Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Anniversary of John F. Kennedy's Assassination

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"- John F. Kennedy

What was his presidency like?
John F. Kennedy served as the 35th president of the United States, from 1961 to late 1963. Kennedy was selected as the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in 1960. His presidential campaign against Richard Nixon was broadcast over television. Kennedy won by a very small margin. The White House website explains that Kennedy "wished America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights."He wanted to extend equality and civil rights.

The Cold War?
In 1961, during the height of the Cold War, Kennedy provided equipment and the training of anti-communist supporters to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba; known as the "Bay of Pigs" invasion. The revolt was a failure. East Germany built the Berlin Wall in 1963. The National Park Service states that in 1962, aerial photographs displayed Soviet missiles in Cuba. In response to the nuclear weapons, Kennedy quarantined shipments of weapons to Cuba. Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union improved when the missiles were taken out of Cuba and the test ban treaty of 1963 prevented the spread of nuclear weapons.

Kennedy's crusade for civil rights?
Kennedy was involved in the Alliance Progress and the Peace Corps, which sought to extend American idealism to developing countries. During his presidency, he worked to raise minimum wages, provide higher education, and much more. The National Park Service points out that Kennedy established the Equal Employment Opportunity to prevent discrimination in the federal workforce along with renewing the Civil Rights Commission. He worked hard to provide equality for all individuals in the nation.

Kennedy's assassination?
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy decided to visit Texas to unite the Democrats for his upcoming Presidential election. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum explains that Kennedy was shot in the neck and head as his convertible was passing the Texas School Book Depository. He was rushed to the Parkland Memorial Hospital where he later died. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office after the assassination. Police arrested Lee Harvard Oswald for the murder of Kennedy. However, Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby as he was being transferred to jail. On November 25, 1965, Kennedy was laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery. On November 29, 1963, Johnson established the Warren Commission to evaluate the assassination of Kennedy and Oswald.

More information?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation provides an account of the investigation from a former agent. In addition, the History Channel provides episodes of "JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald."

Have you ever been to the spot where Kennedy was killed? If so, what was your experience like?

-Emily Hancz

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Gettysburg Address

"Four score and seven years ago..."

President Abraham Lincoln began his speech with this famous phrase on November 19, 1863 when he was commemorating the Union soldiers who had died in the Battle of Gettysburg.

What was the Gettysburg Battle?

The North and the South pitted themselves against each other in the Civil War. The North called for the abolition of slaves, but the South was dependent on slaves for their economy and livelihood. This led to tension and divided the United States.

The Gettysburg Battle was a major turning point in the Civil War. The Battle occurred July 1 - 3, 1863. The Army of Northern Virginia defeated the Army of Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville from April 30 - May 6, 1863. General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army was feeling confident and decided to invade the North again. Three days before the Battle of Gettysburg, Major General Joseph Hooker of the Union Army was replaced by Major General Gordon Meade. The two armies met at Gettysburg and fighting ensued; it was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. The America's Library website states that "more than 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured." In addition, the Gettysburg Pennsylvania website provides a detailed account of the battle along with the movements of the armies, the individual days of battle, and the retreat path of the Confederate Army. For more information, see the collections about the Civil War at the National Archives and images of the Civil War at the Library of Congress.

What was the Gettysburg Address and how did it come to be?

 The National Park Service site describes that the Gettysburg Battle brought destruction to the whole town: "every farm field and garden was a graveyard." Residents of Gettysburg were worried about the poor conditions of the graves since most of them were makeshift. They asked Governor Andrew Curtin to allow the state of Pennsylvania to buy some acres of the battlefield as a resting place for the deceased Union soldiers. The soldiers were moved to this new location. The Gettysburg Address was a dedication to the cemetery and the soldiers that sacrificed their lives in the name of equality. The Our Documents website provides a transcription of the Gettysburg Address. In addition, the Library of Congress has an exhibition dedicated to the Gettysburg Address and President Abraham Lincoln.

The National Park Service announces that the Gettysburg Battlefield Association was established in 1864 to preserve the battlefield as a memorial to the Union Army. In 1895, Gettysburg became a National Military Park. The National Park Service also provides information about Lincoln's home, a national historic site.

The Library has a copy of the 130 volume set the War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, published by the War Department.

