Category Archives: History

Dive into the past with historical newspapers online

Girl reading newspaperYou can find a lot of historical information freely available online, but really old articles from newspapers? Not so much. While Google News Archive has some actual scanned images of historical newspapers, the coverage is pretty limited. Many of the titles have only a few years of coverage, and major daily papers are few and far between.

Luckily, Miami University students, faculty and staff also have access to 5 major newspapers from our subscription to ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Links below give the title and years of coverage. You can see every issue for the years listed, complete cover-to-cover content including photos, advertisements, classified ads, obituaries, editorial cartoons and more. You can limit your search by date range, to front-page articles, classified ads, and other document types. You can also email articles to yourself along with a citation in many different styles. All of these resources are available off-campus with your Miami ID and password.

New York Times Historical (1851 – 2013)

Washington Post Historical (1877-2000)

Chicago Tribune Historical (1849-1993)

Wall Street Journal Historical (1889-2000)

Cincinnati Enquirer Historical (1841-1922)

Last chapter of Les Misérables appeared today in 1862

front page of French magazine featuring Les MiserablesOn this day (June 30) in 1862, French author Victor Hugo published the last installment of his massive novel Les Misérables. (A story on Vox.com celebrates the event.) Hugo is also the subject of a Google Doodle today to mark the achievement.

In those days, many novels were “serialized” (published in segments) in various newspapers and magazines so that middle-class readers could better afford to read them.

If you want to read the original 1200+ page version, Rentschler Library has one translation  and the Modern Library edition by a different translator. There is also an abridged version (link to Amazon.com) published by Barnes & Noble in 2003. There are also editions available in French and, of course, the movie and musical.

Women’s History Month – Grace Hopper

hopperFor Women’s History Month, the blog is highlighting Grace Hopper, a groundbreaking computer scientist, mathematician, and an officer in the U.S. Navy. Our most recent book on Hopper is “Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age,” by Kurt Beyer (MIT Press, 2012.  She is listed in “American Women Scientists: 23 inspiring biographies, 1900-2000,” by Moira Davison Reynolds. Here are some quick facts:

 

  • Earned a Ph.D in Mathematics from Yale University in 1934.
  • While working in private industry, she helped create the first “compiler” for computer languages (a compiler renders worded instructions into code that can be read by computers). This compiler was the basis for the later development of COBOL, a computer language used widely in the business world.
  • First woman to win the National Medal of Technology (1991)
  • When she retired as a rear admiral from U.S. Navy at age 79, she was at that time the oldest serving officer.
  • First woman of any nationality (and the first American) ever named as Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society
  • Posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 by Pres. Barack Obama for her accomplishments in the field of computer science.

 

Madame C.J. Walker

Madame C.J. Walker driving automobile

Madame C.J. Walker (in the driver’s seat at  left) was an entrepreneur, philanthropist and social activist who became the first black woman millionaire in the United States. She made her fortune selling hair care products for women. She was born Sarah Breedlove to Louisiana sharecroppers in 1867. She was widowed by age 20 and went to work as a laundress in St. Louis, MO. After starting to lose her hair in 1905, she develped a product that helped with her condition and went on to create a whole system of hair treatment products specifically geared towards black women’s hair. She lived extravagantly, and her Manhattan townhouse would later become a meeting place for artists of the Harlem Renaissance. She also gave extravagantly to charities like the NAACP, black YMCA, and funded scholarships for women to the Tuskeegee Institute. She is ranked #85 of the 100 Most Influential Women of All Time: a Ranking Past and Present.

book cover of On Her Own Ground

One of the biographies of Madame C.J. Walker available is On her own ground : the life and times of Madam C.J. Walker by A’Lelia Bundles, New York: Scribner, 2001.

Another more recent biography is “Her Dream of Dreams: the Rise and Triumph of Madame C.J. Walker, by Beverly Lowry, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.

Abolitionist icon Frederick Douglass

book cover imageIt is difficult to overstate the impact Frederick Douglass had on the abolition movement in the 19th Century. He escaped slavery, fled to New York City and became a major figure in the movement. Rentschler Library has both of his famous books. His first, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself, is a “testament to the evils of slavery, detailing its dehumanizing nature and its attempt to crush one’s spirit.” (Notable Black Americans, 1998). His second autobiography, My Bondage and my Freedom, “revises key portions of his original 1845 Narrative and extends the story of his life to include his experiences as a traveling lecturer in the United States as well as England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.” (Documenting the American South)

The book jacket above is a biography of Douglass, edited by L. Diane Barnes,  using selected speeches and writings. One reviewer said it is a “well-collocated set of materials from across Douglass’s life” and provides “an approachable and meaningful introduction to the man and his ideas.”

African American History Month

picture of Harriet Tubman

1911 photo of Tubman, Library of Congress

February is African American History month and so this month the library’s blog is going to feature images, books, and other content to celebrate the contributions of African Americans, as well as info on any related events on our campuses. At left is Harriet Tubman, abolitionist, humanitarian and spy for the North during the U.S. Civil War.

Next up is the Taste of Soul Dinner & Silent Auction, on Feb. 11 from 6-9 p.m. at the Wilks Conference Center. Enjoy traditional soul food, a silent auction from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m., and entertainment by The Brotherhood Singer from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (55+), and $5 for Miami students and children under 12. Call 513-785-3024 or email kingmm (“at” symbol) miamioh.edu.

Black Soldiers at War display

Civil war black soldiersFebruary is Black History Month and in addition to all of the events going on campus, stop by Rentschler Library ‘s display titled “Black Soldiers: Segregated then Integrated.”  Learn about the participation of black soldiers in the Civil War, WW I and every major armed conflict since then. See the text of Pres. Harry S. Truman’s Executive Order 9981 which required integration of all the armed forces and created the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services (Fahy Committee).

The display also has selected books about African American service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Photo: Company E, 4th United States Colored Troops at Fort Lincoln, April 17, 1865. (Source: Library of Congress)