A Star-Spangled Anniversary

September 12, 2014
Image: Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of our National Anthem http://www.starspangled200.com/

Image: Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of our National Anthem (http://www.starspangled200.com/)

September 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the United States National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In September 1814, after a 25-hour long battle with the British, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a 42-foot American flag in victory. A young Francis Scott Key, a Maryland-born attorney, was aboard a ship in Baltimore’s harbor to negotiate the release of an American prisoner and was so inspired by the patriotic sight that he wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Image source: nps.gov

Francis Scott Key (nps.gov)

If you’re lucky enough to be in Maryland during the month of September, the Star-Spangled Spectacular is a free festival that celebrates the 200th anniversary of our National Anthem. Tall ships, Navy ships, and the Blue Angels will come to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Landside festivals include living history demonstrations. Events crescendo on September 13, 2014 with two star-studded patriotic concerts and extraordinary fireworks display over Fort McHenry and the Baltimore harbor, which will broadcast live on PBS’ Great Performances. Learn more here.

You can check out the National Park Service’s Fort McHenry page for details about the park, its history, and the festivities.

The U.S. Government Printing Office offers publications and resources to help you learn more about this pivotal point in American history.

citizens almanacAvailable through the U.S. Government Bookstore, The Citizen’s Almanac: Fundamental Documents, Symbols, and Anthems of the United States, contains information on the history, people, and events of the United States. This resource is primarily targeted at immigrants hoping to become U.S. citizens. However, it can also serve as a patriotic resource for elementary school-age children through freshmen in high school. Teachers of social studies and civics programs may want to have a copy handy to use in classrooms. Some examples of things covered in the publication are: rights and responsibilities of citizens, the Star-Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Gettysburg Address, the Constitution, landmark decisions of the Supreme Court, and much more. A related resource is the Civics and Citizenship Toolkit.

GPO’s Federal Digital System also has a variety of Government documents related to the Star-Spangled Banner:

Star Spangled Banner Flag on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of History and Technology, around 1964

Star Spangled Banner Flag on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History and Technology, around 1964

GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications provides access to a fascinating document from the Smithsonian, National Museum of American History: The Star-Spangled Banner: State-of-the-Flag Report, 2001. This document describes the history of THE flag that inspired our National Anthem, where it has traveled since 1814, the conservation project undertaken to preserve it for future generations, and more.

Also check out this information from the Smithsonian on the Star-Spangled Banner. You can also learn about the flag’s preservation project here. You can also learn more about Francis Scott-Key here.

You can also visit a Federal depository library near you to discover what other publications the Federal Government has to offer on this incredible moment in American history. Locations are nationwide. Find the Federal depository nearest you by visiting the Federal Depository Library Directory.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

In addition to clicking on the links in the article above to find the publications, you may find these publications from the following:

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Order by Phone: You may also order print editions by calling GPO’s  Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Kelly Seifert, Lead Planning Specialist for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Library Program.


Remembering 9/11: Tales of Heroes and Tough Lessons

September 11, 2014

9-11 Decade of Remembrance Twin Towers and Pentagon Logo designed by David McKenzie at the Government Printing OfficeIn remembrance of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Government Book Talk revisits blogger Michele Bartram’s post from September 11, 2013.

There are certain moments and events that are etched in our national consciousness. Ask any American who was alive in the 60’s where he or she was when John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King was assassinated and you will hear a stirring personal story. For our generation, it was September 11, 2001.

Image: September 11 Decade of Remembrance logo with World Trade Center Twin Towers surrounded by a figure representing the Pentagon. Created by David McKenzie with the Government Printing Office for the U.S. Government Bookstore.

I was right across from the Twin Towers twelve years ago today, getting ready to board a ferry for my daily commute from New Jersey across the Hudson River into Manhattan, when I saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center right across from me. So, too, I cried with a group of strangers as we stood on the ferry platform and watched in horror as the first tower fall, saw the dust cloud rise and felt the earth—and the world—tremble.

America and Americans have changed since that day… twelve years ago today. We have since heard stirring stories of heroes and sacrifice, and learned many grim lessons that are still affecting both policy and people today.

Many of these stories of heroism, missed opportunities, and resulting actions have been painstakingly and faithfully chronicled by a wide array of Federal agencies, ensuring the sacrifices and lessons are not forgotten.

