“In case you were wondering, our sixth president really knew how to write a nice rejection letter. Taking up precisely a full page with neat, handwritten script, John Quincy Adams politely and eloquently declined an invitation to attend a Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society event in the late 1830s, citing his flagging health during a sweltering heat wave. No one might have ever known it, if not for Plainfield Public Library archivist Jeff Wassen — who said he knew the letter was part of the library’s huge collection of historic archives, but forgot about it to some degree before recently rediscovering it.” (via MyCentralJersey.com)
“It was the conundrum that baffled some of the greatest and most eccentric experts of the 18th century – and captivated the British public during an era of unprecedented scientific and technical transformation. Now, for the first time, the full story of attempts to solve the longitude problem – unravelling the lone genius myth popularised in film and literature – will be made freely available to everyone via Cambridge University’s Digital Library. Launched today, the complete archive of the Board of Longitude, held by Cambridge University Library and associated National Maritime Museum collections, will take their place alongside the works of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton on the Cambridge Digital Library site.” (via Jisc)
“The following is a guest post by Matthew Braun, Senior Legal Research Specialist at the Law Library of Congress. Matt has posted to the blog previously: most recently Taking the Reference Desk on the Road and Orphan Works and Fair Use in a Digital Age. For more than six years, the Law Library of Congress has been collecting images of select legal blogs on a monthly basis. The Legal Blawg Archive was created so that the legal events detailed and analyzed in the blogs of today can be studied for years to come. Now this archive is available in an updated user interface making the collection more attractive and engaging.” (via In Custodia Legis)
“Confusion and anger over a major, secretly brokered deal between Library and Archives Canada and a private high-tech consortium heightened Wednesday amid damage-control efforts by archive officials who say the deal is a good one. Details of the project, revealed late Tuesday by the Ottawa Citizen, would see Library and Archives hand over millions of publicly-owned books and documents to Canadiana.com which, in exchange, will get a 10-year exclusive licence to sell it in sophisticated digital format.” (via Ottawa Citizen.
“April 15 can be a taxing day for all of us living in modern times, but our ancestors didn’t have it much easier. Although our federal income tax only dates back to the Civil War era, Tennesseans have been paying state and local taxes since long before then. Now Tennessee tax records dating back to 1783 are available free online to Tennesseans, thanks to a partnership between the Tennessee State Library and Archives and Ancestry.com. The online database contains records from 71 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Famous notables like Andrew Jackson (who paid $66 in taxes to Davidson County in 1829) appear side by side with ordinary farmers, millers and laborers.” (via Tennessee Department of State)