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Guide to the Great Siberian Railway
The 8,000-kilometer Trans-Siberian Railway linking Ekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains with the Pacific port of Vladivostok is the world’s longest railroad. Construction began in 1891 and was completed in 1916. By 1900, much of the line was finished and open for traffic. In that year, the Russian Ministry of Ways of Communication issued, in identical English and Russian editions, this illustrated guide to the railway. It includes a history of Siberia, an account of the construction, and a detailed listing of the towns and cities along the route.
Contributed by
National Library of Russia
His Excellency: George Washington Esq: L.L.D. Late Commander in Chief of the Armies of the U.S. of America and President of the Convention of 1787
In 1787, the confederation of the 13 American states was descending into disarray. The coffers were empty, New York and New Jersey were in a dispute over duties charged on goods crossing state lines, farmers in Massachusetts were rebelling, and Spain and Britain were encroaching on American territories in the west. The Federal Convention was called to address the problems of governing the young republic under the existing Articles of Confederation. The convention responded by framing the document that became the United States Constitution. The convention delegates elected George Washington ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Letter from Otto Ringling, October 26, 1907
Otto Ringling (1858–1911) was the son of a German immigrant who, with his brothers Albert, Alfred, Charles, John, August, and Henry, created the Ringling Bros. circus empire in the late 19th century. The brothers bought the competing Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1907. They ran the circuses separately at first, but merged them in 1919 to create the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which came to be known as “the Greatest Show on Earth.” This letter, written by Otto to his brothers in October 1907, details how the assets ...
Contributed by
Illinois State University's Special Collections, Milner Library
John Robinson's Circus
This 1929 photograph shows the interior of John Robinson's Circus during a spectacle, or “spec,” performance of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the American circus, the spec developed as a procession that took place around the hippodrome track inside the big top, or circus tent, featuring as many of the performers and animals as the circus director was able to costume. John Robinson’s Circus was especially known for its dazzling productions of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, which offered a ...
Contributed by
Circus World Museum
Back Door Scene at the American Circus
In the American circus, the area directly behind the circus tent or arena where performers prepared for and staged their entrances through the “back door” came to be known as the “backyard.” This glass-plate negative from 1928 reveals a typical backyard scene of an American circus just prior to performance of the spectacular production number. The spectacle, or “spec,” was a procession that took place around the hippodrome track inside the big top, or circus tent, featuring as many of the performers and animals as the circus director was able ...
Contributed by
Circus World Museum
Circus Midway Scene
This 1935 photograph shows a crowd gathering on the midway of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, heading towards the entrance marquee tent. On the left is the painted banner line depicting freaks and attractions in the sideshow, an added fee attraction operating before the main show. On the right can be seen concession tents and ticket wagons. Visible behind the marquee entrance is the “free” menagerie tent consisting of the exhibition of exotic caged animals, elephants, and other lead stock. By the 1930s, the midway had become an important part of the ...
Contributed by
Circus World Museum
Cole Bros. Circus
This 1935 image presents a scene from a typical moderate-sized 20th-century American circus. A crowd watches as baggage wagons from the Cole Bros. Circus are being pulled over flatcars. The railcars are marked Clyde Beatty and Allen King, who were two of the more notable animal trainers of the period. Behind the flatcars are stock cars that held elephants and baggage horses. This scene was repeated daily, morning and night, in railroad yards in communities across the United States. Cole Bros. Circus was established in 1884 by William Washington Cole ...
Contributed by
Circus World Museum
History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark: To the Sources of the Missouri, thence Across the Rocky Mountains and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean
This account of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, published in 1814, is based on the detailed journals kept by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the leaders of expedition. The book begins with “Life of Captain Lewis,” written by Thomas Jefferson, which reproduces Jefferson’s detailed instructions to Lewis regarding the goals of the expedition. “The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri River, and such principal streams of it, as, by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregan [sic ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Free Street Parade of the Sells-Floto Circus
This colorful lithograph advertises the upcoming street parade of the Sells-Floto Circus, promoting ticket sales to the local residents for the twice-a-day shows. The artwork captures the grandeur of the American circus parade in the 1920s. The parade is led by a rider wearing an 18th-century costume and carrying a circus banner. Behind the rider is a group of mounted horsemen, elephants in costumes worn in big production number during the show (“spec costuming”), a band, and a number of circus wagons. Several of the elephants and wagons promote the ...
Contributed by
Circus World Museum
The Uganda Journal, Volume I, Number 1, January 1934
The Uganda Literary and Scientific Society was established at Entebbe, Uganda Protectorate, in 1923. Its main activity consisted of the reading of papers and the delivery of lectures on topics relating to Uganda. In 1933 the society moved its headquarters to Kampala and decided to issue a regular publication, The Uganda Journal. The journal’s declared aim was “to collect and publish information which may add to our knowledge of Uganda and to record that which in the course of time might be lost.” Four issues per year were published ...
Contributed by
National Library of Uganda
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Declaration of Independence. In Congress, July 4, 1776, a Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled.