Responding to the Tragedies

Both in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, we saw how first responders and medical personnel rushed to save lives. These excellent publications tell the stories of the heroes from that day:

  • 008-000-01049-8Pentagon 9/11 (10th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback) includes a foreword by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and provides the most comprehensive account available of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and aftermath, including unprecedented details on the impact on the Pentagon building and personnel and the scope of the rescue, recovery, and care-giving effort.
  • 008-000-01048-0Attack on the Pentagon: The Medical Response to 9/11 not only tells the personal stories from medical personnel responding to the attack on the Pentagon, but also provides insight from MEDCOM officers detailed to New York to support National Guard troops guarding ground zero’s perimeter. It also includes the Army’s involvement in the recovery of deceased attack victims at the Pentagon and the work of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in identifying human remains at Dover Air Force Base. In addition, the roles of military and civilian hospital staffs and of military environmental health and mental health specialists in taking care of attack victims and their families are also examined.

Tough Lessons

The single must-read for every American about September 11 is the official version of The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. This publication lists the findings of the National 9/11 Commission, listing all the painful errors made leading up to the terrorist attacks and outlining specific recommendations for international, national, state and local changes in policy and procedures that the panel of experts felt needed to be implemented to ensure a similar attack never happened again. This seminal publication has served to inform all subsequent policies and legislation since 9/11. It is available in print or as an eBook.

911-commission-report

Image: Launch of the 9/11 Commission Report. Courtesy: CSMonitor.com

The Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence, and House, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence examined the intelligence failures leading up to 9/11 and jointly published the results in United States Congressional Serial Set, Serial No. 14750: Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activity Before and After Terrorists Attacks of September 11, 2001 With Errata.

027-001-00097-1Additional insights into the causes of and responses to terrorism can be gleaned from Terrorism Research and Analysis Project (TRAP): A Collection of Research Ideas, Thoughts, and Perspectives, V. 1. This publication provides the findings from the post-9/11 FBI Terrorism Research and Analysis Project (TRAP) Symposium. TRAP is a leading research consortium made up of international/domestic academics and law enforcement officers, and is a working group sponsored by the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. In it, these counter-terrorism experts provide a better understanding of the causes of terrorist activity and possible government response tactics to mitigate terrorist actions.

064-000-00029-2As we watch the new World Trade Center going up in New York, we can be assured that builders are incorporating architectural and construction lessons learned from the World Trade Center Building Performance Study: Data Collection, Preliminary Observations, and Recommendations.

Policy and Legislative Response

United States Congressional Serial Set, Serial No. 14924, House Report No. 724, 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act, Pts. 1-6 outlines the specific legislative changes enacted by Congress, providing both background and justifications for them along with attribution.

A print copy of the law itself can be purchased here: Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Public Law 110-53 along with the details of the various committee conferences contributing to it in Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 1, July 25, 2007.

Defending the Homeland since 9/11

041-001-00657-5National Strategy for Homeland Security (October 2007) provides the common framework outlined by the George W. Bush Administration to guides, organize and unify the United States’ homeland security efforts.

008-000-01068-4A new publication from the Air Force Reserve called Turning Point 9.11: Air Force Reserve in the 21st Century, 2001-2011 tells the story of how the Air Force Reserve responded to 9/11 and have contributed to the security of the United States in a post-September 11 world.

050-012-00440-4In a similar vein, Rogue Wave: The U.S. Coast Guard on and After 9/11 chronicles the involvement of the U.S. Coast Guard on that fateful day and the evolving role in national and world security since.  Part of the Coast Guard 9/11 response is told in this touching video about the boatlift to evacuate people from lower Manhattan is told in a video narrated by Tom Hanks entitled: BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience.”

A touching video about the boatlift to evacuate people from lower Manhattan on 9/11 (September 11) is told in a video narrated by Tom Hanks entitled: BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience. Click on the image above or this link to view the “Boatlift” video.

The upcoming U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, Volume 2: National Security Policy and Strategy provides a summarized look at the national security curriculum now taught to our nation’s top military and civilian leaders by the U.S. Army War College. Revised with the lessons learned from the years since 9/11, this publication includes a chapter on ”Securing America From Attack: The Defense Department’s Evolving Role After 9/11.”

How can I obtain these Federal 9/11 publications?

  • Shop Online: Print Editions of these 9/11-related publications may be ordered from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov, by clicking on the links above in this blog post or shopping our Terrorism & 9/11 History collection under our US & Military History category.
  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Visit our Retail Store: Buy copies of these publications at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Find them in a Library: Find these publications in a federal depository library.

