The First Map of the Gulf Stream: Benjamin Franklin's Maritime Observations

From Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1980

Many of us have read about Benjamin Franklin’s scientific work with electricity, but few know that this Renaissance man is also responsible for a groundbreaking study of the Gulf Stream current.

On June 9, 2010, the following was posted by Ed Redmond (Geography and Map Reference Specialist at the Library of Congress) on MAPS-L listserv:

“With all the sad happenings in the Gulf of Mexico, there are a plethora of contemporary maps depicting the forecasted extent of the ‘event.’ 

"A historic map related to the Gulf that some may not be aware of is Benjamin Franklin's 1768 map of the Gulf Stream which can be found on the Library of Congress web site via:

“Franklin's 1768 map can also be seen next to a modern map depicting the approximate flow of the Gulf current around the Florida peninsula via the Library's "Places in The News" website:

The First Map of the Gulf Stream: Benjamin Franklin's Maritime Observations

The Pope's Stone, Part Two: The Bloody Bedini Background

[The Pope’s Stone, Part One discussed the theft and destruction of a block of marble sent by Pope Pius IX in 1853 to be placed in the Washington Monument, under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This Part Two recounts some inflammatory background to that embarrassing episode in American history in the form of the perilous visit of a Vatican prelate just before the destruction of the stone.]

The announcement of his upcoming visit was short and succinct, in no way foreshadowing the waves of bigotry, chaos, and violence, which over the following seven months would accompany his progress through America. Baltimore’s Sunof June 27, 1853 reported simply:

"Monsignor Bedini, Archbishop of Thebes, former Commissary Extraordinary of the Pontifical Government to the Legations, has left Rome as special Envoy of His Holiness to the United States. He is charged by the Holy Father to pay a visit to the government at Washington, and also to hold interviews with different Prelates of the Church in the United States, and to acquire the most exact information respecting the interests and condition of the Catholic Church in this country. After making as along a visit as may be of advantage in the United States, Monsignor Bedini will go to Brazil, where he is to reside as Apostolic Nuncio near that Government."

Gaetano Bedini was born on May 15, 1806 in Sinigaglia, Italy, also the birthplace of Pius IX, not far from the Adriatic. After his ordination in 1828, Bedini was awarded a Doctor Utriusque Juris (i.e. doctorate in civil and canon law) and became secretary to Cardinal Altieri, Papal Nuncio at Vienna. In 1846 he was sent by the Pope to serve as Apostolic Internuncio [a sort of junior ambassador] to the Imperial Court of Brazil, where in the words of J.F. Connelley

The Pope's Stone, Part Two: The Bloody Bedini Background

"Tears in England": Will World Cup History Repeat Itself?

From the Springfield Union, July 1, 1950, page 18

England will meet the United States in the first game either team plays in the 2010 World Cup. The tournament begins this Friday, June 11, with the England vs. U.S. game occurring Saturday afternoon in the Eastern Time zone.

The first time the two teams met produced a stunning upset in 1950. The Springfield Union quoted British newspapers as saying that the loss "marks the lowest ever for British sport," and "is the biggest soccer upset of all time." A reporter for the U.K.’s Daily Graphic wrote: "It was pathetic to see the cream of English players beaten by a side (team) most amateur players at home would have beaten..."

A search within 20th-Century American Newspapers on "World Cup" and "soccer" in the year 1950 reveals only 10 articles in the pages of eight major U.S. papers. In contrast, this year ESPN and its family of networks will be broadcasting every game from the tournament. Times, and American interest in the sport, have changed.

On the 100th Anniversary of the Union of South Africa

One hundred years ago last week, Great Britain created the Union of South Africa, transforming the British colony into a semi-autonomous new state with its own Parliament and its first Prime Minister, the former Boer General Louis Botha. The new union was made up of the previously separate colonies of Natal, Transvaal, Cape, and the Orange Free State.

By May 31, 1910, when the Union was formed, South Africa had been ruled by the British for more than a century. The British had arrived there in 1806, when Cape Town was ruled by the French-controlled Netherlands, which made South Africa an enemy of Britain during the Napoleonic Wars.

On January 8, 1806, Lt. General David Baird landed at the head of a British naval expedition and forced the Dutch to surrender, marking the beginning of Britain’s long rule. Within a week, the British took control of Cape Town’s first newspaper, The Cape Town Gazette and General Advertiser, later renaming it The Cape of Good Hope Government Gazette.

On the 100th Anniversary of the Union of South Africa

Silent auction for the GODORT Rozkuszka Scholarship: Enjoy a vacation in Naples, Florida or Chester, Vermont

Established in 1994, the W. David Rozkuszka Scholarship provides financial assistance to an individual who is 1) currently working with government documents in a library and 2) trying to complete a master's degree in library science. Sponsored by Readex and GODORT (American Library Association's Government Documents Round Table), the award is named after W. David Rozkuszka, a former Documents Librarian at Stanford University whose talent, work ethic and personality left an indelible mark on the profession. The scholarship award is $3,000, and has assisted twelve students with their library education since 1995. Place your bid today to stay in beautiful Naples, Florida or charming Chester, Vermont.  Auction bidding ends at noon on July 12, 2010.  Thank you for supporting the GODORT W. David Rozkuszka Scholarship!

