Skip to Content
  • Language
  • End User
  • Educational Use
  • Time Required
(29)
(103)
(117)
(92)
(126)
(3)
(55)
(46)
(14)
(63)
(32)
(20)

Found 132 Collections

 

African Americans, President Woodrow Wilson, and the First World War (1914-1918)

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked the United States Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. The United States could no longer sustain anti-war policies and rhetoric, diplomatic neutrality, and an isolationist outlook as it had since 1914. A combination of elements such as unrestricted German submarine warfare, rumored invasions, horrific new tactics of fighting, and technologies of war contributed to Wilson’s request. Congress granted President Wilson’s request, and on April 6, 1917, the United States officially entered the Great War*.  Wilson claimed that the world would “be made safe for democracy.”

As the United States was preparing to protect freedom and equality internationally, African Americans were struggling against racism in the forms of economic oppression, violence, and legal as well as social inequality.  Though citizenship and male suffrage had been endowed to African Americans by the Fourteenth (1868) and Fifteenth (1870) Amendments, many African Americans found it dangerous, if not deadly, to practice the fruits of American democracy to which they were entitled. Despite the magnitude and horrors of war, the African American community believed that fighting in the Great War, demonstrating their patriotism, loyalty, and bravery would show white Americans they deserved equality and civil rights.

This Learning Lab explores the interwoven legacy of President Woodrow Wilson and African Americans before, during, and immediately after the Great War (1914-1918). 

*The Great War, the First World War, and World War I will be used interchangeably to name the war.

Keywords: NMAAHC, NMAAHC Education, African American, World War One, Great War, First World War, soldier, war, Woodrow Wilson, president, Jim Crow, primary sources, stories

National Museum of African American History and Culture
51
 

The Unangax̂ (Aleut) People and Their Culture

By Alice Petrivelli (Unangax̂), 2009

(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.) 

Sea, Land, Rivers

More than three hundred Aleutian Islands clustered in groups stretch westward across the Pacific from the tip of the Alaska Peninsula. In summertime they are just gorgeous. The mountains are snow-capped, with green grass and tundra plants spreading up their sides. Even out on the water you can smell the flowers. In fall the vegetation turns shades of red and brown, and in winter there is a clear, blue, endless sky between periods of storm. The islands have no trees, but driftwood from around the whole North Pacific washes up on our beaches. People of the Aleutians call themselves Unangax̂, meaning “sea-sider.” We are also called Aleuts – a name first used by Russian fur traders in the eighteenth century.  

To our south is the Pacific Ocean, to our north the Bering Sea. Everything our ancestors did was connected to the marine world around us. They built beautiful kayaks with split bow tips to cut swiftly through the waves. Their clothing was made of sea mammal hides and intestines and the feathered skins of ocean birds. The sea provided nearly all of our ancestors’ food – seals, sea lions, ducks, salmon, all kinds of fish and shellfish—and that’s still true today. From the time we’re little we’re taught to respect the water and to keep it clean, because that’s where our living comes from.

I was born in 1929 on the far western island of Atka and grew up speaking the Niiĝux̂ dialect of Unangam Tunuu (the Unangax̂ language). Until 1942 we used to go camping all summer. With the first warm days of spring we would travel by boat to Amlia Island, where we planted potatoes and other vegetables. Gardening was impossible on Atka, because rats had invaded from a shipwreck sometime in the past. We fished for cod and halibut, and later in the summer we’d fish for red, pink and dog salmon. We preserved fish by salting, drying, and smoking. We lived mostly on subsistence resources, because the supply ship came to Atka only twice a year, bringing in the staples we needed: butter, flour and sugar. Growing up I learned to fillet fish, hunt birds, harvest grass for weaving baskets, and gather roots, plants, and shellfish.

Community and Family

We have always had strong leaders in our communities. Traditionally a chief would inherit his position, but for his authority to be recognized he had to excel as a hunter and be spiritual, generous, fair and kind in his dealings with the people. The shamans, or medicine men, took care of the people’s medical needs. They possessed detailed knowledge of the human body and had names for every part of it, both inside and out. There were no elections until the U.S. government started them in the 1930s.

Russian fur traders came to the islands in the mid-eighteenth century following Vitus Bering’s discovery that sea otters were abundant there. The Russians set up a colony that lasted until 1867, and they were cruel, especially in the early years. They enslaved the people, forcing the men to hunt and the women to serve the traders. The population declined as a result of this mistreatment and disease until the majority of our people and over two-thirds of the original villages were lost. The Orthodox Church urged the Russian government to treat the people more kindly, and the situation improved. The Russians built schools to educate the Aleuts, and when the United States came in they reeducated us in the American way.

In December 1941, I was a twelve-year-old school girl when our teacher told us that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. In April we learned that an invasion of the Aleutian Islands was feared and that the United States wanted to get us out of the way of the war. Only a few weeks later the Japanese bombed Dutch Harbor and invaded Attu and Kiska islands, at the west end of the chain. In June a U.S. Navy ship came to Atka to evacuate everyone. Before leaving, the navy burned our village to the ground, even the church. It was devastating to the whole community. No one was allowed to get anything from the houses before they were destroyed, and we left with only the clothes on our backs. No one told us our destination.

All of the Unangax̂ refugees were taken to internment camps in southeast Alaska. My family was at Killisnoo until 1945. It was very poorly set up, and we had little food and no medicine or appropriate housing. In that two and a half-year period we lost almost all of our elders and newborns, a total of seventeen deaths out of eighty-five who had left Atka together. We almost lost our culture entirely because of that, and the way I grew up no longer exists.

Before the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 everyone had summer camps. When we got food, we shared it, and you could use another person’s camp as long as you kept it clean and replenished what you used. Land claims introduced the word "mine," as in, “That’s mine. You can’t use it.” After that, people didn’t share as much and started expecting to be paid to do things instead of just helping, as in building a house. And the Native corporation leaders didn’t want to involve elders in the new enterprises, thinking they were too old and not ready to do things in the Western way.

Those were the negative effects of land claims, but things have improved over the years, and ANCSA has brought us many benefits. I first went to work for the Aleut Corporation as a receptionist in 1972 and was eventually employed in each of the departments. I wrote up land selections, helped with the accounting, and ended up getting elected to the board in 1976. I served until 2008, including a long term as president. It was a challenging and terrifying ride, because we were a “have not” corporation with no forests, oil or minerals on our lands to generate profits. Yet we needed to do the best we could to support our communities and shareholders. Your heart really has to be in it, because it takes a lot of personal sacrifice.

