June 21 marks the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Children and adults look forward to the beginning of the season and to beating its heat with rites of summer such as swimming and eating ice cream. The date on which the season commences, the summer solstice, is the longest day of the year and the moment when the perceived pattern of the sun is farthest from the equator.

Man and Woman Floating on Their Backs in Water. [between 1900 and 1915]. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

‘Tis pleasant in the summertime,
To feel a cooling breeze,
And hear the songsters sing so fine,
From bush and bough and trees….

Summer Breezes.” Leonard Marshall, composer; New York: Ditson, C.H. & Co., 1885. Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1870 to 1885. Music Division

Swimming Pool Created by CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Dam, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Edwin Rosskam, photographer, July 1941. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-And-White Negatives. Prints & Photographs Division
Homemade Swimming Pool for Steelworkers’ Children, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Arthur Rothstein, photographer, July 1938. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-And-White Negatives. Prints & Photographs Division
Calhoun Beach, Minneapolis. C.J. Hibbard, c1915. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

The collection, American Life Histories, Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940 abounds with summer recollections:

On hot summer days we’d have fights, arguing over who’d claim the pool for the day, the boys or the girls. The boys used to go without their suits…

Living on the Hill.” Ann, interviewee; Mari Tomasi, interviewer; Vermont, 1940. American Life Histories, Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940. Manuscript Division

No, I does not swim. I goes to beach to maka meditations. How you thinka I look in swim suit? Hah! I am no longer so young and handsome. De childrens woulda think I was de little whale.

Interview with Vito Cacciola #29.” Merton R. Lovett, interviewer; Connecticut, Feb 28, 1939. American Life Histories, Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940. Manuscript Division

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Japanese Troops Defeated on Okinawa

On June 21, 1945, Japanese troops were defeated on the Pacific island of Okinawa after one of the longest and bloodiest battles of World War II. Having seized the Ryukyu Islands from Japanese control, the United States next prepared to launch an onslaught against the Japanese mainland.

Japanese Soldier. Photograph by U. S. Signal Corps, 1942. Prints & Photographs Division

In September 1940, Japan allied itself with Germany and Italy to form the Axis powers and established a base in French Indochina. One year later, Japan moved troops to southern French Indochina and was poised to move against the Netherlands Indies, seeking to acquire an oil source.

When the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands placed an embargo on oil exports to Japan, that country responded quickly with an attack against the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor. Japanese military forces occupied the Philippines, the Netherlands Indies, Malaya, and Singapore in rapid succession, and invaded Burma and Thailand, achieving its goal of complete control of the South Pacific.

We’ll Lick ‘Em—Just Give Us the Stuff!” U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943. Prints & Photographs Division

In the meantime, however, the United States had mobilized its industrial and economic resources. The Office of War Information, created in June 1942, generated a propaganda campaign to mobilize the manpower and the womanpower of the United States in support of the war effort.

During its offensive in the Pacific, Japan had captured many American and Filipino prisoners, who were enduring forced marches and cruelty in prisoner of war camps. Reports of these atrocities fueled American resolve to defeat Japan. The tide turned with the Battle of Midway in June 1942, at the northern tip of the Hawaiian islands, where the United States began its counteroffensive by air and sea, successfully crippling the Japanese fleet.

The U.S. strategy for conquering Japan was to capture a succession of weaker Japanese outposts, “island-hopping” toward the Japanese mainland. Slowly, in many bloody battles in the Pacific jungle, at Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands, the Philippines, and Iwo Jima, the U.S. forces wrested Pacific territory from the Japanese, island by island.

LSM’s Sending Rockets at Shores of Pokishi Shima, near Okinawa, Five Days Before Invasion. U.S. Navy photograph, May 21, 1945. Prints & Photographs Division

Okinawa was the last critical outpost the United States needed to reclaim before launching an attack on the Japanese home islands. As in the progressive invasion of the other Pacific Islands, the U.S. began the onslaught with a series of air attacks on Okinawa and islands nearby, from October 1944 to March 1945.

From this time until the end of the war, the Japanese responded with an intense and desperate effort, increasing the kamikaze attacks on American ships and other targets and introducing to these suicide missions a new weapon, the baka, a piloted missile. In these guided missiles, the pilot reached more than 600 miles per hour in his final dive, and crashed into his target with more than a ton of explosives built into the nose of the aircraft.

On April 1, 1945, some 60,000 U.S. troops landed on the beaches, where they met with little resistance. However, more than 77,000 Japanese troops of the 32d Army were on the island under the command of Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, who withdrew his soldiers to the southern section of the island where the Japanese held out for nearly three months—hiding in the jungle and in caves, and engaging the Americans in intense guerilla warfare. Some 12,000 American lives and 110,000 Japanese lives were lost in the campaign. To avoid the dishonor of enemy capture, General Ushijima committed ritual suicide on June 23 as approaching U.S. forces were mopping up pockets of Japanese resistance.

