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Type of Item
United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.: East Front Elevation, Rendering
Construction of the Capitol, the building that houses the U.S. Congress, began in 1793 and was largely completed by 1865, when the Capitol’s second dome was finished. The principal architects were William Thornton (1759-1828), B. Henry Latrobe (1764-1820), Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844), and Thomas Ustick Walter (1804-87). This elevation by Alexander Jackson Davis (1803-92), rendered in ink, watercolor, and wash, shows the east front of the Capitol as it appeared in 1834. After studying at the American Academy of Fine Arts in New York, Davis began his career as ...
St. Augustine: Part (Below Thirty Degrees Latitude) is on the Mainland of Florida, but the Sea Coast is More Low-Lying and thus Torn Away and Rendered Island-Like
This map is the earliest engraving of any city or territory now part of the United States. It also includes the dorado fish, one of the natural history subjects drawn by John White, governor of the first Anglo-American settlement in America, in the Hatteras region, then part of Virginia (now North Carolina). Sir Francis Drake’s 1585-86 raid on the West Indies picked up the Virginia settlers and returned them to Europe. In the course of the return voyage, the author of this view-plan was able to copy the figure ...
Spinner in Vivian Cotton Mills, Cherryville, North Carolina: Been at it Two Years. Where Will Her Good Looks Be in Ten Years?
This image of a young girl working in a North Carolina textile mill in the early 20th century is from the Records of the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) at the Library of Congress. The photograph is attributed to Lewis W. Hine (1874-1940), one of the leading American documentary photographers of the Progressive Era. Best known for his photography of urban social conditions in New York City, Hine also investigated conditions at cotton mills across the Carolina Piedmont. Working with the Reverend Alfred E. Seddon and journalist A.H. Ulm ...
Saint Augustine Map, 1589
This engraved hand-colored map or view-plan by Baptista Boazio depicts Sir Francis Drake's attack on Saint Augustine on May 28-29, 1586. Boazio, an Italian who worked in London from about 1585 to 1603, made maps to illustrate accounts of English expeditions and campaigns. He prepared a series of maps marking Drake's route for Walter Bigges' work on Drake's expedition to the West Indies, first published in 1588 and followed by later editions. This map highlights an episode from Drake's Caribbean expedition, pictorially portraying how the English ...
Ordinance of Secession, 1861
This document is a one-page handwritten copy of the Ordinance of Secession passed on January 10, 1861, by the members of the Florida Convention of the People (commonly referred to as the Secession Convention). Pursuant to an act of the Florida legislature approved on November 30, 1860, Governor Madison S. Perry issued a proclamation calling an election on Saturday, December 22, 1860, for delegates to a convention to address the issue of whether Florida had a right to withdraw from the Union. The Secession Convention met in Tallahassee on January ...
Will of Zephaniah Kingsley, 1843
Zephaniah Kingsley was a wealthy planter and slave owner in northeast Florida. His heirs included his wife, a freed slave named Anna M. J. Kingsley, and their children. Kingsley was both a defender of slavery and an activist for the legal rights of free blacks. Born in Bristol, England, in 1765, Kingsley moved to Charleston, South Carolina, then a British colony, in 1770. By the 1790s, Kingsley was active in maritime commerce, including the slave trade. In 1803, he became a citizen of Spanish Florida and began acquiring land in ...
Spanish Land Grant Papers of John B. Gaudry
The Spanish Land Grants were claims filed to prove ownership of land after the transfer, in 1821, of the territory of Florida to the United States. Starting in 1790, Spain offered land grants to encourage settlement in the sparsely populated and vulnerable Florida colony. When the United States assumed control of the territory, it agreed to honor any valid land grants. Residents had to prove the validity of their grants through documentation and testimonials in dossiers filed with the U.S. government. Claims either were confirmed (found to be valid ...
Confrontation Between Black Demonstrators and Segregationists at a "White Only" Beach
This photograph documents one episode in the struggle over civil rights that raged throughout the American South in the early 1960s. In the summer of 1964, national civil rights leaders hoped to push for integration of public areas in St. Augustine, Florida, including its bathing beaches. An especially violent confrontation over public access occurred on June 25, when white men attacked blacks on Butler Beach in defiance of the police, who were trying to keep the groups apart. The confrontation drew the attention of national civil rights leaders such as ...
This portrait, taken in January 1989, is of Addie Billie, a member of the Seminole tribe of Florida, in old age. As a younger woman, Billie had campaigned to improve the quality of life of the Mikasuki-Seminoles. Today’s Seminoles are the descendants of Native Americans who may have lived for millennia in the southeastern United States. Seminole culture was firmly established in Florida by the 1800s, but it was also threatened by the newly created United States, which desired the removal of Seminole peoples from the territory. The Seminoles ...
Midwinter Crowd at Miami Beach
Winter tourism became a major factor in the development of Miami and south Florida from the 1920s onward. Development, particularly of hotels, grew apace, with the increasing popularity of this tourism and retirement haven, and much helped by the spread of commercial aviation. By 1940 Miami had about two million vacationers a year. President Harry S Truman was there for the dedication of the Everglades National Park in 1947. Some of the new hotels, such as the 1948 Sherry Frontenac, had fine Art Deco details. This photograph, taken on December ...
Seminole Josie Billie with Family and Dog
This photograph, taken in the Big Cypress Swamp in Florida near Deep Lake in April 1921, depicts Josie Billie and his family. Born on December 12, 1887, Billie was the son of the first Indian to receive a formal education in Florida. A Seminole medicine man and long-time public spokesman for the Florida Seminoles, Billie was also a Baptist minister. He was a frequent participant in the Florida Folk Festival and lived on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Hendry County until his death in 1980. The image is ...
Kazuo and Masuko Kamiya as Children
This photograph, taken about 1920, shows two young children of the Yamato Colony, a farming community in south Florida founded by Japanese immigrant Jo Sakai in 1905 with the encouragement of Florida authorities, who thought the Japanese would introduce innovative farming methods and new crops. Yamato was an ancient name for Japan. The community was located in what is now Boca Raton, and the farmers grew pineapples and later winter vegetables. Jo Sakai encouraged young men from his Japanese village, Miyazu, to settle at Yamato, a prospect that appealed to ...
Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley
Early in the 19th century, as wagon trains streamed into the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, settlers came upon vast numbers of abandoned earthworks that they attributed to a sophisticated race of long-gone mound builders. Giving rise to often-loaded questions about human origins, the mounds and the artifacts found within them became the focus of early American efforts toward a science of archaeology. Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley (1848) was the first major work in the nascent discipline as well as the first publication of the newly established Smithsonian Institution ...