Ceremony and Celebration

Father Yakov Netsvetov (later Saint Yakov), whose mother came from our island, was the first resident priest. He consecrated the church on Atka in 1830, and ever since then Russian Orthodoxy has been a foundation of community life. Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter and other feast days mark our calendar of worship and celebration. Starring and masking – still practiced in some villages during the midwinter holidays – are similar to rituals carried out before the Russians came.

The original Unangax̂ festivals were held in the fall and winter, when people celebrated successful hunting and food gathering and asked for the animals to return. Those ceremonies survived Russian rule but were banned after the United States took over in 1867. In the decades that followed, the Aleuts adopted new music and dances for fun and entertainment, such as polkas, two-steps and waltzes. Since 1992, groups of young people have formed to restore and perform some of the original Unangax̂ dances.

Tags: Unangax̂, Aleut, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
20
 

The Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) People and Their Culture

The Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) People and Their Culture

By Gordon L. Pullar (Sugpiaq), 2009

(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)

Sea, Land, Rivers

The Sugpiaq homeland is large, spanning Prince William Sound, the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island, and the Alaska Peninsula. Our climate is wet and stormy but mild. Massive glaciers flow from the high coastal mountains, but the sea remains unfrozen. Spruce forests cover the eastern areas but dwindle in the west, so that much of Kodiak Island and the Alaska Peninsula are treeless, windswept tundra. Along our coasts you can fish for salmon, halibut and crabs, hunt seals or sea lions, and walk the shore at low tide to collect shellfish and seaweed. Depending on the season you might search out an octopus under beach rocks, gather eggs on a seabird island, pick berries or go hunting in the hills for bears, caribou or deer.

Traditional Sugpiaq hunting depended on the qayaq (kayak) and angyaq (large open boat), both covered with seal or sea lion skins. Ancestral equipment included throwing boards, harpoons and arrows. Many communities today depend on commercial fishing for cash income, but in recent years that industry has faltered. Part of the problem today is the high cost of fuel for boats and home heating. An increasing number of people can no longer afford to stay in the villages and are migrating to cities such as Kodiak and Anchorage.

When the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in 1989 people were deeply shocked and depressed. Eleven million gallons of oil poured into Prince William Sound and then drifted west on the wind and currents, polluting fifteen hundred miles of shoreline. The huge spill coincided roughly with the geographic boundaries of the Sugpiaq culture area. Most sea life eventually recovered, but the communities that relied most heavily on fishing and coastal subsistence were disrupted for years and suffered deep economic losses. Today oil can still be found on the beaches, lying just below the rocks and sand. Its pollution still leaches slowly into the sea.

Community and Family

History has proven the Sugpiaq people to be highly resilient, despite the traumatic events of conquest and oppression. Russian traders in search of sea otter furs first conquered and then enslaved the Native population of southern Alaska. In 1784 a force led by Grigorii Shelikhov used guns and cannons to slaughter hundreds of Sugpiaq men, women and children on Kodiak Island. Men were forced to hunt otters in fleets of kayaks, sometimes paddling hundreds of miles and being gone from their homes for months at a time. Others had to provision the Russians with whales, fish and game. Women prepared plant foods, dried fish and clothing for the traders. During these years people suffered from disease and malnutrition. It was a dark, traumatic period when many thousands died.

After 1818 reform in the management of the Russian-American Company brought some relief. Alaska Natives officially became employees instead of slaves. Atrocities ended, and health care and education systems were put in place. Missionaries of the Russian Orthodox Church were influential in seeking better conditions. The U.S. government took over Alaska in 1867. In the new government and mission schools, children were beaten for speaking either Sugcestun or Russian. Educational policies were aimed at bringing about the assimilation of all to American speech, values and beliefs.

This history created complex feelings about identity. During two hundred years of Western contact and cultural change, Indigenous identity had been devalued and even shamed. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971 put a new twist on the situation. Anyone who had a one-quarter of Native blood was eligible to enroll, meaning that he or she would receive shares in the village and regional Native corporations. This was the first time for many that being Native had any positive benefits. The new opportunity generated tension when people redefined themselves and heard comments such as “He was never a Native before land claims!”

There was much turmoil, infighting, and litigation during the early days of ANCSA. The Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA), a nonprofit established to pursue land claims and later ran Native health and education programs, came under fire. When I became president of KANA in 1983, I was asked to rebuild the organization. Elders advised that the biggest reason for our problems was that people had lost touch with who they were. They didn’t know their history, and the traditional values of sharing and cooperation had been lost. We turned our efforts to cultural rebuilding through dance, traditional arts, kayak building, language renewal, archaeology, oral history, youth-elder programs and more. The idea was to build knowledge, pride, visibility and self-esteem as a pathway for healing. From the beginning we wanted to have a museum and cultural center that people would feel belonged to them and where they could celebrate their culture. The Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository opened its doors in 1995 and has realized the vision we held.

Ceremony and Celebration

Most Sugpiat have a firm belief that if not for the Russian Orthodox Church, the people would have been lost entirely. The population was in serious decline when Orthodox monks traveled to Kodiak in the 1790s. They were shocked at the conditions they saw, and the Church exerted its influence with the czar to ameliorate illegal practices of the Russian-American Company. That is why the Orthodox faith was embraced and why it has persisted so strongly to the present day.

Sugpiaq people recognized connections and similarities between their own spiritual concepts and those of the new religion. They believed in Lam Sua, the “person of the universe,” who as a supreme and all-knowing deity became equated with God. Their kassat (wise men) consulted with deities subordinate to Lam Sua and directed the performance of religious ceremonies. In these functions they were similar to priests who conducted Orthodox worship.

Traditional hunting ceremonies, held in October through March, were a means of communicating with sky gods and the spirits of animals. Performances and rituals wove together the arts of song, narrative, masking and dance. Visitors were invited from neighboring villages to share in rich feasts, gift giving and trade. These rituals continued in some communities until the late 1800s, coexisting with widespread Orthodox conversion. Over time, the Native practice of Russian Orthodoxy has absorbed certain aspects of the older winter ceremonies.

