Hitchhiker with His Dog "Tripper" on U.S. 66, where U.S. 66 Crosses the Colorado River at Topock

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1970 at a time of rising public concern in the United States about pollution and its effects on human health. In 1972-77 the EPA sponsored the Documerica program to photographically document subjects of environmental concern in America. The images were made by approximately 70 well-known photographers contracted by the EPA for the project. Photographers included Denny Lyon, Gene Daniels, Marc St. Gill, Bill Strode, Charles O'Rear, Jack Corn, Tomas Sennett, Yoichi Okamote, and Ken Hayman. This photograph of a hitchhiker in Arizona was taken by O’Rear on Route 66, the celebrated highway established in 1926 that ran from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California. Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985, its function having been taken over by the more modern Interstate Highway System.

Irtysh River, Ferry Crossing at Bol'sherech'e, Russia

This photograph of the Irtysh River at Bol'sherech'e was taken in 1999 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. The Irtysh, one of Siberia's mighty rivers, is in fact a tributary of the still greater Ob' River. The Irtysh originates in the extreme northwest part of China, near the Mongolian Altai Mountains. Over its length of 4,248 kilometers, it passes through Kazakhstan and western Siberia before its confluence with the Ob' at the city of Khanty-Mansiisk. Russian settlements along its route include the cities of Omsk and Tobol'sk, as well as historic towns such as Tara and Bol'sherech'e. Founded in 1627 as a fortified cossack settlement, Bol'sherech'e played a role in defending the southwest Siberian border against raids by steppe tribes. After the founding of the Omsk fortress farther south in 1716, Bol'sherech'e became a trading center by virtue of its location on the Irtysh and on the main Moscow-Siberia road that follows the left bank of the Irtysh. Today Bol'sherech'e has some 15,000 residents. Due to the dedication of local enthusiasts, this small town has the distinction of an animal preserve of national status, the Bol'sherech'e State Zoo.

The Precious Book on Noteworthy Dates

This short work, entitled Kitāb al-yawāqīt fī ma‘rifat al-mawāqīt, and copied by an anonymous scribe in Shawwāl in June-July 1775 (AH 1168), is attributed to Ḥusayn (or Ḥasan) b. Zayd b. ‘Alī al-Jaḥḥāf, who is said to have dedicated it to Abū ‘Alī Manṣūr al-Ḥākim bi Amr-Allāh, the sixth Fāṭimid ruler (died 996). The manuscript lists the 12 months of the year, each on one sheet, in the form of an almanac. The last page is a one-page guide to the interpretation of dreams, reportedly prepared at the behest of Muḥammad b. Ḥawwā, a ruler in Asia Minor (malik al-rūm). A much longer work with a similar title, Kitāb al-yawāqīt fī al-mawāqīt, by Muḥammad b. Ismā‘īl al-Ṣan‘ānī (1688-1768), who lived at the same time this manuscript was copied, is known to exist.

Treatise on the Craft of Weight Measurement

This work is a treatise on the construction and use of the weighing balance (qabān, also qapān). It brings together geometric, mechanical, and arithmetic knowledge needed to construct and utilize measuring devices for weighing heavy and irregularly-shaped objects. The author’s name is unknown, but excerpts from another work by an already-deceased Shaykh ‘Abd al-Majīd al-Shāmulī al-Maḥallī are quoted in the treatise. The last page of the manuscript contains a sheet of verses that describe the basics of using a weighing balance, in a form that is easy to remember. The use of versified mnemonic aids was common in the teaching of various crafts.

Guide to Operations on Irrational Radicals for Neophytes

This mathematical treatise by Muḥammad b. Abi al-Fatḥ Muḥammad b. al-Sharafī Abi al-Rūḥ ‘Īsā b. Aḥmad al-Ṣūfī al-Shāfi‘ī al-Muqrī, was written in 1491-92 (897 AH). It begins with a "General Introduction," followed by two main parts, with a concluding section on the study of cubes and cube roots. Part I, "Operations on Simple Irrational Radicals," is divided into four chapters. Chapter 1 covers simplification of radicals. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 deal respectively with the multiplication, addition and subtraction, and division of radicals. Part II, on "Operations with Compound Radicals," begins with an introduction followed by five chapters. The introduction presents various forms of compound radicals and ends with a useful summary in tabular form. The first four chapters systematically go through basic algebraic operations on compound radicals, while the fifth chapter deals with the question of testing and verifying obtained numerical values for radicals. The concluding section of the treatise has an introduction and four chapters, and deals with operations with cubes and cube roots. Extraction of cube roots, and their multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction, are methodically discussed.