Also find many publications related to the Gettysburg address by searching the Library’s catalog.

What are your thoughts on the Gettysburg Battle and Address?

- by Emily Hancz

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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Veterans Day

November 11th, 2017 celebrates the 99th commemoration of Veterans Day, a time to thank veterans for their service and sacrifice.

What is the History Behind Veterans Day?

Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day. During World War One, fighting stopped on November 11th, 1918, until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs stated that the armistice between the Allied Nations and Germany was known as "the war to end all wars." Armistice Day celebrated those who served in the war. However, there was a push to change the name later on. With World War Two and the Korean War, many wanted to be recognized for their service and commitment. On June 1, 1954, Armistice Day was officially changed to Veterans Day to celebrate all who fought for the United States. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holiday bill that allowed federal employees to have a three day weekend on Veterans Day. In 1971, the bill changed the date of Veterans Day to October 25th. Many people did not like this change because November 11th held significant importance to the history of the United States. Therefore, President Ford changed the date back to November 11th on September 20, 1975. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs states that Veterans Day is "a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good."

What is the Tomb of the Unknown?

 The United States honors veterans with a memorial ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown in the Arlington Cemetery. The cemetery came to be when a fallen soldier during World War One was returned to Washington D.C. Two days later, on Armistice Day, the soldier was buried with the highest honors. The History Channel declares that the tombstone of the soldier read "Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier known but to God." This sacred cemetery is the resting place for all unidentified veterans.

What Else?

The National Park Service provides Vets on the River Program. It allows veterans to recover through canoeing, kayaking, camping, and fishing trips. This program enables them to meet other veterans and connect to nature. On Veterans Day weekend, there is free admission to the Parks to help celebrate and remember our veterans.

The National Archives provide additional resources, including articles, blogs, exhibits, events, educational resources, videos and photos.

The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs provides a list of the 2017 discounts, deals, sales, and free meals that veterans can receive.

Do you know anyone that has served or is serving?

- by Emily Hancz

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Monday, November 06, 2017


Ready, set, hut!

Football is a force to be reckoned within American society. It is a popular sporting event that people rally around. On the weekends, individuals show support for their favorite teams. This past weekend we showed school spirit by attending the OSU vs. OU game.

How did football get started?

American football has roots in English rugby and soccer. In the 11th and 12th century, a game of tackle was played with a blown up cow bladder. The violent game caused injuries and several English kings banned the sport. The game was later resurrected in the 1800s. At this time, football closely resembled our American soccer. The United States Department of State's: American English website explains that the game was further changed in 1823 when a student from Rugby decided to pick up the ball and run to make a goal. This created the game of rugby.

The first intercollegiate game was between Princeton and Rutgers University in 1869. In 1876 the Intercollegiate Football Association was established to provide standardized rules for the game. The game was very violent, however, and resulted in many injuries and occasional deaths. There was not any protective gear or equipment for the players. As a result, some colleges banned the sport. Theodore Roosevelt wanted the game to remain so he made colleges regulate football starting in 1910. From this regulation, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was formed. The NCAA still regulates football today.

Overall, football has evolved over time and endured many changes. The Institute of Educational Sciences provides an in depth history of the evolution of football.

Concussions and consequences?

Football has violent roots that led to deaths in the past. In the early forms of the game, no helmet was provided, only a decorative cap. This lead to many head related injuries. The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that leather helmets were transformed into plastics helmets in 1939. Helmets provide protection from concussions but it does not eradicate the injury. Many concussion issues still occur today.

In addition to sports safety information at the National Institutes of Health, you can find useful articles related to football and sports using the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus, the world’s largest medical library. MedlinePlus has information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues. The OSU Library has a link to MEDLINE in its database listing. Use MEDLINE to find scholarly articles related to medicine and health.

Football Fun Facts and Tips

Football has no bounds; it dominates every aspect of life. Check out NASA to see Five Things Football and Space Have in Common and Space and Football Facts.

For game day food safety tips for at home or on the go, check out

Who do you think will win the Heismann Trophy this year?

- Emily Hancz

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Thursday, November 02, 2017

Native American Heritage Month

The first settlers of the United States are recognized and appreciated throughout November's Native American Heritage Month.