Cultural revitalization has taken hold in the Sugpiaq region since the 1980s, bringing new confidence and visibility to our people and culture. We have come a long way since the days when many suffered embarrassment and even shame to see the dance, regalia and cultural vibrancy of other Alaska Native peoples while not having our own to share publicly. We’ve listened to elders, encouraged Native language and arts, and reconsidered the meaning of events, some terrible and traumatic, that shaped who we are today. Sugpiaq young people have gained an appreciation for their rightful place in the world.

Tags: Sugpiaq, Alutiiq, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
20
 

Fort Tejon

The Native Americans who lived in this area prior to the establishment of Fort Tejon are generally referred to as the Emigdiano. They were an inland group of the Chumash people. Unlike their coastal relatives, however, the Emigdiano avoided contact with European explorers and settlers, and were never brought into one of the missions or even incorporated into the Sebastian Indian Reservation. Once Fort Tejon was established, the Emigdiano often worked as independent contractors for the army, providing guides for bear hunts and delivering fresh fruits from their fields for sale in officers row. 

In 1852, President Millard Fillmore appointed Edward F. Beale to the position of Superintendent of Indian Affairs for California and Nevada, and sent him to California to head off further confrontation between the Indians and the many gold seekers and other settlers who were pouring into California. After studying the situation, Beale decided that the best approach was to set up a large Indian reservation at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and to invite displaced Indian groups to settle there. 

In order to implement his plan, Beale requested a federal appropriation of $500,000 and military support for the 75,000 acre reservation he had selected at the foot of Tejon Pass. Colonel Ethan Allen Hitchcock, commander of the Pacific Division of the U.S. Army, supported Beale's plan and agreed to set up a military post on or near the Indian reservation. The army was eager, in any case, to abandon Fort Miller (near Fresno, California) in favor of a more strategically advantageous site in California's southern San Joaquin Valley. 

In August 1854, Major J.L. Donaldson, a quartermaster officer, chose the present site in Canada de las Uvas. The site was handsome and promised adequate wood and water. It was just 17 miles southwest of the Sebastian Indian Reservation, and it was right on what Major Donaldson was convinced would become the main route between the Central Valley and Southern California. 

For almost ten years, Fort Tejon was the center of activity in the region between Stockton and Los Angeles. The soldiers, known as Dragoons, garrisoned at Fort Tejon patrolled most of central and southern California and sometimes as far as Utah. Dragoons from Fort Tejon provided protection and policed the settlers, travelers and Indians in the region. People from all over the area looked to Fort Tejon for employment, safety, social activities and the latest news from back east. 

Lori Wear
63
 

Conflict and Compromise: Japanese Incarceration during World War II (NHD @ the National Museum of American History)

This collection includes objects and resources related to Japanese Internment during World War II. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 through which tens of thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry were moved into relocation centers. Additional resources can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.edu and History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu

Each National History Day collection from the National Museum of American History includes selected resources to support NHD projects under the 2018 theme - Conflict and Compromise. #NHD2018. This collection is by no means comprehensive, but should be used as a place of inspiration for new projects or source of additional information for ones already in the works.

#APA2018 #NHD

National Museum of American History
36
 

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans in World War II

This collection includes objects and resources related to Japanese incarceration during World War II. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 through which tens of thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry were moved into relocation centers. Additional resources can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.edu and History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu

National Museum of American History
41
 

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans in World War II

This collection includes objects and resources related to Japanese incarceration during World War II. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 through which tens of thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry were moved into relocation centers. Additional resources can be found by visiting the National Museum of American History's online exhibitions at AmericanHistory.si.edu and History Explorer at HistoryExplorer.si.edu

National Museum of American History
47
 

President and Mrs. Obama Portrait Unveiling

On February 12, 2018, the official portraits of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were unveiled at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. President Obama's portrait was created by artist Kehinde Wiley, who is known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African Americans posing as famous figures from the history of Western art. This portrait does not include an underlying art historical reference, but some of the flowers in the background carry special meaning for Obama. Mrs. Obama's portrait was created by artist Amy Sherald, who considers the former first lady to be someone “women can relate to—no matter what shape, size, race, or color. . . . We see our best selves in her.” 

This collection includes the two portraits, in high resolution, so that learners can zoom in and out to carefully observe details. It also includes videos and articles about the portraits and their official unveilings. Additional supports include other works by the two artists and strategies for reading portraits. Portraits of the two sitters and other presidential portraits can be used for compare and contrast activities. 

Ashley Naranjo
36
 

African American Historians of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

An innate function of being human is to preserve and share our experiences and stories.  African American men and women have researched and recorded their history despite enslavement, racism, segregation, sexism, and opposition. Their research helped expand the known narratives of American and international history through the African American perspective and interpretation of historical sources. This Learning Lab explores selected African American historians of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their research and works were critical to the foundation of African American studies and their activism helped open doors for future African Americans to enter and contribute to the field of history.  The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, situated in the heart of the nation’s capital, serves as the physical manifestation of the efforts of African American historians featured in this lab.

Keywords: NMAAHC, NMAAHC Education, African American, historians, history, primary sources, stories

HOW TO USE THIS LAB:

Use the book excerpts, documents, images, objects, and media related to a highlighted historian in the Learning Lab to answer the questions provided in the Discussion Question page  and/or or use them comparatively with information in your history textbook about the highlighted historical period.

