Beyond Blackboards: Teaching Aids in an 1874 Classroom

It’s September and students across the country are now well-settled in their new classrooms, many filled with laptops and high tech, interactive white boards.  What would you expect to find in an 1874 schoolroom? This trade catalog from that year shows typical furniture but also illustrates a few more things, like teaching aids. Though a little lower tech than today’s models, some are still quite innovative.

Willie Vocalite and The Electrical Circus

This post was written by Tracee Haupt, an intern at the National Museum of American History Library. Tracee is a graduate student in the University of Maryland’s dual-degree master’s program for History and Library Science. At six and a half feet tall and three hundred and fifty pounds, Willie Vocalite was an imposing figure. “The Man Who Isn’t a Man,” as a 1934 booklet uncovered in our Trade Literature Collection described him, more »

Hidden History: Art Deco in the Trade Literature Collection

This post was written by Katie Martin, Summer 2016 Art Deco Trade Literature Research intern at the National Museum of American History Library. For six weeks in June and July, my task was to research and identify materials from the trade literature and world’s fair collections housed at the National Museum of American History Library that showcase the Art Deco period in Chicago.

For bicyclists and shutter bugs

This post was written by Adrian Vaagenes, volunteer in the National Museum of American History library. In the last five years, the Go-Pro, the durable HD camera of daredevils the world over, has become ubiquitous. Whether out on the trails or on the streets, it’s not uncommon to see a bicyclist documenting his or her latest excursions. Photography and bicycles have a long history, literally growing up together, with both  the first more »

Vintage Fireworks for the Fourth

This post was written by Adrian Vaagenes, intern in the National Museum of American History Library. The 4th of July is upon us, and for many of us this means, to borrow a quote from The Simpsons, it’s “time to celebrate the independence of our nation by blowing up a small part of it”. Just as we enjoy lighting roman candles, sparklers, cherry bombs, and m-80’s, these pieces of trade literature in more »

Cruising through National Bike Month

There are only a few days left in National Bike Month but we couldn’t let May pass without sharing a few of the fabulous bicycle-related resources available from the Smithsonian Libraries. National Bike Month, established in 1956, is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists. It promotes the benefits of bicycling and encourages more folks across the country to give it a try.

Labor Day

We hope you get a break from punching the clock and a chance to enjoy your time off, American workers! If you are looking for a little holiday reading, perhaps reflect on the origins of the day with this blog post from last year.  

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