What is Native American Heritage Month?
Native American Heritage Month is a celebration of Indian culture and history. It is a way to recognize all the sacrifices that they made for the betterment of America. The Native American Heritage Month website provides a large collection pertaining to Native Americans. They have a list of resources, collections, legislative documents, exhibitions, art, and much more. They also provide a list of events, such as lectures, book talks, films, performances, and activities for kids and families.

How did Native American Heritage Month originate?
Indian affairs have been a consistent theme in U.S. history. In 1775, Benjamin Franklin was the head of Indian affairs in the Continental Congress. Even though affairs were managed, there was no recognition of the Native Americans. Throughout history, they have worked to be appreciated for the contributions they made to America.

Dr. Arthur Caswell Parker was the first individual to get state governments to celebrate the history and culture of peoples indigenous to the United States. Dr. Parker was a Seneca Indian who worked in the U.S. Department of the Interior. He traveled to New York and convinced the Boy Scouts to celebrate the "First Americans."

Another influential member was Reverend Red Fox James. James traveled to Washington D.C. to petition for a day that celebrated Native Americans. The year after that, he traveled the states to help gain support. After he found enough endorsers to support his cause, he went back to the White House. In 1924, the Indians' voices were heard. America's Library states that Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act. However, Native Americans continued to advocate for an allotted time that they could be honored. President Bush made 1992 the "Year of the American Indian" because it was the 500th anniversary since Christopher Columbus landed. Now Native Americans experience their recognition in the month of November.

The Library of Congress provides the Legislative and Executive documents that were made throughout history. These are a list of all the laws and proclamations made in relation to the Native Americans.

What Now?
The Bureau of Indian Affairs maintains the relationship between the U.S. government and the tribes. Their goal is to "enhance quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives." They work to provide tribes with justice and assist the federally recognized tribes.

If you want to learn more about Native American culture, visit the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the National Park Service, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Friday, October 27, 2017


Trick or treat!

On October 31st, children of all ages will go door to door asking for candy with this iconic phrase. Halloween is a celebrated tradition where tricks are played, ghost stories are told, and costumes are worn. But where did these traditions come from?

Halloween was rooted in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts believed that on October 31st the realm between the living and the dead allowed for easier passage for spirits to return to Earth. The National Endowment for the Humanities web page explains that this time was the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter months. The death of the crops correlates to the deaths of the loved ones that are returning around this time. The conquest of Celt lands by the Romans led to the spread of Christianity, and the church changed the festival to celebrate saints and martyrs. The festival was named All-Hallows eve and it later became known as Halloween.

What are some safety precautions that everyone should take during Halloween?

Dressing up in costumes originated with the Celtic people because they were afraid to encounter the spirits. In response, they wore masks and costumes to trick the spirits into thinking that they were a part of the supernatural world. Now, dressing up has become apart of the Halloween culture. However, there are some safety guidelines for costumes and trick or treating that everyone should know. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration shares advice for costume safety, eye safety, and making sure candy is safe to eat. It is important to wear bright costumes or ones with reflectors so that you are visible in the night. In addition, it is also recommended that you wear flame resistant fabrics and costumes. For eye safety, it is important to never wear colored contact lenses without first talking to your eye doctor. The decorative contact lenses can cause serious eye disorders, infections, and even permanent vision loss. Many children will receive large bags filled with candy on Halloween. It is important to not eat the candy until it has been inspected at home. The candy should not be consumed if it is not commercially wrapped, looks as if it has been tampered with, and might be a choking hazed for the child. By following these guidelines, you'll have a fun, safe Halloween.

Halloween around the world?

In Mexico, el Día de Muertos is similar to Halloween. It is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. The National Endowment for the Humanities web page describes that the Day of the Dead is a blend of European traditions that were created by the combining of Spanish and indigenous cultures. November 1st is All Saints Day, when the lives of children who died early are celebrated. Church bells ring across towns to call the deceased children back to the homes of their loved ones. On November 2nd, All Souls Day welcomes the deceased adults home. It is significant for families to decorate the altars of their loved ones and hold feasts in cemeteries. These festivals allow many people to come to terms with losing a loved one.

What else is going on?

The Library of Congress has a large collection of Halloween materials that display the traditions associated with the holiday. There are book collections, photographs, sheet music, audio recordings, films, and folk tales. The Library of Congress is also holding a Chamber of Mystery Exhibition that shows some rarely seen collection items that pertain to Halloween. Visitors are encouraged to dress up and wear costumes.