FEATURED HISTORIANS 

  1. Revolutionary War (Squares 3 - 10)
    William Cooper Nell (1816 – 1874) was born to a prominent African American abolitionist family in Boston, Massachusetts. As a young man, he was mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, wrote for Garrison’s abolitionist newspaper the Liberator, and was influential in the fight against segregation in Boston’s public transportation and accommodations during the 1840s and 1850s. In 1855, Nell authored The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution, making it one of the first historical works to focus on African Americans.
  2. Civil War (Squares 11 - 18)
    George Washington Williams (1849 – 1891)
    was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania. At the age of 14, he joined the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war, he finished his education in Massachusetts, became a minister, and founded a newspaper, The Commoner. By 1880, Williams moved to Ohio and became the first African American elected to the Ohio General Assembly. As a historian, Williams is most famous for writing the first comprehensive history of African Americans in the United States, a two-volume work called the History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880; as Negroes, as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens (1882). In 1887, he published A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion.
  3. Reconstruction (Squares 19 - 25)
    William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868 – 1963)
    was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. His studies, which focused on African American history, anthropology, and sociology, took him to study in Tennessee, Germany, and finally back to Massachusetts where he became the first African American to graduate with a PhD from Harvard. In the quest for civil rights, Du Bois helped established the Niagara Movement, and its successor, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As a historian, he wrote widely on the African American experience, but one of his best-known works was Black Reconstruction in America (1935). While Black Reconstruction was refuted during the early twentieth century, the work is now considered one of the foundational texts of how Reconstruction is interpreted by today’s mainstream historians.
  4. Women and Gender History (Squares 26 - 31)
    Anna Julia Cooper (1858 – 1964)
    was born to her enslaved mother and her white slaveholder father in Raleigh, North Carolina. She pursued education from an early age, as well as fought for women’s rights and gender equality. As a scholar at Oberlin College, she protested sexist treatment of women by taking courses and gaining degrees in subjects typically designated for men. She became an influential educator in Washington D.C. who saw her students attend some of the most prestigious colleges in the country. In 1925, Cooper completed her graduate studies at Sorbonne, University of Paris. She became the fourth African American woman to earn a PhD in History. In 1892, she wrote, A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South, focusing on the history and experiences of African American women in the South, and the need for their education to uplift the African American community as a whole.
  5. The First World War (Squares 32 - 37)
    Carter Godwin Woodson (1875 - 1950)
    was born in New Canton, Virginia. He is known as the “Father of Black History” because of his numerous contributions to the field.  Woodson was the son of poor, but land-owning former slaves. As he worked to support his family’s farm he did not enter high school until age twenty. Woodson earned his first degree from Berea College in Kentucky. He then worked, studied, and taught internationally before receiving his Bachelors and his Masters from the University of Chicago, and later his PhD from Harvard University. In 1915, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History), and in 1916 published the Journal of Negro History (now the Journal of African American History). In 1926, he established Negro History Week, which would later become Black History Month. In 1922, Woodson wrote The Negro in Our History, which covered African American history from African origins to the First World War. Woodson believed that history should not be a mere study of facts but the analyzation and interpretation of historical evidence for a deeper meaning.
  6. African American History: Slavery and Freedom (Squares 38 - 46)
    John Hope Franklin (1915 – 2009)
    was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma. In June 1921, the Franklin family endured and survived the deadly Tulsa Race Riots. Franklin earned his Bachelors from Fisk University, and would complete his Masters and PhD at Harvard. In 1949, he became the first African American historian to present at the Southern Historical Association. He was also the only African American to serve as the president of the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. Franklin wrote widely on the African American experience, with his most notable work being the 1947 publication of From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans. Today, the work is in its tenth edition and is a staple of American history courses.



National Museum of African American History and Culture
69
 

"Explore with Smithsonian Experts" Film Series

This video series, Explore with Smithsonian Experts, connects students and teachers with the skill and technique of Smithsonian experts who describe their work at our nation's museums. In each short film, experts introduce new ways to observe, record, research and share, while using real artifacts and work experiences.

Keywords: entomology, arthropod, insects, beetles, ants, scientific method, verification, President Abraham Lincoln, March on Washington, The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, flight, astrophotography, cosmos, astronomy, abstract art, El Anatsui, portraits, portraiture, President George Washington, Gertrude Stein, Gordon, Pocahontas, LL Cool J, Kehinde Wiley, Nicholasa Mohr, Dolores Huerta, Puerto Rico, Luis Muñoz Marín, Rudolfo Anaya, urban photography, Shifting States: Iraq, Luis Cruz Azaceta, choreography, dance, Japanese American incarceration (internment) camps, World War II, Queen Kapi'olani, Hawaii, diplomacy, Ecuadorian boat seat, Anansi spider, Ángel Suárez Rosado, baseball, Latino community, archiving, community, Anacostia 

#EthnicStudies

Ashley Naranjo
40
 

Transcribe: Chinese Banknotes from the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection

In this collection, the Smithsonian Transcription Center and the National Museum of American History's National Numismatic Collection invite you to help transcribe the languages recorded on historic Chinese Banknotes. This work will help ensure that researchers around the world can more easily find and use these collections. 

Collection includes: instructions on required and optional steps for transcription, translation, and transliteration; links to the Chinese Banknote transcription projects on the Smithsonian Transcription Center website; and more.

Keywords: currency, money, Chinese language, NNC, NMAH, American history, East Asian history, foreign language

Background

The Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection (NNC) is America's collection of monetary and transactional objects. This diverse and expansive global collection contains objects that represent every inhabited continent and span more than three thousand years of human history.

Established in the mid-19th century, several of the earliest additions to the NNC were artifacts from Japan, Korea, and China, including coins and medals gifted to President Ulysses S. Grant from Japanese Emperor Meiji (received in 1881) and the 2,025 East Asian coins, amulets, and notes from George Bunker Glover’s private collection (received in 1897). These donations were the foundation of the NNC’s East Asian holdings, which continues to grow with new acquisitions, such as the Howard F. Bowker collection in 2017.

During 2017-2018, the NNC digitized more than 8,000 of its East Asian Coins, making them publicly accessible and available for research worldwide. The NNC is now working to digitize 6,000 Chinese notes and paper transactional objects that range from the Ming Dynasty to the present day.

One of the main challenges to the digitization process is the transcription of several Asian alphabets, which would increase accessibility and searchability for the many items in this collection. Sometimes this can be done quickly, but often the process is too lengthy for NNC team members to complete while moving the project forward efficiently. In order to continue to share these objects rapidly, we need your help! 

The digitization of the East Asian coins and Chinese banknotes would not have been possible without the generous support of the the Howard F. Bowker family and Michael Chou. 

For full instructions, please see this page on the Smithsonian Transcription Center website.

Smithsonian Transcription Center
12
 

The California Gold Rush: A Journey to the Goldfields

James Marshall's famous discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Colma forever changed the landscape, economy and culture of California due to the mass migrations of 300,000 people. Rumors of gold's discovery spread quickly, and was confirmed by President Polk in an address to Congress. The news spread to countries around the world.

