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The President’s Globe

The “President’s Globe” is big — really big and important. Weighing in at a whopping 750 pounds and sized at an impressive 50 inches in diameter, the globe was specially designed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt for use during World War II. The massive representation of the earth helped the president gauge distances over water […]

Places in Civil War History: The Battle of Dranesville

This is part of a series of posts documenting the cartographic history of maps related to the American Civil War, 1861-1865. The posts will appear on a regular basis. Despite the ongoing ravages of the war, as 1861 drew to a close, many northerners seemed to be optimistic, at the very least, about the safety […]

An Inquiry into the Attack on Pearl Harbor

In the morning hours of December 7, 1941, 76 years ago today, the Japanese Imperial Navy launched a stunning and destructive attack on the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. On that “date which will live in infamy,” as President Franklin D. Roosevelt remarked, hundreds of Japanese planes attacked in waves. Four American battleships were […]

Restricting Soviet Travel in the U.S. During the Cold War

The rise of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union resulted in substantial limitations on where travelers could visit in the opposite nation. When Joseph Stalin, the leader of the USSR, died in 1953, the succeeding Soviet government eased restrictions for Americans wishing to travel there under the auspices of “coexistence.” […]

Places in Civil War History: Aerial Reconnaissance and Map Marketing

This is part of a series of posts documenting the cartographic history of maps related to the American Civil War, 1861-1865. The posts will appear on a regular basis. Aerial reconnaissance was first used in 1861 by the War Department using balloons tethered to the ground. Early balloon observers were civilian employees of the Army, […]