Exercises of the Youths

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: engraving Museum Number: LC-USZ62-37992 Annotation: This engraving shows native youths shooting arrows, throwing balls at target placed atop tall pole, and running races. Year: 1591

Champlain Exploring the Canadian Wilderness

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: engraving Museum Number: LC-USZ62-3019 Annotation: This print shows Samuel de Champlain and two companions looking at a river as Indians carry the canoes to the shore. Born in the small Atlantic port of Brouage around 1580 to a Protestant family (although he became a Catholic), Samuel de Champlain fought in Henri IV’s army…

Pocahontas (Reproduction of 1616 Original)

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: engraving Museum Number: LC-D416-18753 Annotation: This image is taken from a painting made of the Native American woman popularly known as Pocahontas, from a painting by William Sheppard. The portrait is dated 1616, coinciding with her only voyage to England in June of that year. The image is one of two strikingly similar…

A Noblewoman of Pomeiock

Credit: Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Media type: engraving Description: English: Native woman of Pomeiock carrying a clay vessel, and her daughter holding a doll and a rattle. Museum Number: LC-USZ62-76084 Year: 1590

The First Americans

Baptism of Pocahontas, 1614

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: painting Museum Number: Annotation: Like the other seventeenth-century British colonies, Virginia aspired to convert the native populations. The Virginia Company’s instructions to its governors required them to make conversion one of their objectives. The most famous early convert was Pocahontas, daughter of Powhatan, head of the Powhatan Confederacy. Pocahontas was baptized by…

Portrait of Christopher Columbus

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: photograph Museum Number: Annotation: Black and white portrait of Christopher Columbus.

Massacre Fait A Sens En Bourgogne Par La Populace

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: engraving Museum Number: Annotation: The slaughter of Huguenots (French Protestants) by Catholics at Sens, Burgundy in 1562 occurred at the beginning of more than thirty years of religious strife between French Protestants and Catholics. These wars produced numerous atrocities. The worst was the notorious St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris, August 24,…

The Meeting of Cortés and Montezuma

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: painting Museum Number: Annotation: Painted in the latter half of the seventeenth century in Mexico by unknown artists, the eight paintings in the Conquest of Mexico series depict the encounter of Spanish and Aztec cultures and the ultimate victory of the Spanish over the native peoples. All eight paintings will be on…

Death of Columbus, 1502

Credit: Architect of the Capitol Media type: doors Museum Number: Annotation: The Columbus Doors that stand at the east entrance of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda are an imposing sight. They stand nearly 17 feet tall and weigh 20,000 pounds. The artist was Randolph Roger, and his alto-relief bronze doors make a powerful statement about not only their subject,…

Epistola . . . de Insulis Indie nuper inventis (Letter Concerning the Islands Recently Discovered. . . .); wrtitten by Christopher Columbus, 1492

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: print Museum Number: Annotation: After his first transatlantic voyage, Christopher Columbus sent an account of his encounters in the Americas to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Several copies of his manuscript were made for court officials, and a transcription was published in April 1493. This Latin translation by Leandro de…

The Mason Children: David, Joanna, Abigail

Credit: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Media type: painting Museum Number: Annotation: Painted in 1670, this rare painting is one of only about 35 paintings that exist today that reflect the New England settlement after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. Year: 1670

Colonial Era

The Eliakim Hayden Stone

Credit: Wesleyan University Press Media type: gravestone Museum Number: Annotation: Eliakam Hayden grave in Essex, CT, 1797 Year: 1797

U.S. Constitution

Media type: miscellaneous-image Annotation: The United States Constitution ratified September 17, 1787. Year: 1787

Woman Mourning By Tomb

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: painting Museum Number: LC-USZC4-1840 Year: 1842

The Old Plantation

Credit: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum Media type: painting Museum Number: Year: 1790

Early National Period


Credit: Library of Congress Media type: broadside Museum Number: Annotation: This handbill urging opponents of abolitionists to obstruct an anti-slavery meeting demonstrates the depth of pro-slavery feeling. Although the handbill advocates peaceful means, violence sometimes erupted between the two factions. An emotion-laden handbill was a factor in the well-known Boston riot of October 21, 1835. In that incident,…

Mississippi cotton gin at Dahomey

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: photograph Museum Number: LC-USZC4-6134 Annotation: This is a picture of workers in a cotton gin. A cotton gin is a machine that separates the cotton from the seeds. The cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney in 1793. Year: 1898

Kindred Spirits

Credit: The New York Public Library Media type: painting Museum Number: Year: 1849

Roll of Honor – Woman’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls

Media type: miscellaneous-image Annotation: A convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition of woman, was called by the Women of Seneca County, N.Y. and held at the village of Seneca Falls, in the Wesleyan Chapel, on the 19th and 20th of July, 1848. Year: 1848

Kansas-Nebraska Act

Media type: treaty-image Annotation: In 1854, a piece of legislation was introduced in Congress that shattered all illusions of sectional peace. The Kansas-Nebraska Act destroyed the Whig Party, divided the Democratic Party, and created the Republican Party. Ironically, the author of this legislation was Senator Stephen A. Douglas, who had pushed the Compromise of 1850 through Congress…

Gold Mining in California

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: engraving Museum Number: LC-USZC2-1755 Annotation: This lithograph shows miners shoveling sand from stream into sluice while one miner pans for gold in the same stream, small building and mountains in the background. The gold rush was over when this lithograp was published in 1871. On January 24, 1848, less than 10 days before…

Pre-Civil War

The Africans of the Slave Bark

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: engraving Museum Number: LC-USZ62-41678 Annotation: African slaves on the deck of the slave ship Wildfire Year: 1860

The Slave Sale

Credit: Cosmopolitan Magazine [number 38, December 1904] Media type: engraving Museum Number: Annotation: Though the Atlantic slave trade ceased legally importing slaves on 1 January 1808, the earliest date allowed by the US Constitution, the practice of slavery and the sale of slaves in the United States continued until President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on the first…

$150 Reward For Runaway

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: advertisement Museum Number: Portfolio 22, Folder 12b Annotation: Advertisement run in Kentucky newspaper ofering up to a $150 reward for the return of a runaway slave named Henry May. Even with the passage of fugitive slave legislature in the mid 19th century and the persistant use of “slave catchers”, advertisements offering rewards for…


Credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles Media type: photograph Museum Number: Year: 1862

Slavery in America


Credit: Architect of the Capitol Media type: fresco Museum Number: Annotation: Capitol fresco Year: 1865

The Storming of Ft. Wagner

Credit: US National Park Service Media type: painting Museum Number: Annotation: Storming of Fort Wagner Year: 1890

The Old Hunting Grounds

Credit: Reynolda House, Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina Media type: painting Museum Number: Year: 1864

We Will Prove Ourselves To Be Men- – 127th Regiment US Colored Troops

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: decorative arts Museum Number: LC-USZ62-23097 Annotation: This is a regimental flag depicting an African American soldier standing next to Columbia holding a flag. Painted flags were an important form of popular art in the 19th century, and were used both for ceremonial and decorative purposes. David Bustill Bowser (1820-1900), a poor African-American from…