The journey to California was long and dangerous. The three major routes were: around Cape Horn by ship (six to eight months), the Isthmus of Panama (two to three months), and the Overland trail (three to five months). By ship, dangers included: ship wrecks, lack of food and water, seasickness and disease. Ships that survived the long journeys arrived to the ports of San Francisco, where migrants had to continue their journey to the Sierra Nevada foothills.  

Traveling 2,000 miles on the Overland Trail by foot and wagon exposed travelers to other dangers such as misinformed trails, and a lack of food and water. Travelers were exposed to inclimate weather while crossing deadly rivers, deserts, and high mountain passes. Only the very basic necessities including food, water, wagons, stock, hunting tools, blacksmithing tools, clothing, blankets, sewing kits, medical supplies would be taken for the journey.   

On the Overland Trail, many miners joined companies. These companies were made up of people with various skills; such as, carpentry, medicine, navigation, hunting, blacksmithing and wheelwrights. The likelihood of surviving these long and dangerous journeys increased significantly for those individuals who joined companies. If a company survived the journey to California on the Overland Trail, the company also had a higher likelihood of success in gold mining. Individuals within the company could stake multiple gold mining claims and the gold would then be divided among the people of the company. During the gold rush, individuals were only allowed to own one claim.  


columbiastatehistoricpark
16
 

Japanese Internment

These are three primary source documents that can be used as a prediction activity prior to investigasting Japanese Internment.  The first document is a personal letter written just after Pearl Harbor, the second document is a 1945 rejection letter from Yale, and the third is an apology letter from President George H.W. Bush.

If an additional scaffold is needed, students can use the APPARTS strategy to help analyze the documents.  For a description of the APPARTS strategy, click here.

#EthnicStudies

David Levee
4
 

Marine Ace-of-Aces, Brigadier General Joseph J Foss

      Commissioned on 31 March 1941 as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, Joseph J Foss would go on to become one of the most decorated American fighter pilots of World War II. In 1932, Foss became interested in aviation after witnessing an air show in South Dakota which was presented by The United States Marine Corps.[1] Prior to his commission in the Military, Foss had obtained his private pilot’s license, and upon completion of his military training Foss went on to become a flight instructor.[2] By 1942, Foss became the XO of the U.S.M.C. Fighter Squadron VMF-121 which was operating out of Henderson Field on the island of Guadalcanal. [3] Flying a F4F-4 Wildcat, Captain Foss had amassed 23 aerial victories during his first month with VMF-121; by January 1943 Foss would down three more enemy aircraft, tying World War I American Ace, Eddie Rickenbacker’s tally of 26 planes.[4]  On 18 May 1943, President Roosevelt presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to Captain Foss, for his actions at Guadalcanal in the fall of 1942 [5], five other pilots for Foss’s squadron VMF-121 would also receive the Medal of Honor.[6] By 1944, now Major Foss would return to the Pacific theater with VMF-115, where he would fly the F4U-1A Corsairs, but was not able to achieve any additional victories before the war would end.[7] With-in the Department of the Navy, Brigadier General Joseph Foss’s aerial record of 26 kills was second to United States Navy Captain David Campbell’s 34 confirmed kills[8], and third overall in the Pacific Theater to United States Army Air Forces Major Richard Bong’s 40 kills.[9] This collection displays not only the model of aircraft BGen Foss had flown in WWII, but includes the headgear he had worn in the Pacific Theater. Included is a copy of his Congressional Medal of Honor Citation, and his picture on the cover of Life Magazine.





References

[1] “Brigadier General Joseph J Foss, ANG (DECEASED).” Marine Corps University. United States Marine Corps. Accessed November 7, 2019. https://www.usmcu.edu/Research/Marine-Corps-History-Division/Information-for-Units/Medal-of-Honor-Recipients-By-Unit/Capt-Joseph-Jacob-Foss/.

[2] Ibid.,

[3] Hull, Michael D. 2018. “Wildcat Warrior: Marine Corps Ace of Aces Joe Foss Wreaked Havoc on the Japanese over Guadalcanal, Becoming the First to Equal Eddie Rickenbacker’s American World War I Victory Record.” Aviation History. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.511788937&site=eds-live&scope=site.

[4] Ibid,44-45

[5] “Brigadier General Joseph J Foss”

[6] Hull, 43

[7] Ibid, 45

[8] "FLIER DAVID MCCAMPBELL, LOGGED 34 WWII KILLS." Rocky Mountain News [Denver, CO], July 4, 1996, 14B. Gale OneFile: News (accessed November 7, 2019). https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/apps/doc/A67784968/STND?u=umd_umuc&sid=STND&xid=f164d788.

[9] "Richard Bong, America's Ace Zero In: The pilot's domination over the Pacific helped win World War II." Investor's Business Daily, February 3, 2010, A03. Gale OneFile: News (accessed November 7, 2019). https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/apps/doc/A218126606/STND?u=umd_umuc&sid=STND&xid=eba5aa44.




[1] “Brigadier General Joseph J Foss, ANG (DECEASED).” Marine Corps University. United States Marine Corps. Accessed November 7, 2019. https://www.usmcu.edu/Research/Marine-Corps-History-Division/Information-for-Units/Medal-of-Honor-Recipients-By-Unit/Capt-Joseph-Jacob-Foss/.

[2] Ibid.,

[3] Ibid.,

[4] Hull, Michael D. 2018. “Wildcat Warrior: Marine Corps Ace of Aces Joe Foss Wreaked Havoc on the Japanese over Guadalcanal, Becoming the First to Equal Eddie Rickenbacker’s American World War I Victory Record.” Aviation History. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.511788937&site=eds-live&scope=site.

[5] Ibid,44-45

[6] “Brigadier General Joseph J Foss”

[7] Hull, 43

[8] Ibid, 45

[9] "FLIER DAVID MCCAMPBELL, LOGGED 34 WWII KILLS." Rocky Mountain News [Denver, CO], July 4, 1996, 14B. Gale OneFile: News (accessed November 7, 2019). https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/apps/doc/A67784968/STND?u=umd_umuc&sid=STND&xid=f164d788.

[10] "Richard Bong, America's Ace Zero In: The pilot's domination over the Pacific helped win World War II." Investor's Business Daily, February 3, 2010, A03. Gale OneFile: News (accessed November 7, 2019). https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/apps/doc/A218126606/STND?u=umd_umuc&sid=STND&xid=eba5aa44.

