News Display: Library of Congress Is Established, Tuesday, 4/24Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events from an educational context. Be sure to check the news postings on Learning at the Library, where you can delve into history.
The Library of Congress, our nation's oldest federal institution, was established on April 24, 1800, when President John Adams signed an Act of Congress. The legislation provided for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington, D.C. Within, Adams appropriated $5,000 "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress ..., and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them...." Thomas Jefferson signed into law the position of Librarian of Congress, first held by John James Beckley, and a Joint Committee on the Library, to administer and manage the collection. Jefferson donated his own personal collection when the Library of Congress was burnt to the ground by British troops in 1814.
On April 7, 1770, William Wordsworth, one of the founders of Romantic poetry and poet laureate of England, was born in Cockermouth, Cumbria, near the Lake District. He was one of five orphaned siblings. Although his interest in writing became evident at school and during his years at The University of Cambridge, Wordsworth's poetry was not published until 1793, following time abroad in France and Switzerland. His collaboration with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, another poet who greatly admired his work, led to the publication of Lyrical Ballads (1798) which marked the beginning of the Romantic Movement. The Prelude, Wordsworth's great autobiographical poem was published after the poet's death in 1850.
Late in the evening of April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic, a large and luxurious ocean liner that had departed from Southhampton, England four days earlier, struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. The collision damaged the ship's hull, comprised of 16 compartments believed to be watertight; five compartments on the starboard side ruptured -- causing Titanic to sink. Coupled with the lack of lifeboats and emergency procedures, the disaster led to the death of more than 1,500 passengers and crew. This tragedy paved the way for for new maritime laws ensuring safety of vessels; including improvements in ship design (building of double hulls and heightened watertight bulkheads); the provision of sufficient lifeboats; mandated use of SOS as code; and international ice patrol.
Caused by a slip on the San Andreas Fault, the great San Francisco Earthquake occurred around 5:15 am on April 18, 1906, with a magnitude of close to 8 on the Richter scale. The earthquake, which lasted less than one minute, devastated the city of San Francisco, with wide spread building collapses and fires -- killing as many as 3,000 people. Shock waves were felt as far as southern Oregon to Los Angeles. The death toll proved the greatest in the history of natural disasters in California and one of the highest in America.
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