News from the Reference Desk Category: History

The Objects in Our Lives

Over the past few decades many electronic devices and other objects once vital in our lives have become obsolete.  Remember rotary telephones or even telephone booths?  The importance these objects had in our lives is significant.  Many museums are collecting these items to document the development of technology and our relationship to it.  At the McKinley Museum in Akron, Ohio, an exhibit called Mom, What’s That? includes objects from the 1980s.

The Mount Prospect Historical Society has been collecting items since the late 1960s.  These objects reflect the growth of Mount Prospect over the past 100 years.  They can be seen at the Friedrichs Museum in Mount Prospect at 101 South Maple.  If you cannot make it there in person, you can see professional photographs of many significant objects in the museum in a digital collection called Dimensions of Life in Mount Prospect.

It was almost a year ago that the Village unearthed the time capsule from 1992 as part of Mount Prospect’s Centennial Celebration.  If you haven’t viewed the items in the Library’s second-floor Harold Weary Genealogy Room, come and take a look before they become part of the new time capsule that will be buried in October 2017.

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!

Tales Told by Found Photographs

The stories of our families are told through  many forms of documents.  Family photographs, however, are unique because they have visually captured moments in time that now only live as memories.  A discarded photograph album lead a writer in New York to the story of black families that lived in the Crown Heights neighborhood of New York City during the middle of the 20th Century.  This writer, Anne Correal, describes the journey she undertook to discover whose photographs they were and how the album was left forsaken on the street.  Her article “Love and Black Lives, in Pictures Found on a Brooklyn Street” appeared in the New York Times in January 2017.  It traces the paths that many African American families took from the Deep South to the North in an event known as the Great Migration. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson is a book in the Library’s collection which also illuminates this event in American history.  There are now also other books and videos on display in the Library which document African American history.  If you are interested in learning more about your own family’s history and managing your own family photographic collections, come talk to our Research Services staff who will help you get started.