This document is the first printed version of the American Declaration of Independence. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution urging Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, to declare independence from Great Britain. Four days later, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were appointed as a committee to draft a declaration of independence. The committee’s draft was read in Congress on June 28. On July 4, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, containing a list of grievances against the British ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Interview with Fountain Hughes, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 1949
Approximately 4 million slaves were freed at the conclusion of the American Civil War. The stories of a few thousand have been passed on to future generations through word of mouth, diaries, letters, records, or written transcripts of interviews. Only 26 audio-recorded interviews of ex-slaves have been found, 23 of which are in the collections of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. In this interview, 101-year-old Fountain Hughes recalls his boyhood as a slave, the Civil War, and life in the United States as an African American ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Pay Off of Spec—the Good Old Times
In the American circus, the spectacle, or “spec,” developed as a procession that took place around the hippodrome track inside the big top, or circus tent, featuring as many of the performers and animals as the circus director was able to costume. Traced back to the earliest circuses in America, the spec was originally a lavish performance of literary or historical tales intended to entertain and edify the audience. The costumes created for specs were often exotic, representing cultures from all corners of the globe. The costumes also could be ...
Contributed by
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Ringling Circus Winter Quarters, Sarasota, Florida
John Ringling (1866–1936), one of the seven Ringling brothers who dominated the development of the American circus in the late 19th and early 20th century, moved the winter quarters of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from its original quarters in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Sarasota, Florida. Ringling’s vision, as recalled by Fred Bradna, equestrian director for the show, in his book The Big Top, was to “lay out the quarters like a zoo, and thousands of visitors will pay to see it. I’ll build an open-air ...
Contributed by
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Brochure for White Star Line’s Two Ships “Olympic” and “Titanic”
This Danish-language brochure, published in Copenhagen in 1911 or 1912, advertises two ships of the British-owned White Star Line, the Olympic and Titanic. Included are facts about the line and its fleet; information about tickets, timetables, and classes of service; and illustrations of the dining rooms, libraries, cabins, and decks. The brochure lists amenities available to second- and third-class passengers and shows the menus for the morning, midday, and evening meals offered on each of the seven days of the voyage across the Atlantic. The publication was aimed at people ...
Contributed by
Royal Library (The), Denmark
Bill of Sale from Henry Walker to William Shakespeare, 1613
This deed of bargain and sale, dated March 10, 1613, records William Shakespeare's purchase of a gatehouse in the Blackfriars district of London, from Henry Walker, citizen and minstrel of London. Shakespeare paid £80 of the £140 selling price up front, and on the day after the conveyance he mortgaged the remaining £60 back to Walker. William Johnson, citizen and vintner of London, and John Jackson and John Heminge, gentlemen, acted as trustees in Shakespeare's interest. They also were in charge of the sale of the property following ...
Contributed by
Folger Shakespeare Library
The First Folio of Shakespeare
Printed in the large “folio” size, the First Folio is the first collected edition of the plays of William Shakespeare. It was put together after his death in 1616 by two fellow actors, John Heminge and Henry Condell, and was published in 1623. The book contains the complete text of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. The principal publishers were Edward Blount (1565–1632), a London bookseller and publisher, and Isaac Jaggard (died 1627), son of William Jaggard (circa 1568–1623), a printer and publisher long associated with Shakespeare, who died ...
Contributed by
Folger Shakespeare Library
Titus Andronicus
This 1594 copy of Titus Andronicus is the only known copy of this quarto in existence, and, along with a version of Henry VI, Part 2 from the same year, is the earliest extant printed Shakespeare play. Quartos printed after about 1598 often display the name William Shakespeare; as this is an earlier quarto, the name of the acting company is shown instead. Quarto editions of the plays, which began to appear in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, were inexpensive and were sold unbound, sometimes in small numbers ...
Contributed by
Folger Shakespeare Library
Trevelyon Miscellany, 1608
Thomas Trevilian, or Trevelyon, a London craftsman of whom little is known, created his miscellany in 1608 when he was about the age of 60. The bulky manuscript of 290 double-sided folios contains texts and images appropriated from books, woodcuts, and engravings of his day. Part one of the manuscript (leaves 3–36) consists of historical and practical information: a time line; an illustrated calendar; moralizing proverbs; a series of computational tables and astronomical diagrams; lists of families linked to William the Conqueror; distances between London and cities around the ...
Contributed by
Folger Shakespeare Library
Final Concord Between William Shakespeare and Hercules Underhill
The final concord between William Shakespeare and Hercules Underhill is the confirming title to Shakespeare's New Place house in Stratford-upon-Avon, signed Michaelmas 1602. Shakespeare originally purchased New Place in May 1597 from William Underhill. Underhill was poisoned two months later by Fulke Underhill, his oldest son and heir, who was hanged for the crime in 1599. When Hercules Underhill, Fulke's younger brother, came of age, Shakespeare protected his title to New Place by paying him to reconfirm the purchase. As was the custom, three copies of the final ...
Contributed by
Folger Shakespeare Library
Inter-American Highway
The Inter-American Highway is the portion of the Pan-American Highway system that runs from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to Panama City, Panama, a total of 5,390 kilometers. The First Pan American Congress of Highways took place in October 1925 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, under the auspices of the Pan American Union. The congress was followed by a program of surveys and further meetings to discuss development of an inter-American highway system. In October 1929, representatives of the Central American countries, Mexico, and the United States met in Panama to establish ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States