About the author: Adapted by Trudy Hawkins, Writer and Marketing Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, from an original post by Michele Bartram, former Government Book Talk Editor in support of the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).


50 Years of the Wilderness Act

September 3, 2014

keeping in wildFifty years ago on September 3, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law. This established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and designated 9.1 million acres of wildlands for preservation. In the last 50 years, Congress has added an additional 100 million acres to the System.

Lyndon Johnson signing the Wilderness Act of 1964 (nps.gov)

Lyndon Johnson signing the Wilderness Act of 1964 (nps.gov)

The 757 wilderness areas within the NWPS are managed by all four Federal land managing agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service. To learn more about the Wilderness Act and the NWPS, visit the University of Montana’s wilderness.net.

The Wilderness Institute, sponsored by numerous Federal agencies, organizations, and individuals, has planned a wide array of events and projects to commemorate this historic legislation. Check it out here.

The U.S. Government Printing Office offers access to an extensive variety of publications and resources related to the Wilderness Act.

We’ll start with the U.S. Government Bookstore. Interesting publications can be found grouped by agency here:

001-001-00686-6Of particular interest to this topic is a publication from the U.S. Forest Service: Wildland Fire in Ecosystems: Fire and Nonnative Invasive Plants. This 16-chapter publication was designed to help increase understanding of plant invasions and fire. The nonnative invasive species that pose the greatest threat for fires are described in detail. Also detailed are the emerging fire-invasive issues in each bioregion through the United States. This publication is the perfect resource for fire management and ecosystem-based management planning.

001-000-04738-8Another publication from the Forest Service, How a Tree Grows, describes the science of how leaves, roots, trunks, soil, and more work together to grow a tree.

024-001-03629-1Also an interesting publication related to this topic is Malheur’s Legacy: Celebrating a Century of Conservation, 1908-2008, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Southeast Oregon. This book tells the story of this Refuge’s first hundred years, as well as the story of the Native Americans who first inhabited the land, the early European settlers, how Theodore Roosevelt established it as a bird refuge, and the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. This amazing wildlife refuge is home to 320 species of birds and 58 mammal species. You’ll also want to check out the National Wildlife Refuge System: A Visitor’s Guide. It contains a map showing national wildlife refuges that provide recreational and educational opportunities and provides tips for visiting national wildlife refuges. The publication also lists refuges in all 50 States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and describes the best wildlife viewing season and features of each refuge.024-010-00724-9

For access to more Wilderness Act resources, you can visit GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP).

Through the CGP, you can access the U.S. Forest Service’s report, Keeping it Wild: an Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character across the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Interagency Wilderness Character Monitoring Team—representing the

Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Land Management, DOI Fish and Wildlife Service, DOI National Park Service, DOI U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Forest Service—offers in this document an interagency strategy to monitor trends in wilderness character across the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Also accessible through the CGP is The National Atlas of the United States of America. National Wilderness Preservation System, from the U.S. Geological Survey. This map of the National Wilderness Preservation System for the United States shows all designated Wilderness areas, and the color of each area depicts which of the Federal agencies administers the Wilderness. In addition to the map, insets on the front side show wilderness photos, a summary of the wilderness legacy, and quotes from citizens about what wilderness means to them. The back side of the map provides general information about the wilderness system in text, images, and sketches. In addition, a table lists acreage, year of establishment, and administrative information for each Wilderness.

GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) also offers resources related to the Wilderness Act:

You can also visit a Federal depository library near you to discover what other publications the Federal Government has to offer on the Wilderness Act, the NWPS, wildlife, and much more. Locations are nationwide. Find the Federal depository nearest you by visiting the Federal Depository Library Directory.

Cheers to the great American treasure that is the National Wilderness Preservation System! Happy 50th, and here’s to many more.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

In addition to clicking on the links in the article above to find the publications, you may find these publications from the following:

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Order by Phone: You may also order print editions by calling GPO’s  Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Kelly Seifert, Lead Planning Specialist for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Library Program.

 


The Capitol Building and Dome

August 26, 2014

From 1793 until today, the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. has been a topic of interest—and has been the subject of several Government publications! The Capitol dome is soon to be covered with scaffolding for two years for a restoration project, so let’s try to uncover some Capitol treasures before that happens.

