News from the Reference Desk Category: History

Flying the Flag – the right way!

It’s that time of year, when Old Glory is proudly displayed.  The United States Flag is one of the most visible and important symbols of our country and the United States Flag Code spells out proper use of the flag.

From a staff, the union (the blue field) should be at the peak, unless the flag is being flown at half-staff.  No other flag should be placed above or to the right of the American flag. The flag can also be displayed vertically, hanging flat so the folds fall free. The union should be uppermost to the flag’s own right (the observer’s left.)

Customarily, the flag is flown from sunrise to sunset, although it may be flown 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during night hours.  Proper illumination is a light specifically for the flag (preferred) or a light source in the area that allows the flag to be identifiable. The flag should not be flown in inclement weather, unless it is made of all-weather material (many are.)

The flag should not touch the ground or be used for draping or decoration. No part of the flag should be used as a costume, in clothing, or for advertising purposes.  Lapel pins are allowed and should always be worn on the left near the heart.

When a flag becomes too worn to display, it should be respectfully disposed of, preferably by burning.  American Legion Post 36 and VFW Post 2992 host an annual Flag Day (June 14) ceremonial burning of worn flags. For more information on displaying the flag, visit the American Legion website at http://www.legion.org/flag/code .

Photographs from the Field Museum

Chicago’s Field Museum is known for its notable specimens numbering over 24 million.  Did you know that the museum also has tens of thousands of photographs in its collection?  Many of them are available online at http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/department/library/photo-archives/collections.  The photos include scenes from the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and historic photos from Africa, Peru, the South Pacific and the United States.  This collection documents the history and architecture of the Museum, its exhibitions, events, staff and scientific expeditions.

1940 Census Now Searchable by Name

The 1940 Census was made available to the public in April 2012 by the National Archives. At first it could only be searched using street addresses. With the help of scores of volunteers who indexed millions of names, it is now possible to search the 1940 Census by name. The Census is available at www.familysearch.org for free. It is also available for free at www.ancestry.com through 2013. If you need assistance using this resource, please contact the Reference Department.