Edgar Allan Poe: January 19, 1809 - October 7, 1849
Edgar A. Poe, From the series: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes
Literary icon Edgar Allan Poe was born 205 years ago on January 19, 1809.
Among the holdings at the National Archives are records from Poe’s military career. Frequently in debt, he joined the Army at age 18 in 1827 during one of his bouts of financial difficulties. His enlistment papers show the master of fiction at work, falsifying his name (“Edgar A. Perry”) and age (22, four years older than his real age at the time). The paper also described him as being 5 feet 8 inches tall, with brown hair, gray eyes, and a fair complexion.
Poe’s military career fared little better than one of his doomed characters. While he managed to get a coveted appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he was eventually court-martialed and dismissed within seven months.
Thirty-six prominent American writers including Eugene O’Neill, Dorothy Parker, and John Steinbeck, sent this telegram to President Franklin Roosevelt in November 1938, less than a week after Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” during which synagogues, homes, and Jewish-owned businesses across Germany were plundered and destroyed by the Nazis. They expressed outrage and asked the president to sever trade relations and declare an embargo on all “Nazi German goods.” Their telegram was just one of hundreds of telegrams and letters sent to U.S. government officials at the time expressing similar feelings of anger and dismay.
Telegram from 36 American Writers to President Roosevelt, 11/16/1938
Banned Books Week is coming to a close, but we still have a few documents to share with you. In 1984, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was classified as “forbidden” in a Waukegan, Illinois, school district for its language.Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel was the second-best selling book of the 19th century, right behind the Bible. It was a controversial book as soon as it was published—and it continues to be debated and criticized for its language, portrayal of slavery, and stereotypes of slaves.Shortly after Harriet Beecher Stowe published “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” F.W. Thomas, the editor of a German newspaper in Philadelphia, began translating the work and publishing it in installments—without paying royalties. Stowe and her husband sued in the Federal court in Philadelphia, and Mrs. Stowe submitted a deposition describing her authorship.Image: Page one of the deposition of Harriet Beecher Stowe, 01/03/1853. National Archives Identifier: 278936. Read the full deposition here: http://go.usa.gov/DwRh
"Ernest Hemingway Wedding Photograph September 3, 1921, 09/03/1921"
From the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
Archival note: Photograph of Ernest Hemingway when he married Hadley. Included in photo are Carol, Marcelline, Hadley, Ernest, Grace, Les, and C. E. Hemingway.
Did you know Kurt Vonnegut offered to volunteer on JFK’s presidential campaign? In this 1960 letter from Vonnegut to JFK, the author modestly states, “On occasion, I write pretty well.” 8/4/60.
-from the JFK Library
Ernest Hemingway in Havana Harbor after catching a marlin. Included in the picture are Carlos Gutiericz, Ernest Hemingway, and Sidney Franklin. Others are unidentified. July, 1934
From the Ernest Hemingway Collection of the John F. Kennedy Library
Author Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea was awarded the Pulitizer Prize for Fiction 60 years ago on May 4, 1953.
Photograph of Julian Hawthorne Affixed to Bertillon Measurement Card
From the Inmate Case file of Julian Hawthorne, Inmate No. 4435
Dated March 26, 1913, this is the Bertillon Measurement Card for Julian Hawthorne, son of American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne. Also an author and journalist himself, Hawthorne was sentenced to 1 year in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for his involvement in a stock fraud scheme. Hawthorne maintained his innocence and later wrote about his experience in prison in his work The Subterranean Brotherhood.
A system of physical identification pre-dating the use of fingerprints, Bertillon Measurements used anthropometrics, such as the length and width of the head and the degree of forehead slope to create an individual’s unique profile.
Today in 1902, John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California. His novel, The Grapes of Wrath, includes a dedication “to Tom who lived it.” But this does not refer to Tom Joad, the archetypal protagonist, but to Thomas E. Collins—a nonfictional “character” whom the fictional Joad family would have known well.
Collins managed the Resettlement Administration’s Arvin/Weedpatch federal “Migratory Labor Camp” for migrant agricultural laborers in Kern County in southern California. “Weedpatch camp” appears in The Grapes of Wrath in chapters 22, 24, and 26.
The records of Collins and Steinbeck’s relationship—and what they saw in the migrant worker camps—can be found in the records of the National Archives in San Francisco.
For the full story, read the online article in Prologue magazine: Archival Vintages for The Grapes of Wrath
via US National Archives on Facebook
If you love Laura Ingalls Wilder, don’t miss September 3 at the Hoover Library!
If you are a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder, don’t miss our special events at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum on September 3.
Sarah Uthoff will be performing her Laura Ingalls Wilder program on Monday, September 3, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Be transported back in time to 1931, when Laura Ingalls Wilder is trying to decide whether it’s worth reworking her first book to submit to the publishers one last time.There will also be a guided Prairie Walk of the 81-acre tallgrass prairie at the Hoover National Historic Site at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
There is no charge for either of these events. Regular admission fees will be charged to go through the museum. For more information call 310-643-5301 or visit the website.
Did you know that Hoover Library has the papers of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter Rose Wilder Lane? She wrote a biography of Herbert Hoover. Read more here: http://www.ecommcode2.com/hoover/research/wilder/index.html
Happy Birthday to writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who was born on July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts. This census record from 1850 shows Thoreau (line 33) living with his family in Concord. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 44 in 1862. Which do you think it is Thoreau’s most important work: his essay “Civil Disobedience” or his book “Walden Pond”?
This puzzling sketch from the Ernest Hemingway collection (from our colleagues at the John F. Kennedy Library) seems a fitting post for today, the anniversary of the enigmatic author’s death (July 2, 1961):
Hemingway fans – can you help our archivists solve this puzzle? The documents pictured are from the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. We think it depicts a scene that took place shortly after Hemingway’s time as an American Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy in June and July of 1918. Any help is appreciated!
A copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, with Ernest Hemingway’s signature. From the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library.
An archival note states the pages of the book are not cut - implying Hemingway might never have read this copy.
But before we get too judgmental, have you ever read Ulysses?
We were saddened to hear of the death of writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak (June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012). Sendak was born to Jewish immigrant parents. His father, Philip Sendak’s citizenship papers can be found at the National Archives at New York.
Shortly after Harriet Beecher Stowe published “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” or “Life Among the Lowly,” F.W. Thomas, the editor of a German newspaper in Philadelphia, began translating the work and publishing it in installments - without paying the requisite royalties. Stowe and her husband sued in the Federal court in Philadelphia, and Mrs. Stowe submitted a deposition describing her authorship, filed on March 11, 1853.