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Antietam: “The Most Terrible Battle of the Age”

This is a guest post by Manuscript Division reference librarian Lara Szypszak. On September 17, 1862, Union and Confederate forces met just outside the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland. The battle, known by Union forces as the Battle of Antietam (after the nearby creek) and by the Confederates as the Battle of Sharpsburg (after the nearest […]

Indeterminately Independent: The Volatile Autonomy of the Spanish Region of Catalonia

This is a guest post by Sonia Kahn, detailed Reference Librarian in the Geography and Map Division. To those of us here at home and across the American diaspora, September 11th has come to be a solemn day of mourning and remembrance. However in the region of Catalonia, in the northeast of Spain, September 11th commemorates […]

If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Forget Toledo

When Ohio became a state in 1803, breaking off from the Northwest Territory, parts of the border remained ambiguous. Three decades later, this ambiguity led to a conflict between Ohioans and Michiganders which became known as the Toledo War. In the state’s enabling act, the northern boundary of Ohio was defined as “an east and […]

How to Feel Comfortable in Someone Else’s Skin

This post is part of the series Excavating Archaeology, which features selections from, and research on, the Jay I. Kislak Collection of the Archaeology & History of the Early Americas and related collections, housed in the Geography and Map Division and in the Rare Book & Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress. Is […]

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps – An Orientation and New GIS Tools

Please join us for the second session in a new series of virtual orientations for the Geography and Map Division, focusing on our collection of fire insurance maps! Date: Tuesday, August 9th, 2022 Time: 3:00-4:00 pm (Eastern) Location: Zoom Register Here Reference librarians Amelia Raines and Julie Stoner will present an introduction to the fire insurance maps housed […]

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 […]