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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New Arizona Historic Newspapers Now Online!

Two historic Arizona newspapers, the Winslow Mail (Winslow, AZ) and El Mosquito (Tucson, AZ), are now available to the public on the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website. The newspapers represent the first 10,000 pages of over 100,000 pages to be digitized through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

Winslow MailThe Winslow Mail delivered general news of northern Arizona and the Santa Fe Railway, as well as ranching and agricultural news. It is now available online from 1897 to 1926.

In 1897, John F. Wallace was the editor and publisher. Known fondly as “Uncle Jimmy,” Wallace participated in local politics, and his political interests permeated the Mail. After 1901, the Winslow Mail shifted hands several times. Owners and editors included Lloyd C. Henning from the Holbrook Argus and L.V. Root, a former editor of the Needles Nugget in California. The Winslow Mail was published for 113 years, ceasing operations in 2007.

El Mosquito

 

El Mosquito, was a weekly Spanish-language newspaper helmed by editor and publisher Felipe Hale. It delivered general local news, news from Mexico, and humorous columns to its Tucson, Arizona audience. It was also known for its sharp tongue and lively writing. Its slogan, appearing in its first few years of publication, was “Pica, pero no hace roncha” (“It stings, but it doesn’t leave a mark.”) El Mosquito ran from 1919-1925, the paper’s entire run is available online.

In 2017, the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records received a grant as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program to begin this digitization work. The newspapers will also be available on the Arizona Memory Project website in the near future.

The State of Arizona Research Library is excited to make these historic newspapers digitally available to the public. Look for additional newspaper titles to be available online soon!

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

 

 

 

Rainy Day Coloring and Activity Books

Need some quick coloring activity books for a rainy day?  Our state and federal government agencies put together resources for children (and the young at heart!) that can be downloaded and printed quickly and are educational as well as fun.  You can search our catalog for many of these.

To do this, go to our catalog and search for “coloring book” or “activity book”.  You will get different results for each term, so make sure you search for both!  On the left, under Format, select online resources- this will give you all of the items that can be downloaded via a link in the catalog so that you can print a copy to color.

Here are some to get you started!

From the Secretary of State’s Office, SoS for Kids, a coloring book about Arizona.

Color book sos

 

From the Arizona Department of Transportation, Be Aware and Care, an activity book about travel and highway safety.color book adot

 

From the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wetlands, a coloring book about wetlands and the animals that inhabit wetlands.

color us game

 

From the Environmental Protection Agency, Carl Gets Some Rest, a coloring book about pollution and using public transportation.

color book epa

And from NASA, To Space & Back: How We Can All Use NASA’s Tools, a coloring book about products that were developed for the space program that are being used to make life on earth better.

color book nasa

 

You can find dozens more Federally published coloring books by going to the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.  Select Electronic Titles under “Catalogs” and then search for “coloring books”.

Enjoy coloring and learning something interesting along the way!

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