1. Who doesn’t love a beautiful book cover? Our latest installment in the Summer of Archives series features stunning 19th and 20th-century book covers designed by the likes of Margaret Armstrong (1867-1944) and Will Bradley (1868–1962), among others. 

    For more amazing historical book covers, visit http://imgur.com/gallery/vbPO6

    Image credits

    1. Cover and binding of “The Day of the Dog" (1904) by George Barr McCutcheon. Designed by Margaret Armstrong (1867-1944). Image courtesy University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Full text available
    2. Cover and binding of “Jersey Street and Jersey Lane: Urban and Suburban Sketches" (1896) by H.C. Bunner. Designed by Margaret Armstrong (1867-1944). Image courtesy University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Full text available.
    3. Cover and binding of “The Story of Ab: A Tale of the Time of the Cave Men" (1897) by Stanley Waterloo. Designed by Will Bradley (1868-1962). Image courtesy University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Full text available.
    4. Cover and binding of “Three Thousand Dollars" (1910) by Anna Katharine Green. Image courtesy University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Full text available.

  2. Hau`oli la ho`omana`o,* Hawaii! Today, August 21, marks the 55th anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood. In 1959, President Eisenhower signed an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union. [source]

    All images courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. They are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license [view]:

    1. [“The Hawaiian Islands”], 1941.
    2. [Atlas of Oblique Maps…section title page, Hawaii and South Pacific], 1988.
    3. [The Dole Map of the Hawaiian Islands], 1937.

    *That’s “Happy Anniversary” in Hawaiian. In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced how-oh-lay la ho-o-ma-na-o. [source]


  3. These short GIFs, taken from a ca. 1927 newsreel, depict Charles Lindbergh taking off from St. Louis en route to Chicago with some 200,000 letters in tow. Lindbergh flew the very same route after completing US Army flight training in 1925; he pulled off his famous transatlantic flight on May 20-21, 1927. The USPS really needs to revive the whole celebrity delivery thing…

    ["Lindy" Flies the Airmail], ca. 1927. Courtesy US National Archives and Records Administration. 


  4. If 106-year-old Mrs. Nelson can be this happy enjoying HER coffee this morning, surely you can make it until 5pm?

    106th birthday…March 22…with Bible in lap and drinking coffee from 65-year old cup, 1952. Courtesy of the University of Southern California. Libraries. 


  5. It’s Thursday…so bears, of course.

    [Bears on Thursday], 1907. New York, New York. Courtesy of The Portal to Texas History. 

    So many bears at DPLA.


  6. The DPLA staff lives and works all over the US, so we thought we would “send” postcards from our individual locales. As you can see, there’s so much to do! Pony rides in Brooklyn, sightseeing in Wilmington, Hagarstown, Portland, and Erie, and fine dining in Boston and Madison.

    Image credits

    All postcards courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth, except where noted.

    Want to send a postcard from your hometown? You might just find one over at DPLA.


  7. Can you help us out and name this actress? Here are your clues:

    (1) The photo was taken of a scene from The Bell Telephone Hour on August 11, 1964. Courtesy of the Billy Rose Theatre Division at The New York Public Library.

    (2) From Wikipedia

    The Bell Telephone Hour (also known as The Telephone Hour) was a long-running concert series that began April 29, 1940, on NBC Radio and was heard on NBC until June 30, 1958. Sponsored by Bell Telephone as the name implies, it showcased the best in classical and Broadway music, reaching eight to nine million listeners each week. It continued on television from 1959 to 1968. Throughout the program’s run on both radio and television, the studio orchestra on the program was conducted by Donald Voorhees.

    Now, let the games begin…

    Love theater? Check out hundreds more photographs of theatrical productions from the Billy Rose Theatre collection from NYPL over at DPLA. 


  8. Apparently it’s international cat day today, and really, how could we resist posting about it? Cats and libraries, cats and archives, cats and reading…they are as natural pairings as peanut butter and jelly, the owl and the pussycat, and Beavis and Butthead. 

    The pictures above are all taken from books (of course!) courtesy of HathiTrust. We’re especially partial to the second image—of a cat book plate glued into the front of a book—about…wait for it….cats!

    Each image is just one of many in the books listed below. Some of the covers are absolutely marvelous, but we’ll let you click through to view them yourselves.

    So, if you’ve got a favorite cat, be sure to give it some extra yummy food today and a nice long nap in your lap, preferably while you are reading a favorite book. Speaking of that, we’ve got lots more books over at DPLA, and they are not just about…cats. 

    Oh, and while you are at it, if you are over at the Twitters, be sure to check out the awesome @historicalcats. For those with allergies, there is also @historicalDogs.

    Image credits

    Dunigan’s tortoise-shell cat, or, The life of Queen Tab and her kitten, 1800s. 

    Bookplate from The book of cats : a chit-chat chronicle of feline facts and fancies, legendary, lyrical, medical, mirthful and miscellaneous, 1868. Ross, Charles H. (Charles Henry), 1842?-1897. Contributed by the University of Michigan. 

    "Cats:" their points and characteristics, with curiosities of cat life, and a chapter on feline ailments, ca.1876. Stables, Gordon, 1840-1910. Contributed by the University of Michigan. 

    Cats and kittens, ca.1906. Werner, Edgar S., d. 1919, comp. Contributed by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. 


  9. Esther Williams was an American competitive swimmer and movie star, who combined both to create some of the most spectacular water-based performances on film.

    When you and your friends were synchronized swimming at the public pool as kids, it was Esther Williams in her amazing costumes, doing dazzling dives that you were emulating (whether you knew it or not).

    And so we celebrate Ms. Williams’s life and influence—if she were alive she would have celebrated her 93rd birthday today. 

    Image Credits

    Esther Williams. undated. Courtesy of the Billy Rose Theatre Division of The New York Public Library. 

    Esther Williams, 1956. Costume design for the Esther Williams Water Show. Courtesy of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University Library. 

    Esther Williams diving scene at Florida Cypress Gardens. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth. 

    Love synchronized swimming? DPLA can help with that. 


  10. 18th-century actresses and costume design.

    All images courtesy of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

    More 18th-century actresses, actors, and their costumes over at DPLA.