Benjamin Pintens
11
 

Octavian Augustus: The Roman Emperor "The illustrious one"

The purpose of my collection is to show how “The powerful leaders of greatest civilization” changed the direction of existing Religion, culture, history, politics and art as per their beliefs.

  • Akhenaton: The Pharaoh, considered heretical, triggered a veritable cultural and religious revolution.
  • Alexander the Great: The Greek Conqueror and Cultural blender
  • Octavian Augustus: The Roman Emperor "The illustrious one".

The purpose of my collection is to show how “The powerful leaders of greatest civilization” who changed the direction of existing Religion, culture, history and art as per their beliefs. This collection is part one of that that I have organized, chronologically, on Akhenaton: The Pharaoh, considered heretical, triggered a veritable cultural and religious revolution. The other two collections are " Alexander the Great: The Greek Conqueror and Cultural blender" and Octavian Augustus: The Roman Emperor "The illustrious one". It is my hope that these collections will help viewers to understand influential power of world’s ancient leaders in the field of Art and Culture.

The Absolute Master of Romans

Octavian Augustus was the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar who soon noticed his intelligence, watches over his intellectual and military education and adopts it (45 BC).

On November 13, 36 BC, Octavian made a triumphal entry into Rome. With excellent political skill, he then realizes the moral unity of this half of the Roman world around his person. He is already a mediator and a man respectful of tradition. He burned the acts of the civil war, abolished the tribute and suppressed banditry in Italy by rigorous measures, he distributed vacant land, resume major work in Rome. He finally undertook some expeditions destined to stabilize the situation in certain frontier provinces; the people's assemblies and the senate are under his control.

In 32 BC, he forced Antony's consuls and senators to flee. He ordered the Senate to summon Antony to return to Rome and to lay down his imperium. Octavian now appears as the guarantor of the traditions and virtues of the past against the wicked representative of the East. In the summer of 31 BC Octavian, thanks to Agrippa, won the naval battle of Actium, now the whole Roman world belongs to him, in the name of Rome, and Egypt becomes a Roman province. Back in Rome, in the summer of 29, Octavian can celebrate three dazzling triumphs.

A new regime is founded, which functions as a monarchy behind a republican facade. The power of Augustus is not an institutional entity, but the complex grouping of various rights, moral, legal, military, political, religious.

“Princeps” is not strictly speaking a title, but a qualifier for politically important characters; moreover, By the magic of this name, Octave is morally superior to the other Romans and is the guarantor of the respect of the rights of each of his fellow citizens; the originator can legally convene and preside over the senate and the assemblies of the people, and submit to them bills. Through this intermediary, Augustus can accomplish his legislative and reform work.

In 23 BC Augustus rendered his office of consul, but immediately the senate granted him “A Proconsular Imperium” superior to that of all the other magistrates, for life and outside any magistracy; he now has the right to raise troops and to intervene everywhere in the empire. And he is again attributed tribune power,

Augustus thus created a new regime, but a regime that did not immediately assert itself. The originator did not want to execute his reforms with brutality; he has used the oldest functions of the republic, by giving them a new, non-shocking aspect for his contemporaries.

The society is administered by a corps of civil servants recruited from the upper classes: senatorial order and equestrian order. This society is therefore hierarchical, but it is also very flexible, because any citizen can, if he has a certain personal fortune and the endorsement of the prince, enter the equestrian order, make a part of his career , then access the senatorial rank functions.

The post-mortem deification of his adoptive father by the popular impulse had made Octavian understand how religious sentiment could serve his policy. Moreover, his career is marked by his accession to the most important priests, until being elected grand pontiff at the death of Lepidus, in 12 BC. Augustus, guarantor of the ancient cults of the city, by the construction or restoration of religious buildings. Augustus boasted of having restored eighty temples in the city; it was, for him, the glaring material proof of the distinguished place he gave to the gods. This "traditionalist" side has its counterpart in a pronounced anti-oriental tendency, against the Greek and Egyptian divinities.

The originator made him build the largest temple in Rome, on the Palatine Hill, near his home. In addition, he made public part of his home and built an altar of Vesta. It is now in its domain that was the center of the official Roman religion.

The financial administration makes even more evident the absolute character of the power of Augustus. He has redesign taxes; the control carried out by the imperial officials is becoming stricter. Moreover, in all senatorial provinces, the emperor is present in the financial field through a procurator.

In foreign policy, Augustus prefers conquests to border security, resorting as much to diplomacy as to military action. But the Empire is far from being completed when he becomes the only master after his victory over Antony.

The economic policy of the Empire was above all to make the life of the people of Rome easier and more pleasant. From one province to another, trade was quite rare, it was Augustus who organized the Spanish network, creating the great southern artery of this country and the roads of the north-west region, conquered by him. Augustus also improved communications in Egypt and Asia Minor. It was through these routes that food was brought to Rome, as well as building materials or manufactured products.

From an architectural point of view, the city of Rome embellished as the years passed. It had become customary to appeal to Hellenistic architects, for whom, moreover, the Italian artists were trained. Roman architects were even beginning to master techniques that the Hellenistic world had hardly known.

Beautiful stones were brought from far away to build buildings and monuments. The wealth imported from the countries around the Mediterranean increased the beauty and luxury of Roman monuments. Augustus even went so far as to bring Egyptian obelisks, he wanted a tomb in the shape of a pyramid.

Roman classicism was found almost exactly as it was in the provinces. From the time of Augustus, the art of building was codified. This is how Italian art was known throughout the Empire (even in Germany!) And the buildings, although sometimes very far apart, were very similar to those in Rome.

In Rome, the Great Circus was completely restored by Augustus. The government carefully regulated all these games by multiplying their opportunities and oversaw the distribution of the expenses they entailed. It was known that, satisfied by these distractions, the people would have no other more troublesome requirements. The fierce controversies with which the circus and amphitheater games gave rise, constituted a good derivative for the emotions and a convenient substitute for the rulers.

Augustus understood that an empire as powerful as his own had to have a capital which was the most beautiful city in the world. Rome did not resemble those ordered cities which the East offered to the dazzled looks of the Romans, More efficient management Augustus divides Rome into 14 regions to facilitate administration and police. Constructions and monuments Augustus also undertakes to reshape Rome. In this task, his son-in-law Agrippa plays a fundamental role. The construction of two new aqueducts, cisterns and fountains allows a better water supply. The monumental transformation of the city is important, including the forum and the mausoleum of Augustus, the theater of Marcellus and the first public baths (baths of Agrippa).