Proposed scaffolding for Capitol dome restoration Architect of the Capitol

Proposed scaffolding for Capitol dome restoration
Architect of the Capitol

History of the Capitol

Representative Rufus Choate in 1833 came up with this idea: “We have built no national temples but the Capitol; we consult no common oracle but the Constitution.” Do you agree? You’ll find that quote as well as plenty more information about the building in the book History of the United States Capitol: A Chronicle of Design, Construction, and Politics, also known as S. Doc. 106-29 and part of the Congressional Committee Materials collection on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). If you’re a more down to earth person and want details on the cost of building the Capitol, check out Chapter 10 of H. Doc. 108-240, Glenn Brown’s History of the United States Capitol , also available on FDsys.

Capitol dome/Dome restoration

The Capitol dome is part of what makes it one of the most recognizable buildings in the country—but did you know it is not the first dome that was on the building? The current dome was designed by Thomas U. Walter and built over 150 years ago, from 1855-1866. The first dome was designed by Charles Bulfinch and finished in 1824. The last time the dome was restored was 1959-1960, and the cast iron now has more than 1,000 cracks, so it’s about to get restored in a two-year project.

Capitol in 1834 with Bulfinch dome Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/pictures)/item/2002711965/>

Capitol in 1834 with Bulfinch dome
Library of Congress

Capitol artwork

What about inside the building? The National Statuary Hall Collection has two statues from every U.S. state, and H.R. 5711 was introduced in the 111th Congress (2010) to allow U.S. territories to furnish statues for the hall too. Illinois was the first state to send a statue of a woman —educator and reformer Frances E. Willard’s statue was installed in 1905.

Restoring the Dome Architect of the Capitol

Restoring the Dome
Architect of the Capitol

To Make Beautiful the Capitol: Rediscovering the Art of Constantino Brumidi

brumidi-to-make-beautiful-the-capitolThe Capitol also contains striking artwork by Constantino Brumidi. This Italian artist came to the United States when he was almost fifty years old. Brumidi embraced American history and the United States, signing himself “C. Brumidi Artist Citizen of the U.S.” on one of his Capitol frescoes. Read more about Brumidi and his work in To Make Beautiful the Capitol: Rediscovering the Art of Constantino Brumidi, Constantino Brumidi: Artist of the Capitol, or at the Architect of the Capitol’s Web site.

North Brumidi Corridor Architect of the Capitol

North Brumidi Corridor
Architect of the Capitol

Fun facts and more

S.R. 7, 40th Congress, 1867 Library of Congress

S.R. 7, 40th Congress, 1867
Library of Congress

For those who like historical tidbits (and cider), check out joint resolution S.R. 7 from 1867 prohibiting alcoholic beverages in the Capitol . . . or the 2011 hearing on “Nuclear Energy Risk Management” before a House committee which says the granite of the Capitol building means it has “some of the highest radiation levels in all of the United States, about 85 millirem per year.” (But don’t worry, cross-examination reveals that that level is just “normal radiation exposures from natural background.”) And finally, for even more detail, historical facts, and great images, don’t forget to check out the fabulous Web site of the Architect of the Capitol – they are experts on this fascinating building!

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

In addition to clicking on the links in the article above to find the publications, you may find these publications from the following:

Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Order by Phone: You may also order print editions by calling GPO’s  Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

About the author: Lara Otis is an Outreach Librarian for the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Library Services & Content Management (LSCM) Division.


Education Statistical Resources from the Federal Government

August 19, 2014

With the start of a new school year just around the corner, Government Book Talk takes a look at two recently released publications from the Department of Education that examine the latest trends and developments in American education.

The Condition of Education 2013 and the Digest of Education Statistics 2012,which are currently available from the GPO Bookstore, provide important statistical data on the progress of education in the United States.

065-000-01438-6_2The Condition of Education 2013 focuses on 42 indicators in the subject areas of population characteristics, participation in education, elementary and secondary education, and postsecondary education. Each indicator covers important developments and key indicators such as economic outcomes, preprimary education, school characteristics and climate, and finance and resources.

