News from the Reference Desk Category: History

Seeing Into the Past

Books and other texts can link us intellectually to the past but photographs and films of other eras take us into those past moments.  Photographs from 1911 are not exactly rare but they are precious.  Film showing motion was only just becoming more available in 1911 so a film of New York City in that year is a very special resource.  A Swedish documentary film company sought to document the most celebrated sites in the world at that time.  Look here to see its film of a New York street scene in 1911.

There are  no films of Mount Prospect in 1911.  The  town was only just beginning to make a name for itself at that time.  There are some photographs of the people and a business, however.  Go to the Illinois Digital Archives to see children of Louis F. Busse and workers at the Wille Brothers Company in photographs taken around 1911.  The original photographs are in the collection of the Mount Prospect Historical Society.

New Web Resource: National Geographic Virtual Library

The Library now subscribes to National Geographic Virtual Library and National Geographic Kids (brought to you by the incredible database company, Gale Cengage). The Virtual Library contains every single page of every issue of National Geographic since it began publication in 1888, all issues of National Geographic Traveler, published since 2010, and over 300 books.

The incredible photography takes on an amazing glow. Take a look at the about the Photo Ark article for proof of that. Every Last One. 

All articles can be saved to your computer, Google Drive, or saved to your folder in a Gale account. You can print them or email them to yourself or others.

New States Added to WWII Draft Registration Cards!

Fold3 has added new U.S. states to its collection of WWII Draft Registration Cards! The collection (via the National Archives) now also includes Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, West Virginia, Utah, Alaska, Wyoming, and Virginia. The cards in this collection are registration cards for the draft and do not necessarily indicate that the individual served in the military. You can read more here.

Making Rare Materials Visible to the World

Scanning all kinds of material has become a common task thanks to the availability of devices like Flip-Pal and special phone apps like Pic Scanner for iphones or Google PhotoScan for android phones.  But what do you do with a book that is nearly 6 feet by 7 1/2 feet when opened?  The British Library recently faced this challenge when it digitized its copy of the 1660 Klencke Atlas, one of the world’s largest books.  The library made a video of the process available on YouTube recently. The Klencke Atlas contains 41 wall-sized, extremely rare maps.  These maps reveal what Dutch cartographers knew about the world during the High Renaissance period.  The public domain images of the atlas are part of the British Library’s Picturing Places online resource.

If you are looking for a digitized collection of items closer to home, go the the MPPL digital collection Dimensions of Life in Mount Prospect.  This collection includes an image of an 1873 map of Mount Prospect.

Being Irish

On St. Patrick’s Day it is often said in the United States that everyone is a little Irish. But how many people of Irish descent are there in the United States? An exact figure is a challenge to determine but the United States Census figures project it to be around 33 million. Here is a Census Bureau report issued in 2004 which describes the results of an ancestry question on the 2000 Census. An article from the website Irish Central compares figures from the 2000 Census to those from the American Community Survey in 2014. It also explains why it is difficult to pin down exact figures regarding ethnicity. If you want to see if there is an Irish ancestor in your background, there are resources at the Mount Prospect Public Library which can help. Look through this list of Irish genealogy books in our collection. Investigate the genealogy online resources Ancestry Library Edition, Heritage Quest, and Find My Past. If you would like some help with this research, please come to the Research Services Desk and set up an appointment with the genealogy librarian or make an appointment online. Whatever your background, wear a little green and have some fun on St. Patrick’s Day!