International Day of Human Space Flight
An outer space view of the Colorado River, surrounded by part of Arizona and Utah. The photo was taken from the space shuttle orbiter Columbia during the first space transportation system test mission, 04/12/1981
April 12 is the anniversary of two milestones in space exploration, Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's voyage as the first human into space on 4/12/1961 and the first Space Shuttle mission, by the Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbiaon 4/12/1981 (STS-1). This photograph was taken taken on the first day of the mission.
In recognition of Gagarins’ historic first mission, April 12 is now commemorated as the International Day of Human Space Flight.
Petitioning the “Washington Chiefs”
“During the last two years strangers have looked over our land with spyglasses and made marks upon it, and we know but little of what this means.” — Hopi tribe
A Hopi (Moqui) petition signed by all the Chiefs and headmen of the tribe asking the Federal Government to give them title to their lands instead of individually allotting each tribal member., 03/27/1894 - 04/10/1894
Seeking an answer from the Federal Government, the Hopi tribe in the Arizona Territory petitioned Congress asking that the entire tribe be given land, rather than allotments to individuals as determined by the Dawes Act. The Hopi lived in the arid desert and farmed communally to survive. The allotment process would sell off “excess” lands, reducing the overall acreage the tribe needed to survive. Also, the Hopi were a matrilineal society, meaning they traced ancestry through the mother. They were fearful that the allotment process would eventually cancel out their way of life, and that women would not have control of their own homes. Each pictogram represents a family, and every family in the tribe signed the petition.
The government never formally responded to the petition, and the Hopi’s lands were never allotted. In an annual report from the Indian commissioner, it was recommended that the Hopis be allowed to continue their custom, “it is believed that the best interests of the tribe would be promoted by granting the petition.”
This petition is among the featured items at the “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures" exhibit now on display at the National Archives Museum.
- Colorado River. Grand Canyon, foot of Toroweap, looking up, easterly. The man on the top left side is unidentified. Hillers photo. 1871 - 1878.
NARA ID: 517845
- Grand Canyon. Muav Canyon, Colorado River. The very small figure, a man is down in the canyon, maybe a topographer. Hillers photo. 1871 - 1878.
NARA ID: 518025
These animated gifs were generated from stereograms taken by John Hillers during the Powell Surveys of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon in the 1870s. They are among some of the earliest photographs taken of the Grand Canyon.
"Officers and guests lunch under giant cactus near Fort Thomas, Arizona." February 18, 1886
From the series: Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, 1754 - 1954
It’s bike to work day!
Terry Eiler, photographer. From the EPA’s DOCUMERICA series.(More items from DOCUMERICA are currently on exhibit at the National Archives: “Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project”)
Unfortunately the caption doesn’t tell us much, but we know this smart cyclist remembered his helmet!
Did you bike to work? Tandem? Recumbent? Bikeshare?
PIECE OF BULLDOZED DESERT ON THE EDGE OF TUCSON, ARIZONA. THE SAGUARO CACTUS ARE LEFT STANDING NEAR WHAT WILL BE A HOUSING DEVELOPMENT. THE FATE OF OTHER SAGUAROS IS UNCERTAIN. MANY ARE DYING IN LESS DISTURBED PARTS OF THE DESERT IN THE AREA, 04/1974
The Saguaro National Monument near Tucson, Arizona, was first established 80 years ago in March, 1933, later becoming the Saguaro National Park in 1994. (Given their proximity to a planned development, it’s unlikely this cluster of cacti was included in the National Monument, although the saguaro are protected in Arizona.)
DOCUMERICA Fan? Check out “Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project,” now open at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
(Thanks to the America’s Great Outdoors Tumblr for the tip!)
National Parks 2-for-1 Day!
- Grand Canyon National Park, established by President Wilson on February 26, 1919, following its designation as a National Monument in 1908(View, dark shadows to right, high horizon, “Grand Canyon National Park,” Arizona., 1933 - 1942, Ansel Adams, Photographer.)
- Grand Teton Nation Park, established by President Coolidge on February 26, 1929, and later expanded in 1950
Residence of G. L. Rule Feb. 18, 1898. Have lived here since Sept. 1893. Family stands in foreground; sod building and cabin in background, Arizona Territory
From the Series: Photographs Accompanying Reports to the Secretary of the Interior
Surveying the West
Observed by curious onlookers, several boats of the Wheeler Expedition leave Camp Mojave in the Arizona Territory on September 15, 1871. Between 1871 and 1879 Lieutenant George Wheeler and his team extensively explored and surveyed land west of the 100th meridian.
Photograph of Wheeler Expedition as It Departs Camp Mojave, Arizona Territory, 09/15/1871
The Homestead Act of 1862 turns 150
Families filing homestead claims were required to prove 5 years of residence and make improvements to the land.
- "Turning over first sod on homestead." Sun River Mont. By Lubkin, November 5, 1908
- "Hancock homestead. Settler from Benson, Minn." Little girl feeding chickens against background of house, buckboard wagon, and ridge of plateau, Sun River, Mont. By Lubkin, June 23, 1910
- Residence of G. L. Rule Feb. 18, 1898. Have lived here since Sept. 1893.” Family stands in foreground; sod building and cabin in background, Arizona Territory
See the rest of our series commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act »
Homestead proof for Virgil Walter Earp
Virgil Earp, the brother of more famous Wyatt Earp, followed his family West in the 1860s after his service with the Union Army during the Civil War. He participated in the Gunfight at the OK Corral in Arizona Territory in 1877 and filed this homestead proof at the Prescott, Arizona, Land Office on April 11, 1900.
A Hopi (Moqui) petition signed by all the Chiefs and headmen of the tribe asking the Federal Government to give them title to their lands instead of individually allotting each tribal member. 03/27/1894 - 04/10/1894
The Hopi people of the Moqui Villages in the Arizona Territory sent this petition to “the Washington Chiefs in March, 1894. Signed by representatives of the tribe, with a symbol for every family, the document asked the federal government to give the Hopi title to their lands instead of individually allotting each tribal member a plot, as had been prescribed by the Dawes Act of 1887. The Moqui worried about losing their matriarchal way of life and cooperative management of resources that helped them adapt to their environment. Referring to surveyors, the petition said: “During the last two years, strangers have looked over our land with spy-glasses and made marks upon it.…None of us were asked that it should be measured into separate lots, and given to individuals for this would cause confusion.”
The document is written in the hand of Thomas Keam, who first came west with the military to move the Navajo people from Arizona to New Mexico, but later established a trading post and worked with Hopi and Navajo leaders to maintain peace between them, new settlers, and American authorities.
Only selected pages are shown here; the full petition is available via DocsTeach »
Today marks the 100th anniversary for Arizona’s statehood! Check out our image gallery to see a selection of documents we’ve compiled from Arizona’s path to statehood.
Memorial of the Territory of Arizona praying for Statehood, 3/11/1899, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives