Haitian Refugee Boat on the Beach at the Naval Station Key West

This image, taken by Key West photographer Cory McDonald in the 1970s, shows one of countless vessels abandoned by “boat people” from Haiti after they completed the perilous journey to the United States. An accompanying note indicates that the boat had had 52 people on it, and that the photograph was taken at sunrise after a nighttime arrival. Since the beginning of the François Duvalier (“Papa Doc”) regime in 1964, political and economic pressures drove many Haitians out of their country and to the United States. The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) reported that between 1972 and 1981 55,000 undocumented boat people arrived in Florida. The actual number may have been almost double that, as many of the arrivals escaped detection. About 85 percent of the boat people settled in Miami.

Illustrations and Explanations of Wonderful Machines

Qi qi tu shuo (Illustrations and explanations of wonderful machines) is the first Chinese translation of a work that introduced Western mechanics and machine engineering to China. It was dictated by Deng Yuhan and recorded and translated by Wang Zheng (1571–1644). Deng Yuhan was the Chinese name of Johann Terrenz (1576-1630), a Jesuit missionary who was born in Konstanz, Germany and came to China in the late Ming era. A talented man with wide-ranging knowledge, Terrenz mastered many languages and was also a renowned physician, botanist, and astronomer. Early on, he worked in the area of Zhejiang Province.  He was then summoned to Beijing to assist Xu Guangqi in the revision of the calendar, but he died on May 13, 1630, before the work was finished. Wang Zheng, a native of Jingyang, Shaanxi Province, converted to Catholicism at the age of 52 and took the name Philippe. Interested in applied technology, Wang saw the 7000-volume collection of Western books brought to China by Jin Nige (Nicolaus Trigault, 1577–1628), among which were books on science and technology with finely printed illustrations, from which he could envision how to construct pieces of equipment. He asked for help from Terrenz, who made use of works by Vitruvius, Simon de Bruges, Georgius Agricola, Agostino Ramelli, and others. While Terrenz went through the books, giving explanations, Wang made notes. Terrenz used more than 50 illustrations, depicting machines for lifting, moving, and shifting heavy weights; machines for diverting water, turning millstones, and cutting wood, stone, and rocks; and such devices as a sundial and a fire engine. The translated texts were issued in three volumes. All the illustrations were annotated, with those relating to irrigation for agriculture being especially detailed. The earliest edition of the book was printed in the first year of the Chongzhen reign (1628) of the last Ming emperor, by Wu Weizhong, an assistant instructor at the Confucian school in Yangzhou. The work’s original title was Yuan Xi qi qi tu shuo lu zui (The best illustrations and descriptions of extraordinary devices of the Far West) and it was printed together with Wang Zheng’s Zhu qi tu shuo (Illustrations of various devices). The title was later shortened to its present form. Errors can be found in the book, for example, to save time the engravers changed the shape of a gear into a simple circle. This is a handwritten copy of the original work in the Wen yuan ge collection. During the time of the Boxer Rebellion, the work was damaged. Only juan 3 remains, with the first page of the first leaf missing.


Taras Shevchenko (1814-61) was a Ukrainian artist and writer who is considered the greatest poet of Ukraine and the founder of modern Ukrainian literature. He was born into a family of serfs in the village of Morinsty in present-day Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire. Orphaned at an early age, he studied painting with local icon painters. He was taught to read and write, and moved with his master to Vilnius and later to St. Petersburg, where he was allowed to study art. With the help of influential men who recognized his talent, he gained his freedom in 1838. He began to write poetry, and in 1840 published Kobzar, his first book of verse. The title refers to the ancient Ukrainian poets who traveled the countryside singing epic poems, often playing a stringed instrument, the kobza. The book achieved a special place in the spiritual heritage of the Ukrainian people, and Shevchenko himself came to be called “Kobzar.” Shown here is the unpretentious first edition of 1840, the rarest of the many editions and printings of Kobzar. An inserted leaf contains a drawing of a kobzar figure by V.I. Sternberg. The collection contains eight poems or ballads: “Dumy, moi Dumy” (Dedication), “Perebendya,” “Kateryna” (Katerina), “Topolya” (The poplar), “Dumka,” “Do Osnovyanenka” (To Osnovyanenko), “Ivan Pidkova,” and “Tarasova Nich” (The night of Taras).