The report also features easy-to-read charts and graphs to illustrate the current trends within each indicator. For example, the chart below from the book illustrates trends in employment rates by age group and education attainment for 2012. According to the chart, in 2012, the employment rate for young adults was 87 percent for those with at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 75 percent for those whose educational attainment was some college, 64 percent for high school graduates, and 48 percent for those who did not complete high school. Further analysis of the chart points out that older students that did not complete school—those aged 25-34 and 25-64 did slightly better in comparison to their younger counterparts, however, were still employed at a significantly lower rate than those with additional education. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

conditions employment chart 2012In addition to trends in employment rates by educational attainment, this year’s report focuses on kindergarten entry status, the status of rural education, and financing postsecondary education in the United States.

065-000-01439-4The Digest of Education Statistics 2012 provides a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from pre-kindergarten through graduate school. Like the Condition of Education, the data in this annual report was drawn from government and private sources, but especially from surveys and other activities led by NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) part of the Institute for Education Sciences (IES). The digest contains information on the number of schools, students, and teachers, as well as statistics on educational attainment, finances, libraries, technology, and international comparisons. Details on population trends, education attitudes, labor force characteristics, and federal aid supplies helpful background for evaluating the education data.

In addition to updating many of the statistics that have appeared in previous years, this edition contains new material, including:

  • Percentage distribution of 6- to 18-year olds, by parent’s highest level of educational attainment, household type (either two-parent or single-parent), and child’s race/ethnicity (table 12)
  • Enrollment and percentage distribution of enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity and region (table 44)
  • Number and percentage of public school students participating in programs for English language learners, by state (table 47)
  • Children 3 to 21 years old served under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B, by age group and race/ethnicity (table 49)
  • Percentage of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children enrolled in preprimary programs, by attendance status, level of program, and selected child and family characteristics (table 57)
  • Number and enrollment of public elementary and secondary schools that have closed, by school level and type (table 109)
  • Number and percentage distribution of public school students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, by school level, locale, and student race/ethnicity (table 112)

This statistical reference could be helpful to parents choosing schools for their children as well as for teachers, librarians, and public administrators as it tracks enrollment, population trends and key areas of studies with student progress.

How can I get these publications on education statistics?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these and other publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for these in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications or CGP.

About the author: Trudy Hawkins is a writer and marketing specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).


Commemorate the Centennial of the Panama Canal

August 12, 2014
Roosevelt on a digging machine During Construction in 1906 (Library of Congress)

Roosevelt on a digging machine During Construction in 1906 (Library of Congress)

On August 15, 1914 the Panama Canal officially opened, and the SS Ancón was the first vessel to pass through. This August marks the 100th Anniversary of the Panama Canal. Congress began to consider a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the 1880s. It was determined essential for commerce and defense. There are several online guides commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Canal. You can follow 100 Days in Honor of 100 Years with a countdown to the anniversary and posts about significant moments in history from the Embassy of the United States in Panama. Also check out the online resource guide from a GPO partner, Panama and the Canal that is a joint project from the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries and the Panama Canal Museum. It contains a wealth of information about digital history records, maps, and documents. To celebrate the Centennial, University of Florida has put together a Web site about special exhibits and the anniversary.

History

Signing of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty from Embassy of the United States Panama

Signing of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty from Embassy of the United States Panama (http://panama.usembassy.gov)

After much debate on where to build the canal, on February 23, 1904, a Senate Resolution ratified the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, which gave the United States control of the Canal Zone in perpetuity. This overruled an earlier treaty, The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, which was negotiated with the British in 1850 to stop hostilities in Latin America over control of a Canal Zone. That treaty agreed the countries would work together towards the goal of a Canal. (A statue of John Middleton Clayton stands in the U.S. Capitol as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.)

Official Panama Canal HandbookOnce Panama was agreed as the location and the U.S. determined to go the project alone, construction continued on an attempt in the 1880s by a French Expedition to build a canal through Panama. An overview of the history of the building of the Canal is available on the U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian Web site.

Some Official Handbooks from early days of the Canal are available online. See the 1913 edition or the 1915 edition available from the depository collection of the University of Florida, or this 1911 edition from the Internet Archive. You can also visit Federal depository libraries nationwide to see what documents are available in their collections.

The Library of Congress Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room provides some links to history and some historic articles about the Canal.

Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos at the ceremony for signing the Panama Canal Treaty (1977) - U.S. Department of State

Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos at the ceremony for signing the Panama Canal Treaty (1977) – U.S. Department of State

The Panama Canal was administered by the United States until 2000 when control was passed back to the Republic of Panama. This was set as an agreement signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, The Panama Canal Treaty and Neutrality Treaty.