The reign of Augustus is a decisive step in the history of Rome. Decisive because the emperor was able to establish peace within: imperceptibly, but without turning back, imperceptibly influence the old institutions of the republic; to restore their stability to society and religion after the abuses of previous decades - he was able to create without abolishing: a people whose respect for the past had never failed could only appreciate. Decisive because the city has transformed and the momentum has been given for new developments. Decisive finally because the Empire has found its natural limits. Peace, trade and Romanization.

The policy of diplomacy and prudence, which gives the Empire solid frontiers, establishes peace both in the West and in the East, where war has been raging for decades. This peace allows trade flows to recover, especially to Rome, the main customer. From now on, the unity of the Roman world is deeply felt by all the inhabitants of the Empire; it ensures the development of a common civilization that imposes itself on everyone; Romanization is fast. It's the beginning of a new age.

He died on August 19th, aged 77. His mortal remains are brought back to Rome, Tiberius and his son Drusus pronounce the funeral eulogy of the emperor, whose body is then consumed on a bonfire. His ashes will be deposited in the mausoleum that Augustus had built on the field of Mars. The Senate then meets to hear his will, which designates Tiberius as his successor. Augustus can therefore be honored as a god.

I have a positive opinion of Augustus I believe that he was a great man who made a tremendous impact on the world history, culture and politics. His last words in private were: “Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit.” His final public utterance, “Behold, I found Rome of clay, and leave her to you of marble,” was just as true.


#AHMC2019

Ju Young Lee
20
 

The National Numismatic Collection's East Asian Currency Highlights

Established in the mid-19th century, several of the earliest additions to the NNC were artifacts from Japan, Korea, and China, including coins and medals gifted to President Ulysses S. Grant from Japanese Emperor Meiji (received in 1881) and the 2,025 East Asian coins, amulets, and notes from George Bunker Glover’s private collection (received in 1897). These donations were the foundation of the NNC’s East Asian holdings, which continues to grow with new acquisitions, such as the Howard F. Bowker collection in 2017. 

Emily Pearce Seigerman
94
 

East Asian Numismatics in 3D!

The Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection (NNC) is America's collection of monetary and transactional objects. This diverse and expansive global collection contains objects that represent every inhabited continent and span more than 3,000 years of human history. The NNC holds an expansive collection of East Asian coins with notable objects from China, Korea, and Japan. Indeed, many of the earliest donations to the Smithsonian in the 19th century were East Asian coins and paper currencies. They include a set of coins and medals gifted to President Ulysses S. Grant by the Japanese Meiji Emperor during Grant’s world tour. Grant’s widow, Julia Dent Grant, donated the unique gift to the museum in 1886. Shortly after, the estate of collector George Bunker Glover bequeathed more than 2,025 pieces of East Asian currency to the Smithsonian. Growth of the NNC’s East Asian collection continued in the 20th century with significant donations from The Chase Manhattan Money Museum,  the descendants of collector Alexander I. Pogrebetsky, and the estate of collector Josiah K. Lilly Jr. Today the NNC continues to grow its East Asian holdings. In 2017 the NNC received 473 objects from the Howard F. Bowker Collection. Thanks to the generous support of the Howard F. Bowker Family, Michael Chou, and the Smithsonian’s 3D Program, the NNC’s East Asian holdings are accessible online, with a selection available in 3D!


Emily Pearce Seigerman
10
 

Portrait Analysis: Norman Mineta

In this activity, students will analyze a portrait of Norman Mineta (b. 1931), a U.S. politician and the first Asian American to hold a post in the presidential cabinet, serving as Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush. The son of Japanese immigrants, Mineta and his family were incarcerated in the Heart Mountain camp in Wyoming under Executive Order 9066 during World War II.

This activity can be used to build students vocabulary in discussing visual elements of a portrait or as an entry point for studying Norman Mineta's life and achievements, U.S. history, and more.  Questions from the National Portrait Gallery's "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators and a Project Zero See-Think-Wonder routine guide the student inquiry.  The complete guide and instructions are located at the end of the collection. To learn more about other Asian Pacific American activists and leaders, visit this collection: https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/asian-pacific-american-activists-and-leaders/MR1jszd7YDA7gujx#r

This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Keywords:  internment; Japanese American; Nisei; San Jose, California

#APA2018 #EthnicStudies

Ashley Naranjo
10
 

America's Presidents

How has presidential portraiture changed since the days of George Washington? The National Portrait Gallery is proud to hold the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House. This program introduces students to the “America’s Presidents” exhibition and investigates the diverse ways in which presidents have been portrayed in portraiture over the past two centuries.

#NPGteach

Briana White
17
 

A Right to the City

These items are housed in the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum and appear in the exhibit A Right to the City curated by Samir Meghelli.

"The history of Washington neighborhoods reveals the struggles of DC residents to control—or even participate in—decisions affecting where and how they live. Prior to passage of Home Rule in the 1970s, Congressmen, private developers, appointed members of the local government, and even sitting Presidents decided the course of the city’s development, often with little or no input from residents.  

In the mid-twentieth century, massive federal “urban renewal” projects, school desegregation, and major highways, both proposed and built, spurred civic engagement, protest, alternative proposals for development, and a push for self-government. By 1968, “White man’s roads through black man’s homes” became a rallying cry, pointing to the racism that afflicted the urban and suburban planning of the era.  

A Right to the City highlights episodes in the history of six neighborhoods across the city, telling the story of how ordinary Washingtonians have helped shape and reshape their neighborhoods in extraordinary ways: through the fight for quality public education, for healthy and green communities, for equitable development and transit, and for a genuinely democratic approach to city planning."


Kathy Carroll
31
 

The Arrival of the Americans and the end of Edo Japan - Post Assessment Activity

This collection serves to end the unit on Edo Japan and retake the discussion of how the period fits within the greater scene of world history. In our class, seclusion and openness of countries is an common through line, and so the arrival of the Americans effectively ending the Sakoku period is an important historical milestone. The main goal of this collection is to lead students into this dialectical reflection of how these two countries interacted and what this meant for a Japan that had consciously shut down most trade relations.  The opening lesson on Edo Japan puts in doubt how closed the country really was; this last lesson highlights how Edo Japan had evolved since the edict of 1635, and how it had to open its ports and face the conjunctions of the 19th century's international scene. 

