As a college librarian, I often hear stressed-out students searching for primary sources say, "I'll take anything." Don't settle for just anything. There is a treasury of primary source material available electronically. Peruse my selection of 200-plus primary source sites by conducting a keyword search, exploring the tag cloud at left, or browsing by historical era. You can also visit my Delicious and Diigo sites to review my bookmarks. Here's hoping you find what you're looking for.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Weddings: Past and Present

On July 29, 1981, I set my alarm clock for some crazy time so I could get up before the sun and watch hour upon hour of royal wedding coverage. I remember my high school friends being similarly fascinated by Charles and Di’s nuptials. Tomorrow, I have no intention of getting up before dawn to watch William and Kate get married, and while they’re exchanging vows at Westminster Abbey, I’ll be at the reference desk. However, I do admit to doing a fair amount of Royal Wedding web surfing over the past week or so. Whatever your opinions about the Monarchy and its surrounding pomp, the sites below might give you some appreciation for the rich history of royal weddings.

British History Online features the minutes of a December, 1891 meeting of the Council of Cardiff. During that session, members unanimously voted to heartily congratulate their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales upon the betrothal of their son and heir, His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence and Avondale and Earl of Athlone, to Her Serene Highness Princess Victoria Mary of Teck.

Browse through earlier records and you’ll discover an entry from the Calendar of Treasury Books from 1734. It provides an overview of several bills and other expenses for the “Princess Royal's wearing apparel and other necessaries for Her Royal Highness's wedding, managed by the Right Honourable the Countess of Suffolk as Mistress of the Robes to Her Majesty. “ It goes on the list the price of goods imported from France as well as those purchased from England. It also details the costs of handkerchiefs, flowers and buckles. Those figures were certainly related to the March 25, 1734 wedding of Anne, Princess Royal, daughter of George II, to William IV of Orange at the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace

I also downloaded “Royal Weddings” The Royal Collection’s first official Royal App. I can’t say it provided $2.99 in entertainment value, but I considered it an investment in research. The narration and animation was a bit uninspired, but it did feature some amazing photographs from The Royal Collection that date from Victoria and Albert’s 1840 nuptials to William and Kate’s planned wedding. The Royal Collection includes paintings, drawings and watercolors, furniture, ceramics, clocks, silver, sculpture, jewelry, books, manuscripts, prints and maps, arms and armor, fans, and textiles and is held in trust by the Queen.

The picture above shows Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (1709-59). It comes from The Royal Collection.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster

Today, the one yearanniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, relatives of the 11 men who perished in that blast will fly over the site of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. That disaster led to the worst oil spill in U.S. History and had devastating environmental effects in the water and along the shores of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. A wealth of resources are available that detail the scope of the spill, the effectiveness of the cleanup effort and the ongoing impact. Some of that information can be found at , which is described as “official federal portal for the Deepwater BP oil spill response and recovery. This site provides the public with information on the response, current operations, news and updates, how to file a claim and obtain other assistance, and links to federal, state and local partners.” Additional information can be found at the Federal Department of the Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service.
The photo above of the Deepwater Horizon explosion comes from the National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration.