Happy Birthday, Pluto!

pluto numbers

On February 18th, Pluto turns 89 years old- well, the discovery of Pluto anyway! This controversial planet/not planet/dwarf planet was discovered in our very own backyard, in Flagstaff, Arizona at the Lowell Observatory. A young, 23-year-old Clyde Tombaugh discovered the small planet 14 years after Percival Lowell passed away- Lowell working desperately to discover ‘Planet X’. The method in which Tombaugh spotted the planet is fascinating and can be read about here.

 

pluto

Tombaugh was originally from Streator, Illinois, but graduated with his bachelor and master’s degrees in astronomy from the University of Kansas- but not until 8 years AFTER his discovery! Tombaugh is credited for discovering numerous asteroids as well. Four years before the discovery, he was building homemade telescopes in his parents’ farm field. He began working at the Lowell Observatory after he sent them drawings of Jupiter and Mars. After graduating from Kansas, he returned to Arizona where he taught naval navigation at Northern Arizona University during World War II. He retired from New Mexico State University in 1973 where he taught astronomy.

 

pluto harvardThe discovery was exciting news, especially during the Great Depression. News made its way around the world, with telegrams being sent from observatory to observatory, news outlet to news outlet.

 

pluto letter

 

The name Pluto was chosen after a competition was created seeking suggestions. The winner would win about $480 USD (in today’s dollars). Lowell Observatory received over 1,000 suggestions, but 11-year-old Venetia Burney from Oxford, England would win with her suggestion of Pluto.

 

 

 

pluto vebtia

 

The discovery was a proud moment for Arizona and arguably helped solidify Arizona and its Universities as players in the space race, astronomy, and geosciences.

Want more?

If you are interested in diving a little deeper into Pluto’s discovery, the Lowell Observatory, or astronomy in general, check out the two collections on the Arizona Memory Project created by the Lowell Observatory (a third is in the works!).

 

pluto researchWe also have a Research Topic page with additional links: Discovering Pluto at Lowell Observatory, which is in the process of being updated.

 

pluto gale

Our Gale Science in Context database also has several resources on Pluto and other planets.

 

pluto observatory

 

On Reading Arizona, our free online e-book library, you can find the book “Observatories of the Southwest“, which includes information about major observatories of the region, including Arizona’s Kitt Peak National Observatory and Lowell Observatory.

 

 

 

pluto booksAnd our Arizona Collection and State Publications have SEVERAL University of Arizona Press books about Pluto, which can be viewed in our Reading Room or requested via interlibrary loan from your local public library.

And we even have a book by Tombaugh himself: Out of the Darkness, the Planet Pluto.

 

Happy birthday, Pluto!

And happy researching!

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Christmas Through The Years in Arizona

How Arizona has celebrated Christmas tells us as much about our state history as it does the holiday’s more universal symbols. A quick tour through our historic newspapers finds stories of church, trees, masquerades, gifts, Santa Claus, and cheer happening in ways that could only take place in our state.

 

Christmas 1920
Bisbee Daily Review, 1920-12-15, CHRISTMAS EDITION

The Weekly Arizona Miner-Prescott-1878

140 years ago, Prescott chronicled a visit from Santa Clause, with gifts for between two and three hundred children. “Some of the older ones also received valuable presents and immediately forgot their childhood days were things of the past,” the Miner reported. The 12th Infantry Band provided music. Among these celebrations, the paper also noted a soldier “partaking of the good things generally yesterday , including egg-nog and perhaps something stronger in the line of ‘O be Joyful’”. He later mistook a private residence for Ft. Whipple and demanded entry.

Salt River Herald-Salt River Valley-1878

Meanwhile, in Phoenix, the Salt River Herald reported on the Christmas tree at public schools, crowded church services, private parties, and turkey shoots and horse races. A ball took place at Smith & Stroud’s hall.

Christmas 1913
Arizona Republican 1913-12-25

Arizona Weekly Citizen-Tucson-1888

Ten years later, the Arizona Citizen in Tucson noted their city celebrated “appropriately”, detailing local church celebrations as well as a gathering of the Southern Pacific Library Association at the Masonic hall, with gas lamps dimmed to let the tree’s lit candles flicker.

The Argus-Holbrook-1898

120 years Holbrook saw a masquerade ball by both adults and children. The Argus reported on two masquerade balls. The children’s party lasted from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. “The little folks were attired in a variety of costumes, some beautiful, and some very ludicrous.”  The “fun ran high” until 9 p.m. Later, in the same hall, a party for the adults began at 11 and continued with dancing until 3 a.m.

Christmas 1915
Arizona Republican, 1915-12-25

 

Arizona Republican-Phoenix-1898

At the same time, if you wanted to do some shopping for the holidays in Phoenix, you could do so at the New York Store. If the name is unfamiliar, note that it was run by Sam Korrick and would be Korrick’s shortly thereafter.

Arizona Republican-Phoenix-1918

Overindulging in the holidays had not ceased when the Republican reported three men “wrapped in the arms of Bacchus” narrowly escaped a building burning in 1898. The fire, in the back of a shoe shop at 13 Wall Street, was probably caused by a lit cigarette. The men got rescued, the  fire put out, and the paper noted cause and consequence: “… their condition was due to potent libations they had consumed in an heroic endeavor to usher in the Yuletide in a fitting and proper manner. They will be arraigned in the city court this afternoon.”

Bisbee Daily Review, 1915-12-19, CHRISTMAS EDITION

 

 

 

Arizona’s Territorial Legislature

Arizona’s Legislature met to debate the issues of the day and pass laws, long before Arizona became a state. The Legislature met in Prescott between 1864 and 1867, and again between 1879 and 1889. In between they met in Tucson, before settling in to Phoenix in 1891 to stay.

We have copies of the enacted laws (“Session Laws”) passed by the Territorial Legislature dating from 1864 until Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912. We were the “Valentine to the Nation”. We also have copies of the Session Laws passed since Statehood, which you can research in print in our Reading Room or browse online on the Arizona Memory Project here.

Session LawsWe think it’s vital to preserve these irreplaceable materials. We keep a print copy that is accessible to users. We also make digital copies of everything we can, and post them online so people can access them from anywhere there is an internet connection. We set aside a good-quality preservation copy of each document. Then we select multiple duplicates whenever possible to use as replacements for the accessible copies. We keep the preservation copies and the duplicate replacement copies in separate climate-controlled spaces to assure that the information in them will not be lost.

These may not be things to curl up on a comfy couch and read. But preserving them is just one of the many things we do here at the State of Arizona Research Library.

If you wish to come see the Session Laws or any other historic or current law material in person, stop by the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building at 1901 W. Madison Street, Phoenix any Monday through Friday (except state holidays).

Ever wonder about Federal Depository Libraries?

free-gov

This post from Free Government Information might seem a little inside baseball to some, but it does a great job explaining why the Federal Depository Library Program (of which the State Library is a member) is so important to both preserving and accessing information produced by the federal government.

For more background info, check out our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/StateLibAZ/timeline?ref=page_internal

To read the article:

http://freegovinfo.info/node/11549

Arizona Territorial Census Records Now Available Online!

A significant group of valuable Arizona historical record collections, provided through a partnership with the Arizona State Archives and Ancestry.com, are now available on-line and free to residents of the State of Arizona through Ancestry.com.  This includes the Arizona territorial census records covering the years from 1864 through 1882.

All Arizona records are available at azlibrary.gov and can be found on the Doing Research at the Archives page or directly at https://www.azlibrary.gov/arm/research-archives/archives-resources/ancestry-arizona.

This access requires a free Ancestry.com Arizona account. To set up your account you simply go to the web page and enter your five digit Arizona zip code in the space at the bottom of the page.  Once your account is established researchers gain unlimited access to Arizona records that are a part of the State Archives of Arizona’s extensive holdings.

Arizona General Election Canvass

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan issued the official canvass of results for the 2016 General Election.

Secretary Reagan reported 2.6 million Arizonans voted in the general election, making it the highest number of ballots cast in state history.  While there were a historic number of votes, turnout was about average at 74% ranking 6th highest in Arizona history.

1.       1980       –    80.1%        Reagan – Carter
2.       2008       –    77.7%        Obama – McCain
3.       1992       –    77.2%        Clinton – Bush
4.       2004       –    77.1%        Bush – Kerry
5.       2012       –    74.4%        Obama – Romney
6.       2016       –    74.2%        Trump – Clinton

Demographically, women made up 55% of Arizona’s electorate while 18-24 year olds made up 6%.  The average age of the Arizona voter is 55.

For more, visit: https://www.azsos.gov/about-office/media-center/press-releases/1150

To see past election canvasses, check out the Arizona State Government Publications Collection on the Arizona Memory Project:

http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/ref/collection/statepubs/id/13234