Primary Sources in the Classroom


The Utterly Sad Anniversary of the “War to End All Wars”: A Look Back Through America's Historical Newspapers

August 2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of what we now call World War I. The wars in Europe since 1815 had been brief affairs. The expectation was that this would also be brief. The Colorado Gazette of August 23, 1914, called it “the Biggest Family Row of History.”



The war would last four years and mark the end of what some historians call the long 19th century, which they date from the French Revolution to 1914. It was the beginning of the end of several European societies; the empires of Russia, Austro-Hungary and Germany did not survive the conflict. Eastern Europe was completely reshaped politically by the war and the peace that followed it. Great Britain struggled with its economic consequences. The European conflicts of the 1930s and World War II are direct results of it, too. America’s Historical Newspapers can help students and scholars explore and understand this conflagration in new ways.

The crisis that started it actually began six weeks earlier, when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by Serbian nationalists. Other European royalty and government officials had been assassinated in the three decades previous to this killing, but they did not set off a general European war. This killing of the archduke, and the death of his wife in the same attack, would.
The Utterly Sad Anniversary of the “War to End All Wars”: A Look Back Through America's Historical Newspapers

Celebrating African American History Month: Five Acclaimed Research and Teaching Collections for African American Studies

In 1925 Carter G. Woodson and his Association for the Study of Negro Life and History created Negro History Week. A half century later, during the U.S. bicentennial, this formal period for recognizing African American contributions to our national history was expanded to a month. At that time President Gerald Ford asked Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” During this 2014 celebration of African American History month, Readex is pleased to highlight these five new and recent resources:

The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society

Celebrating African American History Month: Five Acclaimed Research and Teaching Collections for African American Studies

Celebrating Victory: The End of World War II as Seen in America's Historical Newspapers

On May 8, 1945, the United States and Europe celebrated VE day, or Victory in Europe day. The war in Europe had lasted for six years, claiming the lives of over sixty million people. After Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, during the Battle of Berlin, the surrender of Germany was authorized by his successor, Karl Dönitz. On May 7,1945, Dönitz and the German High Command declared Germany’s unconditional surrender. News that the Europe war had ended was published that same day in many American newspapers, although the official announcement was made on May 8, when the surrender document was ratified.

Church bells rang and the streets resounded with singing and cheering. People flooded to places like Trafalgar Square in London and Times Square in New York City to celebrate, as reported in these papers on May 7:

Celebrating Victory: The End of World War II as Seen in America's Historical Newspapers

Readex Civil War database reviewed in current Library Journal

In the April 15 issue of Library Journal, Gail Golderman and Bruce Connolly review nine collections of primary-source materials related to the American Civil War.  Among these resources is The Civil War: Antebellum Period to Reconstruction—a thematic Readex collection created from multiple Archive of Americana collections.  Here’s a brief excerpt from their newest e-reviews column:

"Reduced to its bare essentials, The Civil War: Antebellum Period to Reconstruction—with 150 newspapers from across the country, roughly 50,000 documents culled from the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, and 4,000 rare broadsides and ephemeral itemsis a singularly impressive primary-source collection....there is a lot more here than the numbers alone convey.  

"The broad geographic sweep of these newspaper titles puts the regional perspectives and regional biases necessary to comprehend the meaning of this period of American history at the researcher's disposal....

"The huge U.S. Congressional Serial Set is one of the underappreciated gems among all the publications of the federal government....

Readex Civil War database reviewed in current Library Journal

Attend a Free February Webinar on African American Studies

Readex product director Brett Kolcun will present a live webinar on Feb. 28 for librarians, faculty and students who have an interest in African American studies. This in-depth webinar will explore the content, features and functionality of three acclaimed Archive of Americana collections:

  

 

Attend a Free February Webinar on African American Studies

New Webinars: Historical Perspectives on the American South, West and Northeast

Newspaper Archives for Academic Research and Training: A Series of Three Regionally Focused Webinars

American newspapers—with their eyewitness reporting, editorials, advertisements, obituaries and human interest stories—have preserved essential records and detailed accounts of nearly every facet of regional and national life. Now searchable online, these regionally diverse newspaper archives span centuries of social, cultural, political, military, business, sports and literary history, providing students and scholars with invaluable original reporting and fresh, local-level insights.

Newspaper Archives of the American Northeast

Thursday, October 18 -- 1 to 2 pm EST

Newspaper publishing in New England and the Mid-Atlantic stateshas had a long and proud history, going back to the colonial era. In this webinar we’ll explore the rich histories of prominent newspapers such as the Boston Herald, New York Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Springfield Republican, Trenton Evening Times, Washington Evening Star and others.

Newspaper Archives of the American South

Thursday, October 25 -- 1 to 2 pm EST

New Webinars: Historical Perspectives on the American South, West and Northeast

Afro-Americana Imprints—Now available for institutional trial

The digital edition of one of the world's preeminent collections for African American studies is now available for institutional trial. Created from the Library Company of Philadephia’s acclaimed Afro-Americana Collection—an accumulation that began with Benjamin Franklin and steadily increased throughout its entire history—this unique online resource will provide researchers with more than 12,000 printed works. These books, pamphlets, and broadsides, including many lesser-known imprints, hold a matchless record of African American history, literature, and culture. This long-awaited collection spans nearly 400 years, from the early 16th to the early 20th centuries. Critically important subjects covered include the discovery and exploitation of Africa by the West; the rise of slavery in the New World along with the growth and success of abolitionist movements; the development of racial thought and racism; descriptions of African American life throughout the Americas; slavery and race in fiction and drama; and many others.
Afro-Americana Imprints—Now available for institutional trial

Hitler’s Secret Mistress

Eva Braun (1912-1945)

In his recent review of Heike Görtemaker’s new book Eva Braun: Life with Hitler (New York Review of Books, Vol. 59, No. 7, Apr. 26, 2012), British historian Antony Beevor writes:
Although the American press had strong inklings of Hitler’s relationship with Eva Braun as early as May 1939, in Germany only Hitler’s intimate circle knew of her existence. (p. 26)

Springfield Daily Republican (Dec. 31, 1937). Source: American Newspaper Archives.

Hitler’s Secret Mistress

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