Category Archives: Everyday Life

“The Memorable Stone-Wall”: A local dispatch about the Battle of Cedar Mountain

In August of 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee led a campaign against Major General John Pope and the Army of Virginia. We know it now as the Northern Virginia Campaign. A letter in our archive discusses the aftermath of … Continue reading

A (Leap) Day in the Life: February 29

It’s been a while since we did a survey of Acumen‘s contents by taking a look at just one day. There have been fewer February 29ths than other days of the year, but, as with any other snapshot view, items from that date reveal a … Continue reading

A Day in the Life: August 25

Archives give us a chance to look at the world in a lot of different ways, through lenses big and small. Today, we take a cross section of life on this date, August 25, across the decades. From 1840 to … Continue reading

A Day in the Life: June 1

Here’s a slice of life from June 1st over the last 170 some-odd years, representing a cross-section of materials from the digital archive — from the serious to the silly, the magical to the mundane.

A Slice of Life: The Helen Cline Papers

Who is Helen Cline? In the grand scheme of things, she’s not an important person from our nation’s past, but in a way she is: she is an example of the millions of “ordinary” people who make the world go … Continue reading

Alabama’s Jewish History

Did you know May is Jewish American Heritage Month? You may not: it’s a new commemoration, proclaimed by President Bush in 2006. Alabama, like much of the South, is not known for having a large Jewish population, yet Jewish Americans have … Continue reading

Cartes de visite: More than just photographs

Recently, we digitized a large collection of cartes de visite, a mid 19th century photography phenomenon that featured albumen prints mounted on heavy paper or cardstock. Here are some examples — click on each image to see it up close, complete with the photography studio … Continue reading

Family Pets, part one: Cats

While our collections document some important local, national, and international history, they also chronicle the lives of individual families, giving us insight into the everyday lives of Americans over the last couple of centuries. It’s no surprise that a big … Continue reading

Family Pets, part two: Dogs

As promised, a return to family pets, this time a look at man’s best friend. All of these images come from the expansive Woodward Family photo collection or from one of the numerous Wade Hall photograph collections. (See this entry … Continue reading

Food, Glorious Food!

By guest blogger Alex Olkovsky, a graduate student in American Studies While many collections in our archives contain business and legal documents, there are also numerous focused on people’s daily and domestic lives. Unsurprisingly, these collections are where we can … Continue reading