Dog Document Day Afternoon

In June, thief of historical documents Barry Landau was sentenced to seven years in prison.  The Justice Department nabbed Landau stealing documents between December 2010 and July 2011 from “the Maryland Historical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Connecticut Historical Society, the University of Vermont, the New York Historical Society and the Franklin D.…

China Gate

The Epoch Times recently claimed to have received an anonymous collection of documents which detail item-level corruption in the Chinese government.  Names, dates and numbers are listed in the retrieved secret documents regarding government officials who are prisoners, embezzlers, or expatriates. The provenance of the papers is a mystery, but “based on the language and…

The Mark Twain Rises

Internet Archive has posted the single extant footage of writer Mark Twain in a motion picture format.  Shot by Thomas Edison in 1909, the minute-and-a-half clip shows Twain pacing the grounds of his Connecticut house, smoking a cigar, and sitting for tea with his two daughters, one of whom puts on a pretty hat. This…

Roots

The worlds of politics and genealogy recently converged when Ancestry.com completed the family tree of Barack Obama, which traces the President’s ancestors back to a man called John Punch, who shows up in the 1640s in the Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, and is claimed to be the “first African…

Alexander the Kingpin

While sitting at John’s Donut Shop on Myrtle Avenue, eating scrambled eggs and drinking coffee, Future Use read two articles. “The Kingpins,” by William Finnegan, in this month’s New Yorker, details the current drug war in Mexico. A 2009 piece by Mary Beard in the The New York Review of Books is about Alexander the…

Happy 4th 2012

The National Automotive History Collection (NAHC) at the Rose and Robert Skillman Branch of the Detroit Public Library has made available its archives regarding the industry of “wheeled land transportation in the United States and abroad.”  The NAHC collection includes 77 boxes and 4,000 photographs donated by the Automobile Manufacturers Association in the 1950s, and…

The War and the Library

This past Saturday, the Library of Congress blog noted a milestone in the history of its collection: “Two hundred years ago today, President James Madison set pen to paper to write a message to Congress.  His intent was to talk them into making the nation’s first formal declaration of war – on Great Britain, which was…