Exploring Government Publications for Native American Heritage Month

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we here at Government Publications wanted to take some time to showcase a few documents pertaining to Native American culture. All of these items are currently available for check-out and can be found here in McWherter Library in the Government Publications department!

Written by Benjamin Clanton:

  1. The Smithsonian Institute and the Handbook of North American Indians

The Smithsonian Institute has provided a rich variety of resources that would be helpful in the historical and anthropological study of Native American tribes in North America. Perhaps the best example of their work is the Handbook of North American Indians, a multivolume encyclopedia covering a myriad of topics and fields of study. Spearheaded by ethnologist and anthropologist William Sturtevant, this proposed 20 volume work began publication in 1978 as a hope to replace other outdated studies. Sadly, the project has yet to reach completion, due largely to the combination of funding issues and the death of Sturtevant in 2007. Nonetheless, this exhaustive synthesis of Native American studies is an impressive collaboration between renowned historians, anthropologists, and linguists, among others. Growing up in Mississippi, I have always had an interest in the tribes of the Southeast such as the Choctaw, Creek, and Cherokee; this made Volume 14 on North America’s Southeast region of special interest. Like the other volumes exploring specific regions, it does a wonderful job covering studies on prehistory up to modern day, while also discussing the progression of research on Native American studies over the years. Other volumes dedicate themselves to general topics such as languages, contemporary society, and the complex history of Indian-white relations. Though incomplete overall, the individual volumes that are accessible would provide a wonderful complementary piece or starting point for Native American research of almost any kind.

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Theodore Roosevelt and the American Legacy of Conservation

Theodore Roosevelt

Written by Benjamin Clanton, Government Publications

‘There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon in the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever with their majestic beauty unmarred.’ -Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, was born on October 27, 1858. In honor of his upcoming birthday, it seems proper to highlight some of his countless triumphs in the political realm and beyond, and to display his influence on the Government Publications Department here, and to others around the country. Throughout the years, both during his lifetime and following his death in 1919, Roosevelt (or “Teddy,” which he actually hated to be called!) morphed into an almost mythical character in American history. When examining just a few of his more famous accomplishments, it is not hard to understand why. He first rose to national fame during the Spanish-American War in 1898, where he formed the infamous Rough Riders military squadron, comprised of former Ivy Leaguers, outdoorsmen, cowboys, and Native Americans.

In 1901, following the assassination of William McKinley, Roosevelt became the youngest American President ever at age 42. His administration was defined by Roosevelt’s battles against big business and his efforts to protect American citizens through the idea of a “Square Deal.” However, one of the more lighthearted events during his presidency actually occurred in our southern neighbor of Mississippi. During a hunting trip in 1902 near the Delta town of Rolling Fork, Teddy refused to shoot a bear that organizers had tied to a tree, claiming it was unsporting. The story grew to nationwide fame, leading to a shopkeeper selling stuffed animals coined “Teddy Bears.” President Roosevelt also became the first American to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 due to his efforts in brokering a peace agreement ending a war between Russia and Japan. Continue reading

Constitution Day: September 17th

Written by Benjamin Clanton and Meghan Campbell, Government Publications:

On September 17, 1787, delegates to the aptly named Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution, setting in place the structure of our nation’s government that is still followed today. We here in Government Publications regularly handle documents that relate to what was adopted on that day over two hundred years ago. One of the wonderful things about the Constitution is that avenues were put in place to make additions and changes to its original form. With that in mind, we have written about a couple of Constitutional Amendments that both intrigue us and have personal meaning to us as individuals. Enjoy and have a wonderful Constitution Day!

Join us on the 2nd Floor Commons Area in McWherter Library today from 12 – 3 pm, where you can pick up a U.S. Constitution and snacks, and watch a documentary titled The Words that Built America. Continue reading

In Their Words: The 1968 Sanitation Strike

Don’t miss “In Their Words: The 1968 Sanitation Strike” on display on the 1st and 4th floors of McWherter Library. This exhibit pulls directly from primary sources of people that were involved with the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Memphis. The collection was assembled and created by the Memphis Search for Meaning Committee, an ad hoc, non-profit committee of volunteers lead by Carol Lynn and David Yellin. The committee worked to collect information in the way of interviews, photographs, and other—newer—media such as television video and audio from radio programs and other media outlets. This collection, and the exhibit that follows, provides a snapshot into this time in Memphis and American history.