Honoring The Past By Building The FutureIn 1989, a publication was produced to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Canal. You can read Honoring the Past by Building the Future: The Panama Canal 75th Anniversary online through GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. It contains some great photographs, and information about the history and vision of the future of the Canal.

Legislation

Several Hearings have been held and legislation passed on Canal construction and management. Hearings about the project have been held in Congress since the beginning in the 1850s. You can visit a Federal depository library to research the legislative history. You’ll find reports such as the 1909 Hearing concerning estimates for construction of the Isthmian Canal, fiscal year 1911.

In 1986, a briefing report was submitted to the House of Representatives from the Government Accountability Office to study alternatives to the Canal in preparation for returning control of the zone to the Republic of Panama. In 1999 a Hearing before the Committee on Armed Forces discussed the Security of the Panama Canal. In 2002 an agreement between the U.S. and Panama was signed to outline response and assistance in responding to environmental issues that would impede trade and commerce in the Canal. A 2014 Hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation discussed what expansion of the Canal will mean for American freight and infrastructure.

The Panama Canal Commission was established in 1979 as an independent agency, purposed with operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The commission was transferred to the Republic of Panama with control of the Canal in 2000. The Federal Register has a list of the Panama Canal Commission publications available in electronic format back to 1994. You can also access some documents in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, such as the Constitutional Title of the Panama Canal and the Organic Law Panama Canal Authority from 1997. Some of the commission reports are also available, such as the 10 year report (1980-1989).

In addition to the Panama Canal Commission records, The National Archives holds many records from the Panama Canal. This blog post from 2013 discusses the employee services records cards collection, and this blog post discusses a component of the personnel files that can be mined for genealogy and other research.

Several amendments and pieces of legislation can be found in the documents at Federal depository libraries, or through a search in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. You could also browse GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). Just last year a resolution was put to the House (H.R. 2760) to celebrate the centennial of the Panama Canal by minting commemorative coins.

GPO’s FDsys has a wide array of documents related to the Canal:

Panama Canal in the Federal Register:

Role in Trade

The Panama Canal has always been intended as an economic resource. You can see from this report, Panama Canal traffic and tolls from 1912 that the value in commerce and trade were at the forefront of reasons for the U.S. to invest in the project. For more about the role of the canal in trade, check out U.S. Free Trade Agreements: 20 Ways to Grow Your Business, available from the GPO Bookstore in print or eBook. It includes a chapter on Panama and discusses trade through the Canal.

This January 2000 report, The Panama Canal in Transition: implications for U.S. Agriculture, discusses the impact of the Canal transition on U.S. Agriculture. The total volume of trade between the U.S. and Panama reached $10.5 Billion in 2012, according to a fact sheet on this important economic partnership from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce article also links to a discussion on the Panama Canal Expansion Project from the Acting Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank.

The U.S. – Panama Trade Promotion Agreement was signed in 2011. It is an expansive free trade agreement and covers trade in goods and services, including financial services. You can read more about the agreement on the Office of the United States Trade Representative Web site. The U.S. Trade Representative Web site has a useful key facts page about U.S. – Panama Relations. The White House Web site also has a fact sheet about U.S. – Panama Relations.

For further reading, see this article in Environmental Health Perspectives from the National Institutes of Health about the Canal Expansion and its impact on Port Cities.

Role in Health

The building of the Panama Canal was a massive undertaking by the United States. A historical vignette from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Web site discusses the project’s chief engineer, George W. Goethais. In addition to feats of engineering, the project involved overcoming the diseases common in tropical regions. You can read about Public Health in Panama in the early 20th Century in this Public Health Report available on PubMed Central, The Public Health Service in the Panama Canal: A Forgotten Chapter of U.S. Public Health. You can also read the 1906 Short Account of the Sanitary Department of the Isthmian Canal Commission from PubMed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a fascinating article about the Panama Canal within its online resource about Malaria.

The Isthmian Canal Commission was created to oversee construction of the Panama Canal. Some of the Reports of the Department of Health of the Panama Canal may be available in Federal depository libraries. Some are also available online. For more about the commission, check out the 1911 publication Executive Orders relating to the Isthmian Canal Commission: March 1904 to June 12, 1911, inclusive. The Commission also authorized schools in the Canal Zone. Check out this Library of Congress finding aid to locate records in those collections about the Isthmian Canal Commission.

