History’s Mysteries LLC is a researching firm setting out to uncover answers to your inquiries about history in Northeast Iowa, central to the Waterloo area in Black Hawk County. Our expertise lies in the research of real estate in Iowa and cemeteries in the Midwest as well as other areas of genealogical and ephemera research.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Library of Congress



Explore the Library of Congress and enjoy all the treasures! The recent episode of American Experience: The Poisoner’s Handbook, led me back to the Library of Congress website. I was intrigued by the images displayed on vintage medicine bottles and chemist advertising. Poisons were so proliferate in the early 20th century.
I had used the Library of Congress site occasionally through the years, yet I know I have underutilized all the knowledge the site beholds. Oh, how I wish I could visit in person, someday perhaps! The collection I have enjoyed the most has been the maps. This time around, I entered the daguerreotypes collection and entered my state, “Iowa” into the search. The only result that came up was an image for George Wallace Jones, whom I instantly recognized as a Senator whom changed the life outcome of one local pioneer I have researched extensively over the last decade.
            In the past, the ease of maneuvering the LOC website was in my experience, the downfall of the site. It appears to be improving, but it always seemed to yield minimal results, if any. I recall in the past even having difficulty finding the same results upon a return search with the numerous portals navigating the archive.
            The Rare Book Collection offers some unique specimens. At the top appeared a reward poster for the murderer of Abraham Lincoln. The $100,000.00 reward offered would be equivalent to roughly $1.5 million today! The poster was issued by the War Department and bears photos of Surrat, Booth and Harold. The reward was $50,000.00 for Booth and $25,000.00 each for Surrat and Harold. I had not been familiar with Surrat and Harold, so figure this is the time to learn!
            A quick search shows David Harold is actually David Herold. There are numerous online accounts of the conspirators involved with Lincoln’s assassination, such as this one by the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
            Back to The Poisoner’s Handbook - what a fascinating episode! I was not aware that the government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition. The film states that in the eyes of Dr. Charles Norris, the plague of Prohibition comes to realization1.
According to the video, Norris’ motto from a Viennese morgue was placed on the new Chief Medical Examiner building in New York. The translation from Latin means “Let conversation cease, let laughter flee, this is the place where death delights to help the living.”2


     1 “The Poisoner’s Handbook,” American Experience, 7 January 2014, Adobe Flash format, Public Broadcasting Service. American Experience, (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/film/poisoners/ : accessed 9 January 2014), time 1:07:50.
     2 “The Poisoner’s Handbook,” time 1:50:52. 

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