The Town, Luxembourg

This photochrome print of the town of Luxembourg, capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is part of “Cityscape Views of Luxembourg” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). According to Baedeker’s Belgium and Holland including the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg (1905), at around the time this photograph was taken the town had a population of 21,000. “The situation of the town is peculiar and picturesque. . . . The view of the town, with its variety of mountain and valley, gardens and rocks, groups of trees and huge viaducts, is singularly striking. . . . ” The bridge in the photograph is the Passerelle Viaduct, a 44-meter high, 308-meter long vaulted structure that was built in 1859–61 over the Pétrusse River and the Pétrusse valley. Baedeker called it an “imposing viaduct . . . [that] commands a splendid view.”

The Kiev Missal

Dating from the second half of the tenth century, the Kiev Missal is generally held to be the oldest Old Church Slavic manuscript with a coherent text. The manuscript is a seven-folio text in Glagolitic script that contains parts of a Roman-rite missal (Sacramentarium), a book of texts used by a priest during mass. Written in three different hands, it includes a reading from the Epistle to the Romans by the Apostle Paul (Chapter XIII, verses 11-14 and Chapter XIV, verses 1-4), a prayer to the Blessed Virgin from the Annunciation service, and various prayers from the mass. The missal is one of the oldest monuments of the ancient Slavic written language, and is of enormous esthetic and linguistic value to world culture. The manuscript was given to the Kyiv School of Theology in 1872 by Archimandrite Antonin Kapustin, the chief of the Russian Orthodox mission agency in Jerusalem and a former student at the school. Kapustin reportedly found the sheets at the Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai. The cover of the manuscript contains the inscription of Father Antonin: “To the library of the Kyiv School of Theology. Jerusalem. 1872.” Most of the text of the missal is written in black, denoting the texts meant to be pronounced. Passages written in red are instructions to priest regarding the conduct of the mass.

Sunny California

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, agricultural workers fled the Dust Bowl conditions on the Great Plains in search of employment in the American West. Many of these people eventually found their way to the migrant work camps in central California that had been established, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, by the Farm Security Administration (FSA). In this song, Mrs. Mary Sullivan tells how she left Texas, traveled across New Mexico and Arizona in search of work, and after surviving the catastrophic March 1938 Colton, California, flood, found shelter and work at an FSA camp in the San Joaquin Valley. The song was recorded by Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin, both of the City College of New York, who in 1940-41 took recording equipment supplied by the Archive of American Folk Song to California, where they documented the songs, stories, and personal experience narratives of the Dust Bowl refugees who inhabited the camps.

View Showing Oranges Being Harvested in the Groves

This image, taken by Charles “Chuck” Barron, a Tallahassee-based photographer, in the mid-20th century, shows a crop of oranges in a mature orange grove being harvested by hand. Barron worked both as a freelance photographer and as an employee of the state of Florida. Citrus trees and shrubs are native to East Asia, but were introduced into Florida by the Spanish in the late 16th century. By the time the United States acquired Florida in 1821, extensive groves of wild orange trees could be found in various parts of the Florida Territory, some of which were domesticated by American homesteaders. The development of a major citrus industry in Florida dates from the 1870s and 1880s, with the construction of the railroads, which were suitable for transporting perishable products to market. The citrus industry drew workers from around the United States for the yearly harvests. During the Great Depression, destitute workers poured into Florida by the thousands to work in Florida’s fields and orchards.

Hayward, California, Two Children of the Mochida Family who, with Their Parents, Are Awaiting Evacuation

In 1942, Executive Order 9066 ordered the removal of 110,000 civilians of Japanese descent, including 71,000 American citizens, from the western United States for placement in internment camps. The evacuees were suspected, without evidence, of being potential supporters of Japan, with which the United States was then at war. This photograph, taken by noted photographer Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) for the government agency known as the War Relocation Authority, shows one family waiting to be taken away. Lange’s notes on the photograph read: "Members of the Mochida family awaiting evacuation bus. Identification tags were used to aid in keeping a family unit intact during all phases of evacuation. Mochida operated a nursery and five greenhouses on a two-acre site in Eden Township."