Silent auction for the GODORT Rozkuszka Scholarship: Enjoy a vacation in Naples, Florida or Chester, Vermont

The Charleston Advisor awards Early American Newspapers 4.75 stars

The April 2010 issue of The Charleston Advisor includes a two-page review of America's Historical Newspapers by Providence College librarian Janice Schuster.

Focusing on Early American Newspapers, Series 1 to 7, 1690-1922, The Charleston Advisor awarded this collection its highest ranking in the categories of Content, Searchability and Contract Options.

Here’s an excerpt:

"The initial search screen makes it very clear which searching options are available. One can immediately start searching using the Google-like search box and the drop-down menu of searching options, including Headline, Standard Title (i.e., publication title), and Title as published....The results list includes a wealth of

information for each item, including title of publication; publication date; published as; location; headline, and article type....The results list also includes a thumbnail image (actually larger than a thumbnail) of a portion of the article. This facilitates research by making it easy to browse through and eliminate irrelevant items....

The Charleston Advisor awards Early American Newspapers 4.75 stars

Illustrated Journalism: The Innovative Use of Maps by Northern Newspapers to Report Civil War Events

First map of Battle of Gettysburg, showing first day’s fighting. (Phil. Inquirer; July 4, 1863)

In Civil War Newspaper Maps: A Historical Atlas (Johns Hopkins, 1993), David C. Bosse presents 45 battlefield maps published in daily Northern newspapers. Each is accompanied by a clear overview of the event and captivating commentary on the map itself.

These detailed maps, many originating from eyewitness sketches by correspondents on site, illustrate well-known battles and not-so-familiar campaigns from more than a dozen states—from Alabama to Mississippi to Virginia.

Most detailed map of second day’s fighting (New York Herald; July 6, 1863

In Bosse’s introductory essay titled “The Published Record,” he writes:

Illustrated Journalism: The Innovative Use of Maps by Northern Newspapers to Report Civil War Events

Rare printed items from Library Company of Philadelphia enhance a venerable resource

To enrich the digital edition of Early American Imprints, Readex is offering Supplements from the Library Company of Philadelphia, a unique resource featuring newly discovered materials. These rare holdings from the Library Company form the largest collection of early American imprints to have been identified and cataloged during the last 40 years.

Spanning from 1670 to 1819, these remarkable printed items, particularly valuable for studying popular culture, offer new terrain for exploration and teaching. Available now are sample documents in such categories as Death, Captivity, Ballads, X-Rated, Entertainment, Politics and more.

Faculty in English and American History departments are eagerly awaiting the pending release of the new collection:

Rare printed items from Library Company of Philadelphia enhance a venerable resource

The Pope’s Stone: Part One

From the Serial Set: History of the Washington National Monument and Washington National Monument Society. Compiled by Frederick L. Harvey, Secretary Washington National Monument Society. February 6, 1903

In the late 1840s the Washington National Monument Society, a private civic-minded organization, continued its program of soliciting funds from across the country for building the nation’s monument to its first president and added a request for something in addition to monies.

"With a view of having the States of the Union properly represented in the Monument, the Society extended an invitation for each State to furnish for insertion in the interior walls a block of marble or other durable stone, a production of its soil, of the following dimensions: Four feet long, two feet high, and with a bed of from twelve to eighteen inches, the name of the State to be cut thereon in large letters, and, if desirable to the donor, the State's coat of arms also. Later, this invitation to contribute memorial blocks of stone was extended to embrace such a gift from a foreign government." (p. 49, see Harvey citation below)

The Pope’s Stone: Part One

If At First You Do Not Succeed: Walt Disney Introduces Mickey Mouse (May 15, 1928)

To say that iconic brands are prevalent in today’s society is a bit of an understatement. Everywhere you look, there’s a sign for a name brand, a store, a large company. It may be hard to imagine a time when this wasn’t the case—when not only was that big name unknown, but it was rejected.

Take Disney for example: Can you think of a time when Mickey Mouse wasn’t an icon for family fun? If you’ve grown up in the United States within the last, say, 70 years or so, chances are that you may have seen this mouse a time or two!

Looking back at those early years though, Walt Disney didn’t always find success. In fact, in the late 1920s the combination of Mickey Mouse and Disney was a gamble that few were willing to take.

From the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, May 1, 1955

At the time when silent films were coming to an end, and talking pictures were poised to become the newest thing, even Mr. Disney couldn’t successfully peddle Mickey’s debut film: "Plane Crazy." Most theater owners had no interest in this silent, unfamiliar mouse, believing that Felix the Cat, already a hit cartoon, was more than enough to satisfy their theatergoers.

Poor Mickey’s introduction to the screen on May 15, 1928 is usually forgotten. Instead, popular history—and even the Walt Disney Company itself—looks ahead to October of that year when "Steamboat Willie," Mickey’s third film, and his first with sound, debuted. Today, Mickey’s first two films are still largely forgotten, even after their re-release with an added soundtrack.

If At First You Do Not Succeed: Walt Disney Introduces Mickey Mouse (May 15, 1928)


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