Check out the OSU Library's catalog and Education and Teaching Library collection for more resources on Halloween.

What are your plans for Halloween?!

-by Emily Hancz

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Federalist Papers

On October 27th, 1787, the first Federalist Paper was published in the New York Independent Journal.

What are the Federalist Papers?

The Federalist Papers were a compilation of 85 essays written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. The Federalists were a political party that encouraged a strong central government. James Madison was claimed to be the father of the Constitution and he later became the fourth president of the United States. Alexander Hamilton was the Secretary of Treasury for the Federalist party. The diplomacy website explains that John Jay was appointed to be the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (Secretary of State) in 1784. He was later appointed as the first Chief Justice in the Supreme Court.  These essays promoted New York state to ratify the Constitution. Madison, Hamilton, and Jay wrote the essays under "Publius" and published them in The New York Packet and The Independent Journal. Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents from the National Archives states that the Federalist Papers outlined the details of the Constitution and displayed the original intent. The Library of Congress has a collection of bills, laws, journals and debates, that include documents from the Continental Congress, George Washington Papers, James Madison Papers, Thomas Jefferson Papers, and a list of some exhibitions. Congress's website offers the 85 Federalist Papers that can be read in detail.

How did the Federalist Papers come to be?

The Articles of Confederation contributed to the creation of the Federalist Papers. On November 15, 1777 the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, but it was not ratified until March 1, 1781. The Articles of Confederation was the first constitution of the United States. Under the Articles there was a loose confederation of states. The central government had very limited powers, for most of the power belonged to the states. Power belonged to the states because many thought that a strong national government would result in another monarchy. To prevent this, power was given to the states so that the authority was not centralized. However, the Articles of Confederation had many weaknesses that lead to the need to develop the Constitution. The Library of Congress has a timeline of the events that lead to the development of the Constitution.

What were some of the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation?

The Government Publishing Office points out three main weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. The first weakness was that Congress lacked the authority to tax. Taxes were needed to help build up the treasury and provide money for any government projects. However, since the federal government could not levy taxes, it had to ask the states for money. Many of the states did not contribute money. The second weakness related to legislative concerns. In order for amendments to be ratified all 13 states had to agree, and nine states needed to approve to pass any other important legislature. The ratification by all states made it very difficult for any legislature to be passed. The third weakness demonstrated Congress' lack of power to regulate foreign affairs and interstate commerce. There were many disputes between states concerning certain interests in rivers or bays for trading purposes. The Office of the Historian depicts the problems concerning foreign affairs. Since all states had to agree to pass legislation, it was very difficult to conduct foreign policy and enforce laws. The 1783 Treaty of Paris highlighted this weakness. The Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War. Under its terms, Americans were supposed to pay back all debts owed to British subjects, and former British loyalists could bring suits to court to recover their confiscated property. Many Americans were unhappy with these terms and states did not follow through with their enforcement. In response, the British soldiers refused to leave the forts in the U.S. territory. Furthermore, British traders flooded the market and brought British goods with them. This hurt American importers and manufacturers, but Congress could not regulate the trade. The limitations the Articles placed on Congress hurt the well being and prosperity of the United States. In response to these problems, the Constitutional Convention was formed.

What is the Constitutional Convention?

The Office of the Historian explains the Constitutional Convention. When the weaknesses of the Articles became obvious, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Wilson moved to strengthen the federal government. The Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia in 1787. The delegates created a government that relied on checks and balances and the separation of powers. The Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches were created. Each branch had a different role, but they would be checked to ensure that power was not being abused. The Constitution changed the ratification process. Instead of having every state agree, 2/3 approval would lead to ratification. The last weakness of the Articles of Confederation was solved when the Department of State was created in 1789 to help deal with foreign affairs. The Constitution has remained the framework for the government of the United States.

Overall, the Articles of Confederation lead Federalists to write the Federalist Papers to promote the ratification of the Constitution. The Government Publishing Office states that the Federalist Papers are a source of the original ideas of the Constitution.

What are your thoughts on the Articles of Confederation and their contribution to the Federalist Papers and the Constitution?

- by Emily Hancz

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