Ivolginsk Buddhist Datsan, Main Temple, Interior, Ivolga, Russia

This photograph of the interior of the main temple at the Ivolginsk Buddhist datsan (monastery) was taken in 2000 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. This primary Buddhist center in the Republic of Buriatiia (Russian Federation) is situated 25 kilometers to the southwest of Ulan-Ude near the Ivolga River. It was founded in 1946 after the destruction or closure of previous Buddhist monastic communities in what appears to have been a cultural gesture by the Soviet regime. The temples, shrines, and other structures of the datsan follow regional Buddhist principles in form and decoration. The most notable example is the main temple, or tsokchen-dugan. Although built in the late 1940s with light-colored engineering brick, the temple displays proportions and ornamentation that adhere to Buddhist traditions. The interior is a symphony of color, from the benches and tables for study of the sacred texts to the main altar, with its representations of the Buddha, as well as a portrait of the Dalai Lama. The painted wooden columns, with representations of the lotus and other symbols, support the upper structure of the temple, which is reserved for the lamas.

Geographical Game of the French Republic

J.N. Mauborgne, a former professor of geography in Paris, created this “geographical game of the French Republic” in honor of the government of the National Convention during the French Revolution. Mauborgne’s game involves traveling around republican France, which was divided into 83 “departments,” the new unit of territorial administration that the Revolution introduced to replace the much larger historical provinces. Each space on the map shows a different department with its departmental capital, or chef-lieu. Players move counter-clockwise about the board from department to department, ending on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, which is draped in the words “liberty” and “equality” and crowned by a Phrygian bonnet dangling on a pike. The game board also features, in the upper left hand corner, an inset map of France’s Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue and numerous Gallic roosters, which the Revolution transformed into a popular national image.

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.

Gulzar Calligraphic Panel

This calligraphic panel executed in black and red on a white ground decorated in gold contains a number of prayers (du'a's) directed to God, the Prophet Muhammad, and his son-in-law 'Ali. The letters of the larger words are executed in nasta'liq script and are filled with decorative motifs, animals, and human figures. This style of script, filled with various motifs, is called gulzar, which literally means 'rose garden' or 'full of flowers.' It usually is applied to the interior of inscriptions executed in nasta'liq, such as this one. The gulzar script was popular in Iran during the late 18th and 19th centuries. This piece, written by the calligrapher Husayn Zarrin Qalam ('Husayn of the Golden Pen') for Husayn Khan Sultan in 1797-98, dates from the early period of Qajar rule in Iran (1785-1925). All around the larger letters composed in the nasta'liq style and filled with motifs are smaller Shi'i prayers executed in a number of different scripts. These include thuluth, naskh, nasta'liq, shikasta, tawqi', and kufi. One inscription is even written in reverse, as if executed with the help of a mirror. The sheer variety of these scripts, along with the larger central gulzar composition, was intended to showcase Husayn Zarrin Qalam's mastery of the major calligraphic scripts.

Gusinoe Ozero (Town), Datsan, Main Temple (1858-70), West Facade, Gusinoe Ozero, Russia

This photograph of the main temple at the Gusinoozersk Buddhist monastery (datsan) was taken in 2000 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Located near Gusinoe Ozero (Goose lake) in the southwestern part of the Republic of Buriatiia (Russian Federation), the Gusinoozersk, or Tamchinskii, datsan was founded in the mid-18th century and in 1809 became the center of Buddhism in eastern Siberia, a position it held until 1930. In 1858 work began on a new main temple to replace the previous wooden temple dating from 1750. In a pattern typical for large Buddhist temples in this area, the main part was built of brick and the upper two stories of wood. The primary entrance (south façade) is contained within a portico with six large masonry columns. Although 1870 usually is given as the date of completion, work continued on the richly decorated interior until the end of the 19th century. As a result of the monastery's closure in the 1930s, the temple was ransacked, and its interior fell into ruin. The temple is now undergoing restoration as part of the revival of the Buddhist cultural and spiritual legacy in Buriatiia.