This collection also brings into light reactions on both sides of the American arrival. Images and archives from both Japanese, as well as American witnesses, allow students to understand the motivations coming from East, as well as the West. 


Lesson plan (2 hours) 

1. Provide the students with the resources "4c United States-Japan Treaty single." "Black Ships and Samurai," "Founding Fragments - Commodore Perry," and "Matthew Calbraith Perry." Allow students time to browse at least two topics from the website and play the video "Founding Fragments - Commodore Perry" for the entire class. 

2. Using all the resources in Step 1, lead class through the visible thinking routine "True for who?" While completing this routine, highlight how each country struggles to defend their views. 

At the end of this unit, students have a fairly strong understanding of Japanese national interests. For this reason, the teacher can help provide information of the U.S.'s international stance during the 19th century. While the U.S. plays a background role in our curriculum, we do a quick mention of the Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine, as ways in which the students’ own country emulate cycles of international openness or seclusion. Following this through line, it is necessary to stress the arrival of Commodore Perry to Japan as a thematic intersection. The moment marks both the end of Edo period for Japan, and the United States’ efforts to expand their field of influence.

3. Allow students time to read further into the "Black Ships and Samurai" website. Students can also conduct quick research on the arrival of the Americans in 1853, and Japanese-American relations previous to this date.

4. Provide students a copy of Commodore Perry and President Fillmore's letter to the Emperor of Japan. Use resource "Letters of the Commodore Perry and President Fillmore to the Emperor of Japan (1852-1853)"  Do a close reading of the letters and highlight the main passages. 

5. Present the remaining images and complete a visible thinking routine "Parts/People/Interactions." Allow students to cite the letters in Step 4, as well as the images in this collection. At the end of this lesson, students are able to compare, as well as to question each country’s discourse of seclusion or non-intervention.

Denise Rodriguez
12
 

Perspectives on Japanese-American Internment

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan during World War II, anti-Japanese paranoia increased in many parts of the United States. Many persons of Japanese decent, even those who were American citizens, were suspected of loyalty to Japan. In response to this perceived security risk, in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of thousands of American citizens of Japanese ancestry and resident aliens from Japan.

This lesson is intended to be used as an extension to the study of the Holocaust in English-Language Arts. Students should have some prior knowledge of World War II, Nazi propaganda and the Jewish experience in concentration camps. 

This collection was created in conjunction with the Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute at the National Portrait Gallery (2019). #NPGTEACH

Tracy Biondi
10
 

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II

On February 19, 1942, Executive Order 9066 (#EO9066) was signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, resulting in the imprisonment of Japanese Americans & Japanese nationals in prison camps across the United States. In this short film, "Righting a Wrong", students can learn more about this history as they hear from a museum expert, who provides a behind-the-scenes look at personal objects from Japanese American youth who had lived in incarceration camps during World War II.  

The artifacts include a boy scout uniform that honors the 100th infantry battalion of Nisei soldiers, a thousand-stitch sash created by community members that served as an amulet for a soldier at war, and traditional Japanese geta sandals created for a son by his father that feature Mickey Mouse.

This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

#APA2018


Ashley Naranjo
9
 

Mary Vaux Walcott, Artist

"Sometimes I feel that I can hardly wait till the time comes to escape from city life, to the free air of the everlasting hills." -Mary Vaux Walcott, Letters to Charles Walcott, Feb 19, 1912.

This collection contains personal selections from the nearly 800 botanical illustrations by Mary Walcott held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 

From Wikipedia (March 5, 2019): Mary Morris Vaux[a] was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a wealthy Quaker family. After graduating from the Friends Select School in Philadelphia in 1879, she took an interest in watercolor painting. When she was not working on the family farm, she began painting illustrations of wildflowers that she saw on family trips to the Rocky Mountains of Canada.[3] During the family summer trips, she and her brothers studied mineralogy and recorded the flow of glaciers in drawings and photographs.[4] The trips to the Canadian Rockies sparked her interest in geology.[3]

In 1880, at the age of nineteen, Vaux took on the responsibility of caring for her father and two younger brothers when her mother died.[5] After 1887, she and her brothers went back to western Canada almost every summer. During this time she became an active mountain climber, outdoors woman, and photographer. Asked one summer to paint a rare blooming arnica by a botanist, she was encouraged to concentrate on botanical illustration.[4] She spent many years exploring the rugged terrain of the Canadian Rockies to find important flowering species to paint. On these trips, Vaux became the first women to accomplish the over 10,000 feet ascent of Mount Stephen.[6] In 1887, on her first transcontinental trip via rail, she wrote an engaging travel journal of the family's four-month trek through the American West and the Canadian Rockies.[7]

Over her father's fierce objections, Mary Vaux married the paleontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott, who was the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, in 1914, when she was 54. She played an active part in her husband's projects, returning to the Rockies with him several times and continuing to paint wildflowers. In 1925, the Smithsonian published some 400 of her illustrations, accompanied by brief descriptions, in a five-volume work entitled North American Wild Flowers. In Washington, Mary became a close friend of First Lady Lou Henry Hoover[5] and raised money to erect the Florida Avenue Meeting House, so that the first Quaker President and his wife would have a proper place to worship. From 1927 to 1932, Mary Vaux Walcott served on the federal Board of Indian Commissioners and, driven by her chauffeur, traveled extensively throughout the American West, diligently visiting reservations.

When she was 75, she made her first trip abroad to Japan to visit lifelong friend and fellow Philadelphia Quaker, Mary Elkington Nitobe, who had married Japanese diplomat Inazo Nitobe.

She was elected president of the Society of Woman Geographers in 1933. In 1935, the Smithsonian published Illustrations of North American Pitcher-Plants, which included 15 paintings by Walcott. Following the death of her husband in 1927, Walcott established the Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal in his honor. It is awarded for scientific work on pre-Cambrian and Cambrian life and history. Walcott died in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.[3]

#fivewomenartists #5womenartists #BecauseOfHerStory

Darren Milligan
42
1-24 of 132 Collections