky Libraries employees Sarah Dorpinghaus, Beth Kraemer, Kathryn Lybarger, Mary Molinaro, Judy Sackett, and Stacy Yelton. Repository and curation support provided by Tom Blake, Kate Boyd, Crystal Heis, Shelia McAlister, Sandra McIntyre, Danielle Pucci, Jason Roy, and Christopher Vinson.
America is well-known as a land of immigrants; a notion that is essential to its identity. European migration to America may be dated from 1620 when 100 Pilgrims from England set out on the difficult four-month journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Most Europeans emigrated to America between 1820-1920. They came in two major waves, first from northern and western Europe in the early 19th century, then from southern and eastern Europe between 1860 and 1920. While the Pilgrims left their homeland seeking freedom from religious persecution, immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries were also fleeing poor economic conditions or political oppression. In early 19th-century America, immigrants worked as farmers and domestic servants. As the country moved from an agricultural to an industrial economy in the latter half of the 19th century, they laid railway tracks and worked in factories. They opened small restaurants, barbershops, and shoeshine parlours. They worked in the textile industry and in coal mines. They helped produce iron and steel, and worked on gas, electricity, and water projects. Americas immigrants settled the country, developed its infrastructure, and advanced its politics and culture. They had a profound impact on the country; at the same time, by uprooting themselves from their home countries, they profoundly changed their own lives. This exhibition, jointly curated by the Digital Public Library of America and Europeana, uses photographs, manuscripts, broadsheets, paintings, letters, and other unique materials to chart peoples journeys across the European continent and their settlement in the United States. The digital items displayed are from US and European libraries, museums and archives and the accompanying narrative was commissioned specially for the exhibition from US and European experts.
Amidst tensions over European political and territorial boundaries, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian terrorist in 1914 derailed peace in the western world by sparking World War Ione of the highest-casualty conflicts in modern times. While European nations quickly engaged, the United States immediately declared neutrality. By 1917, however, remaining neutral was no longer an option. The Great War would bring the United States out of isolationism and onto the world stage. It would also change life on the American home front forever. A centralized government took control of American life in an unprecedented fashion by instating a mandatory military draft, controlling industries, initiating food and ration restrictions, and launching elaborate campaigns to encourage patriotism. One of the most important, if temporary, changes brought by the war at home came from the stifled flow of labor, as men were pulled away by the draft and immigration slowed. The need for American labor provided second-class citizens, such as women and African Americans, a brief opportunity for better jobs. This glimpse would help foment in them a desire for more and equal opportunities after they were pulled away once more at wars end. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAs Public Library Partnerships Project by collaborators from Digital Commonwealth. Exhibition organizer: Anna Fahey-Flynn.