Role in War

The Panama Canal is a strategic passage for commerce, but also for military maneuvering by the United States. During times of war, the Canal Zone has been an important passage way and has been strategically guarded by the U.S. Military. The United States Army in World War 2, Western Hemisphere, Guarding the United States and its Outposts includes a section on the role of the Panama Canal in World War 2 and the military efforts to guard this important transportation and commercial outpost.

Submarines in the Panama Canal (1914-1918) - North Carolina Digital Collections

Submarines in the Panama Canal (1914-1918) – North Carolina Digital Collections

Construction of the Panama Canal included immense effort from the U.S. Military. The Panama Canal: An Army’s Enterprise is available in Paperback and ePub from the GPO Bookstore. This pamphlet describes the military history of the Canal and the efforts of Army officers to bring the Canal to completion.

The future of the Canal

Image of the Panama Canal Today (Department of Transportation)

Image of the Panama Canal Today (Department of Transportation)

The Panama Canal is undergoing an expansion, set to be completed in 2015. The U.S. Department of Transportation released a report in 2013, Panama Canal Expansion Phase 1 Report: Developments of Trade and National and Global Economies. This article from the U.S. Department of Transportation provides a short summary of the report. You can read more about the expansion project from the Canal De Panamà Web site.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy featured publications in this article (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Click Here to Purchase The Panama Canal: An Army’s Enterprise

Click Here to Purchase United States Army in World War 2, Western Hemisphere, Guarding the United States and Its Outposts

Click Here to Purchase U.S. Free Trade Agreements: 20 Ways to Grow Your Business

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for these in a nearby Federal depository library.

About the author: Cathy Wagner is an outreach librarian with the Education & Outreach team in the Library Services & Content Management (LSCM) division at the Government Printing Office.


50 Years of Progress: Smoking and Health

August 4, 2014

smoking

 

The time when it was acceptable for cigarette smoke to fill offices, movie theaters, and airplanes is long forgotten and now used to set historical scenes like on the television series Mad Men. Smoking on the CBS Evening News like Walter Cronkite did is considered taboo today.

However the dangers of smoking and long term effects on health began to reach the public conscience during that 1960s timeframe. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. Released in 1964 during a time when smoking was common place, the health community started recognizing trends in deaths caused by lung cancer and other diseases linked to tobacco use.

GPO has made the original, digitized version of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health through the agency’s Federal Digital System (FDsys): http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-SMOKINGANDHEALTH/pdf/GPO-SMOKINGANDHEALTH.pdf

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the report, the Department of Health and Human Services released The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress and a companion summary booklet. The report is nearly 1,000 pages long, but the companion booklet at only 20 pages makes for an informative read. Designed with eye catching infographics, the booklet is a string of statistics and information on diseases related to smoking. There is a 50-year timeline across the bottom of the pages that shows the progress made on raising awareness on the harmful effects of smoking.

Some timeline highlights:

1964 – The Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health is released and 42% of American adults smoke.
1966 – The United States is the first country to require warning labels on cigarettes.
1970 – Congress bans cigarette ads on TV and radio.
1975 – The Army and Navy stop providing cigarette rations to troops.
1986 – The Surgeon General releases a report dedicated the health effects of secondhand smoke.
1990 – Congress makes domestic airline flights smoke-free.
1994 – Tobacco company executives testify before Congress that they believe nicotine is not addictive.
2010 – Half of U.S. states and DC adopt smoke-free laws.
2014 – Fifty years after the release of the Smoking and Health Report, 18% of American adults smoke.

It is evident that life-saving progress has been made and various efforts to inform and educate the public on the harmful effects of smoking have worked. Nevertheless 500,000 people die each year from tobacco-related diseases so there is still work to be done.

no smoking

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

  • Shop Online Anytime: You can buy this and other publications with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov/
  • Buy Let\’s Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free: Your Guide to the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General\’s Report on Smoking and Health http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/017-023-00228-7
  • Download the eBook version of The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General (Full Report) in ePub or Mobi (Kindle) formats for free http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/017-300-00010-5?ctid=!1
  • Download The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General Executive Summary in ePub or Mobi (Kindle) formats for free http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/017-300-00008-3?ctid=!1
  • Download The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Supplemental Evidence Tables in ePub or Mobi (Kindle) formats for free http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/017-300-00012-1?ctid=!1
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for these in a nearby Federal depository library.

About the Author: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs.


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