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Type of Item
Map of New Netherland, Virginia, and New England
Joan Vinckeboons (1617–70) was a Dutch cartographer and engraver born into a family of artists of Flemish origin. He was employed by the Dutch West India Company and for more than 30 years produced maps for use by Dutch mercantile and military shipping. He was a business partner of Joan Blaeu, one of the most important map and atlas publishers of the day. Vinckeboons drew a series of 200 manuscript maps that were used in the production of atlases, including Blaeu’s Atlas Maior. This pen-and-ink and watercolor map ...
Thomas Jefferson, Head-and-Shoulders Portrait, Facing Right
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States of America and one of the founding fathers of the republic. With the nation still in the process of solidifying its identity, political figures became a popular subject for contemporary artists, much as kings, aristocracy, and religious figures had been in the past. Portrait painters also hoped to earn money by painting politically important individuals, either from the subject himself or from enthusiasts in his entourage. The French artist Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin (1770-1852) did two engravings of ...
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 ...
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Competition Drawing
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, originally designed as a student project by Maya Lin for her degree at Yale University Architectural School, has become a profound national symbol and a seminal piece of American monumental architecture. Undertaken to heal a nation torn apart by the controversial war, the competition attracted proposals from thousands of veterans and architects. Lin envisioned a black granite wall, in the shape of a V, on which the names of the American military dead and missing would be inscribed. The architect hoped that "these names, seemingly infinite ...
Photograph of Richard M. Nixon and Elvis Presley at the White House
This photograph shows Elvis Presley meeting with President Richard M. Nixon at the White House on December 21, 1970. That morning, Presley personally delivered a hand-written note to the security guard at the northwest gate of the White House, saying that he wanted to meet Nixon to present him with the gift of a World War II-era pistol and ask for credentials as an agent in the national war on drugs. Convinced that Presley was sincere and believing that he could be an asset in the fight against drug use ...
President John F. Kennedy Greets Peace Corps Volunteers, White House, South Lawn
This photograph shows President John F. Kennedy greeting Peace Corps volunteers on the South Lawn of the White House on August 9, 1962. Kennedy first proposed what became the Peace Corps in a speech at the University of Michigan on October 14, 1960, in which he challenged students to give two years of their lives to helping people in countries of the developing world. At the time, Kennedy was a member of the U.S. Senate campaigning for the presidency. Following his election, he signed an executive order establishing the ...
Initially, the Civil War between the North and the South was fought by the North to prevent the secession of the South and preserve the Union. Ending slavery was not a goal. That changed on September 22, 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln issued his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which stated that slaves in those states or parts of states still in rebellion as of January 1, 1863, would be free. One hundred days later Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious areas “are ...
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice, in a Crowd
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place in August 1963 and was the setting for the celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. A. Philip Randolph, a labor leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, proposed a large march on the capital as a way of prodding Congress and the administration of President John F. Kennedy to act on civil rights. Others involved in its planning included King himself, National ...
Map of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware
David H. Burr (1803–75) was a surveyor and cartographer, who served as topographer to the United States Post Office Department in 1832–38 and as geographer to the House of Representatives in 1838–47. Under the direction of the postmaster general, Burr compiled information from postmasters throughout the country about transportation routes—post roads, railroads, and canals—and the location of post offices to produce a large set of state and regional maps. Published in 1839 by the prominent London mapmaking firm of John Arrowsmith, Burr’s The American ...