October 18, 2018

Today in History: Hoover Dam

Today in History–December 21–the Library of Congress features the Hoover Dam, which got its start when President Calvin Coolidge signed the Boulder Canyon Project Act on this date in 1928. Originally known as the Boulder Dam, this wonder of civil engineering distributes water from the Colorado River for use in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Learn more by reading the Today in History section, then click the links below for related primary sources.The … [Read more...]

Today in History: Sacramento, California

Today in History–November 25–the Library of Congress features Sacramento, California, a boom town during the mid-19th-century gold rush. By 1854 the city had become the state capital. Learn more about the city of Sacramento by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access more primary sources.Pioneer Life in Sacramento from America's LibrarySacramento mapsSacramento imagesIn the Sacramento valley sheet musicFirst-person narratives mentioning … [Read more...]

Learning from the Source: Primary Source Trail of Western Migration

BackgroundThe “Corps of Discovery” expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in the years 1804-1806 was instrumental in opening up western North America to settlement. After this defining exploration, fur companies further investigated  westward routes. Financed by John J. Astor's Pacific Fur Company, an 1812 expedition led by Robert Stuart began on the west coast at Fort Aster on the mouth of the Columbia River and forged eastward. A significant portion of the route … [Read more...]

Presidential Spotlight: Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan first inauguration primary source set January 20, 1981Ronald Reagan second inauguration primary source set January 21, 1985Ronald Reagan mentions in the Foreign Affairs Oral History CollectionGovernor Ronald Reagan 1966 photographRonald Reagan image setRonbo satirical photomontageHerblock painting McCarthy, Nixon, Reagan, and ClintonHerb Block on Ronald Reagan political cartoonsMore Ronald Reagan political cartoons by Herb Block"The Gods are … [Read more...]

Today in History: Missions of Old California

Today in History–January 12–the Library of Congress features the missions of Old California. On this date in 1777, Padre Thomas Peña founded Santa Clara de Asís, the eighth of California's twenty-one missions. The first mission—San Diego de Alcala—was founded in 1769 by Padre Junípero Serra, who also oversaw the founding of the next eight, and the last—San Francisco de Solano—was founded in 1823.  The missions dotted the California coast from San Diego to Sonoma along El Camino Real (the Royal … [Read more...]

Today in History: San Diego, California

Today in History–September 28–the Library of Congress features San Diego, California. On this date in 1542 Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay under the Spanish flag. Learn about the evolution of this southern California city by visiting the Today in History section, then follow the links below to access more primary source treasures.Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego BaySan Diego mapsSan Diego imagesSan Diego song recordingSan … [Read more...]

Today in History: Los Angeles, California

Today in History–September 04–the Library of Congress features El Pueblo de la Reyna de Los Angeles (The Town of the Queen of the Angels) founded on this day in 1781. Located between the San Gabriel Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles remained independent until it was taken in a bloodless effort by U.S. forces during the Mexican American War. Originally focused on agriculture, Los Angeles is now known as a center for tourism and the entertainment industry as well as trade, … [Read more...]

Today in History: Yosemite

Today in History–June 30–the Library of Congress features Yosemite. On this day in 1865 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Valley Grant Act, giving the valley and nearby Mariposa Big Tree Grove to California "upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation." The area became a top tourist destination but towards the end of the century, there was support to return Yosemite to the federal government. In 1890, Yosemite National Park was … [Read more...]

Today in History: Golden Gate Bridge

Today in History–May 27–the Library of Congress features the Golden Gate Bridge, opened on this date in 1937. The orange suspension bridge was the longest at the time, spanning 4,200 feet and connecting San Francisco to the south with Marin County, California to the north. Lead engineer Joseph Baermann Strauss stressed safety during the bridge building, instituting the wearing of hard hats and installing a net underneath the construction that saved 19 lives. Find out more about the … [Read more...]

Today in History: Committee of Vigilance & Vigilantes

Today in History–May 15–the Library of Congress features San Francisco's second Committee of Vigilance organized on this day in 1856 to combat crime in the boomtown. Committee members were overwhelming Republicans and Democrat "crooks" were often the target of the vigilance. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access primary sources related to San Francisco's Vigilance committees and vigilantes from all over.Letter, California vigilante … [Read more...]