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Northern Opposition to the Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad consisted of a collection of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century enslaved American people to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause.

Several earlier (pre-Revolutionary War) routes existed for getting slaves away, but the network now generally known as the Underground Railroad was formed in the early 19th century, and reached its height between 1850 and 1860. One estimate suggests that by 1850, 100,000 slaves had escaped via the “Railroad”.

Following Union victory in the Civil War, on December 6, 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution outlawed slavery. After its passage, in some cases the Underground Railroad operated in the opposite direction, as fugitives returned to the United States.

There were people opposed to the work done by these people as you can see in this article reprinted in the National Anti-Slavery Standard in 1858.


From The Syracuse Courier:

“Several prominent citizens of New York are soon to be exposed as “freight agents” on the Underground Railroad. Perhaps it may leak out that some of the “conductors” reside in this city.” — Washington Union

This announcement of the Washington Union should appear under the head of “Important if true.” We are at a loss to conceive how it has been possible, thus far, for the U. S. authorities in this vicinity, or those civil magistrates of the State of New York who have taken up the oath to support the Constitution of the State of New York, and to discharge the duties of their respective offices to the best of their ability, to ignore the flagrant outrages upon the Constitution and Laws of the United States which are not only perpetrated, but publicly applauded by prominent citizens of Syracuse.

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.


Godey’s Presidential Profiles: John Quincy Adams

Louis A. Godey established Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830 in Philadelphia. Initially, it included mainly articles clipped from British women’s magazines and hand-coloured plates reproducing fashions of the day. Wanting to provide more original content by American authors, Godey bought the Boston Ladies’ Magazine in January 1837 and invited its editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, to edit the revamped publication.

For the next 40 years, Hale and Godey commissioned fiction, poetry, and essays almost exclusively from American writers. Among the distinguished authors on the magazine’s literary pages were Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

In the 1880s, Godey’s Lady’s Book featured monthly series of profiles on American presidents. This was the magazine’s item on John Quincy Adams.


John Quincy Adams, the son of Washington’s successor, and heir to an illustrious name, was born in Massachusetts, July 11, 1767, but in his early youth, having accompanied his father on an embassy to Europe, he had all the advantages of foreign travel and a protracted residence at Paris.

He developed a fine literary taste as he grew older, and became a professor of rhetoric in Harvard University, having first engaged in politics to a mild extent. His political career was interrupted by the election of Thomas Jefferson, but he soon abandoned his academical post to pursue it again, and was elected to the Senate by Massachusetts as a strong representative of the Federal party. Later on his views were modified, and he partially fraternized with Madison’s party. During the latter’s administration he was sent on a mission to Russia, and afterward to England, where he took part in the negotiations of peace then pending, and became the adviser of the deputies sent from America to Ghent.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.


College Football’s Call to the Millions

College football season is upon us and many will be sitting in the stands or watching the televised play-by-play — a great diversion from the ongoing political battles in this election year. Much has changed in college football since the early days of “mob ball” in the early 19th century. It was not until the 1860s that rules were put into effect to standardize the game, but football remained a college sport. By the turn of the century, college football had expanded from the early Ivy League teams to include schools from coast to coast. Football dynasties came into being and players’ names became as popular as Baseball’s greats.

The Frank Leslie’s Weekly article below provides a look at college football in 1920. Following the First World War, athletes that had been in uniform rejoined their college football teams and the American public needed a diversion from the stress of war, home front shortages, and or an opportunity to enjoy a little leisure time.

The 1920 college football season saw an astounding number of fans sitting in the stands, cheering their team on to victory! College football reached new heights in popularity, partly due to the rise in the number of men and women attending college and partly due to the increase in the number of non-college local fans.

This Frank Leslie’s article illuminates the growing place of football in American popular culture. Faculty, students, and scholars interested in critically considering the role sports play in American culture, will find this article and Frank Leslie’s Weekly, a treasure trove of primary source information.

October 21, 1921 - An airplane snapshot of the Yale “Bowl” taken during a minor football game.

October 21, 1921 – An airplane snapshot of the Yale “Bowl” taken during a minor football game.

Football’s Call to the Millions

“WHEN more than 3,000,000 persons turn out in a single day to see the game of football played in various places throughout the United States, as they did recently, no argument need be advanced that this sport has attained a popularity which places it in public favor second only to the nation’s pastime, baseball. And if the governing forces of the latter fail to purge it of the crooks who have brought it into disrepute—and I mean the contract-jumpers and contract-breakers, slippery players and tricky managers who succeed in “beating the rules,” as well as the moral defectives who threw games for a price— football will become the premier favorite of America’s sport lovers.

In fact, if the gridiron game could be played in summer, baseball would have opposition which would give it a fearful jolt, and the millions of dollars which now go toward the support of the splendid college game would pass through the ticket windows at the ball parks.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.
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Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Saving our Young Girls

The Revolution, a weekly women’s rights newspaper, was the official publication of the National Woman Suffrage Association formed by feminists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to secure women’s enfranchisement through a federal constitutional amendment. Published between January 8, 1868 and February, 1872, The Revolution was edited by Stanton and Parker Pillsbury.

Our Young Girls

From the mass of women, with their shriveled bodies and brains, we have little to hope in the regeneration of the race. Philosophers, physicians, and principals of girl’s schools alike testify to the degeneracy of American women. It is a fact not to be winked out of sight. We ask our readers to look through their whole circle of friends and see if they can find one mother of a family healthy, vigorous, happy, high-toned in mind and body. With varied occupation and a rigid observance of the laws of health, their condition might be improved, their pains and sorrows ameliorated, and life made comparatively happy to the end. But for a Revolution in the whole life of the race, for a new and higher type of womanhood, we must look to the young girls of our day.

Corsets for Misses

Corsets for Misses

If we would change our homes from what they now are, mere hospitals for the diseased and dissatisfied, to retreats of joy and rest; our wives from fretful invalids to vigorous companions in the world of thought and work; our children from whining skeletons to loving, happy angels at our firesides, we must lay the foundation now in the physical education of our girls.

The first step in this work is to make all women understand that suffering is not in harmony with God’s will. That every pain, sorrow and wrong is in violation of his law.

We have been taught that woman is the special object of God’s wrath and curse; that the fact of motherhood, so far from being her highest glory and exaltation, is her deepest sorrow and humiliation.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.



A Local View on America in the World War I Era

World War I greatly impacted all levels of American society. Industrial production increased, employment rose dramatically along with incomes, and cities and counties flourished. The Great Migration of African-Americans from the south to northern manufacturing cities reached its peak and when the U.S. entered the war, factories turned to women as a labor source. During this time as industry boomed, so did the economy. Under the President’s call for mobilization in 1916, State National Guard units were activated for service and state and local civilian organizations were created to carry out the activities of Federal agencies and committees.

11th District of the 14th Region, War Industries Board Resource and Conversion Section

11th District of the 14th Region, War Industries Board Resource and Conversion Section

As the war ended, and soldiers returned home, industrial production began to slow, and there was less need for workers in factories.  Many women stopped working, but even so, there were not enough jobs for soldiers returning home from Europe.  This rising unemployment after a time of industrial and economic prosperity planted the seeds of economic and social strife in urban and rural areas.

You will find military histories of Tulsa units, their military operations in Europe and Mexico, and lists of officers and those that died in the service. Maybe more interesting, you can find detailed information on the home front –civilian activities in support of military units raised locally, Federal, state and local governmental agencies and organizations, roles of women in the mobilization and war effort, maintenance of the economy, and efforts to protect the local population from radical and enemy propaganda .

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.