September 29, 2009

Digital Holocaust Collection

Today, Footnote, the National Archives and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum announced the release of an Interactive Digital Holocaust Collection. You can read a press release about it here.

Original historical documents from the National Archives include:
  • Concentration camp registers and documents from Dachau, Mauthausen, Auschwitz, and Flossenburg.
  • The "Ardelia Hall Collection" of records relating to the Nazi looting of Jewish possessions, including looted art.
  • Captured German records including deportation and death lists from concentration camps.
  • Nuremberg War Crimes Trial proceedings.
You can get to these collections through this page. Footnote is still working to digitize many of these records, but there are already 500,000 images available.

The collection also includes Footnote Pages created for over 600 people who survived or perished in the Holocaust with stories and photos provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Pages for each of the major concentration camps of the Holocaust. You can add your own stories, photos links, comments and more to these pages or create a page of your own.

Here's an example Page where I transcribed a 7 May 1945 letter written by Private First Class Harold Porter to his parents from the Dachau concentration camp. Porter describes in detail what he saw upon entering the camp.

Dachau gates.jpg

September 25, 2009

Lizzie Borden

Today I came across this Footnote Page about Lizzie Borden by Edward1026 which brought back memories of my college days and a professor I had who was an expert on the case.

I took a few minutes to see what I could find in contemporary newspaper reports and a few minutes was enough to find...

An Aug 13, 1892 San Francisco Chronicle report of the arraignment of Lizzie Borden, "charging her with the homicide and murder" of her father and stepmother, complete with illustrations.
Lizzie Pleads Not Guilty in Court.

Here's a similar report from the Aug 13, 1892 Atlanta Constitution
Lizzie in Jail

Two days later the Constitution took a stand on the case. You don't see statements like, "New England criminal justice is stupid and barbarous," too often in news reports these days.
The Atlanta Constitution Takes Sides on the Lizzie Borden Case

Here are reports of Lizzie Borden's acquittal from the San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and Atlanta Constitution.
Lizzie is Free.

Lizzie Borden Free!

Lizzie Borden Free

Can you find something interesting about Lizzie Borden on Footnote?

September 23, 2009

Life Publishes New Hemingway Photos

In 1952, Life magazine published a novella by Ernest Hemingway and wanted some pictures to accompany it. They sent Alfred Eisenstaedt to Cuba, where Hemingway was living, to get some pictures.

The novella, "The Old Man and the Sea" was one of Hemingway's last works and became one of his best known. The issue of Life that included it sold 5.3 million copies in 2 days and the story was required reading by the time I got to high school.

Most of Eisenstaedt's photos were not used in the magazine, but Life has posted the photos to their website.

Sounds like Hemingway made things tough for Eisenstaedt who "would refered "to the experience of shooting “Papa” Hemingway as his most difficult assignment ever."

September 22, 2009

The Court Marshall of George Armstrong Custer

From mid-September into October of 1867, a General Court Marshall was held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for then Brevet Major-General George Armstrong Custer.

George Armstrong Custer

Custer faced two main charges:
  1. Absence without leave from his command
  2. Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline
Additional charges were brought against Custer for further prejudicing good order and military discipline by giving orders to pursue some supposed deserters and shoot them down without a trial.

You can read the proceedings of the trial starting here.

Here's a page from the testimony of one of the men that Custer instructed to "get on your horse and go after those deserters and shoot them down."

Custer provided a written defense which he said he had "sought to compress ... within the smallest possible compass and if it still seem long, it is because fewer words could no be employed to express what I believe to be a fair and temperate review of the evidence now before you." The written defense rambled for 45 pages.

The Court found Custer guilty on all charges and sentenced him, "to be suspended from rank and command for one year, and forfeit his pay proper for the same time."

In September of 1868, William T Sherman sent this telegraph asking for that Custer be reinstated because of a need for "active young field officers of cavalry":

Other interesting Custer related documents on Footnote include:

September 17, 2009

The US Constitution - 17 September 1787

On this date in 1787, the Constitutional Convention completed its work on the US Constitution and 39 of the 55 delegates who had worked on it signed their names to the completed document.

Page 1; American Milestone Documents
Click the image above to see a high resolution image of this page and use the filmstrip below the image to see the other pages of the constitution, the Bill of Rights and the other amendments.

Signers of the Constitution

The National Archives has a nice page with a painting of the signers, and links to information about them.

For those of you who like to get into the details, on Footnote you can also browse through the Records of the Constitutional Convention to see what it took to create a new government for the United States.