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Mapping the Gangs of Chicago

When Prohibition became law across the United States in 1920, legitimate businesses were no longer allowed to serve alcohol, paving the way for illegal speakeasies and related underground businesses. In Chicago, this meant that criminals like Al Capone and Johnny Torrio fought for control of illegal alcohol distribution within the city, sparking an infamous decade […]

The Unmaking of an Island

The dramatic eruption of Krakatoa (or Krakatau in Indonesian) in 1883 was, as our sister blog Headlines and Heroes describes it, “one of the first global catastrophes.” By its very destruction, this small Indonesian island was thrust onto the world stage, its name becoming almost shorthand for volcanic disaster. Geologist Rogier Verbeek, who had briefly […]

Francophone Folly in the Capital City

Last Monday Americans gathered again after a two-year hiatus to celebrate America’s independence from Great Britain. Flags and fireworks flew over our nation’s capital to mark the anniversary of when the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776), which announced the colonies’ separation from Great Britain, and precipitated the American […]

Swampland in Florida

Recently I came across an interesting map of Florida in our collections. Dated 1823, the map was made only four years after the territory of Florida was ceded to the United States by Spain, and 22 years before it became a state in its own right. The map, authored by surveyor Charles Vignoles and engraved […]

Virtual Orientation to the Geography and Map Division

Please join us for the first session in a new series of virtual orientations from the Geography and Map Division! Date: Tuesday, June 14th, 2022 Time: 3:00-4:00 pm (Eastern) Location: Zoom Register for this session here! Reference librarians Amelia Raines and Julie Stoner will present an introduction to the Library of Congress Geography and Map collections. This general […]

What Goes Up Must Come Down: A brief history of New York City’s elevated rail and subway lines

This is a guest post by Sonia Kahn, Library Technician in the Geography and Map Division. On a recent trip to New York City, I frequently found myself in the underbelly of the city, submerged below the hustle and bustle as I was transported up and down Manhattan. I couldn’t help but notice while I was visiting […]

Mapping the Land of Fire and Ice

Early maps of Iceland are compelling, they are often embellished with sea monsters and pictorials. Modern maps of the country are equally interesting because of the unique shape and terrain of the island. Iceland, with its glaciers and volcanoes, is accurately nicknamed the “Land of Fire and Ice.” The maps of Iceland featured in this […]