Crew Members of a Marine Torpedo Squadron Lugging Their Own Bags Across the Okinawa Airstrip… Corporal William Beall, photographer; U.S. Marine Corps, [1945]. Prints & Photographs Division
Marines Wait at Entrance to Cave in Which Japanese Soldiers Are Hiding. U.S. Marine Corps photo, 1945. Prints & Photographs Division
Major General Lemuel C. Shepherd…Seated on Shore, Studying Map of Okinawa. June 28, 1945. Prints & Photographs Division

Japan still refused to concede that World War II was over even after their defeat on Okinawa. The ultimate surrender of Japan to the Allies would be, according to Japanese cultural norms, an unthinkable dishonor. However, Japan was able to hold out less than two more months. Emperor Hirohito was forced into an unconditional surrender in August 1945 after the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were decimated by the United States’ new weapon of mass destruction, the atomic bomb.

Hirohito, Emperor of Japan…Wearing Imperial Regalia and Shinto Priest Headdress. U.S. War Department. Signal Corps, 1942. Prints & Photographs Division
Japanese POW at Guam…. U.S. Navy photo, Aug. 15, 1945. Prints & Photographs Division

Learn More

  • Search Today in History on World War II to find more related features, such as the Lend-Lease Act, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the landing of Allied Expeditionary Forces in North Africa, D-Day, and the Marshall Plan.
  • The Office of War Information (OWI), created on June 13, 1942, assigned its staff of photographers the task of documenting the nation’s mobilization for war. Search the collection Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives on Japanese to find photographs of the evacuation of Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast by U.S. Army war emergency order, and of life in the Japanese internment camps during World War II. Search on tank, plane, truck, bomber, army, food, or supplies to find more images related to the war effort on the home front.
  • Ansel Adams’s Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar document the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California and the Japanese Americans interned there during World War II.
  • After the Day of Infamy: “Man-on-the-Street” Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor presents approximately twelve hours of opinions recorded in the days and months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor from more than two hundred individuals in cities and towns across the United States.
  • Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training presents a window into the lives of American diplomats. Transcripts of interviews with U.S. diplomatic personnel capture their experiences, motivations, critiques, personal analyses, and private thoughts. Search, for example, on Okinawa.
  • Search the pictorial collections on the phrase war posters combined with a year, such as 1942, 1944,and so on, to find examples of posters from the war years urging American soldiers and civilians to persevere in their contribution to the fight.
  • The 442nd Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army was comprised of second-generation Japanese Americans (nisei). Search the pictorial collections on the term 442nd to view four photographs of soldiers of the unit at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, dancing with Japanese-American girls from a nearby relocation camp. Find out more about the 442nd Regiment by visiting the exhibition, A People at War, provided on the National Archives Web site.
  • Visit the exhibition Women Come to the Front. The section on Dorothea Lange includes an account of her photographs of the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans, as does the Today in History feature on Lange.
  • Bound for Glory: America in Color, color images taken by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, has vivid scenes and portraits that capture the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations, the nation’s subsequent economic recovery and industrial growth, and the country’s mobilization efforts for World War II.
  • Churchill and the Great Republic, an interactive exhibit, examines the life and career of Winston Spencer Churchill and emphasizes his lifelong links with the United States. The exhibit commemorates both the D-Day allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France during World War II and the death of Churchill.
  • For European Recovery: The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Marshall Plan is another online exhibit. This presentation includes links to key dates, texts, and drawings relating to the plan.
  • From the Home Front and the Front Lines, an exhibition of original materials and oral histories drawn from the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, emphasizes World War I (1914-18), World War II (1939-45), the Korean War (1950-53), the Vietnam War (1965-75), and the Persian Gulf War (1991), and includes photographs, diaries, correspondence, and maps.
  • World War II from American Treasures of the Library of Congress includes a variety of images relating to the war.
  • A Guide to World War II Materials provides links to World War II-related resources in the Library of Congress as well as to external sites.
  • Learn more about the history and political, economic and social systems of Japan. Read the online version of Japan: a country study. Browse the table of contents of the book or search on terms such as World War II or Pacific War to find more on this topic. The book also includes a bibliography on Japan. The Country Studies/Area Handbooks Series, prepared by the Library’s Federal Research Division, includes extensive coverage of 101 countries and regions.

Samuel Herman Gottscho and William Schleisner

On June 21, 1934, Samuel Herman Gottscho snapped this photograph of the north facade of the Nebraska state capitol in Lincoln, Nebraska. Born in 1875, Gottscho acquired his first camera in 1896. For many years he focused his camera on nature, but eventually he concentrated on formal architectural photography. Gottscho took pictures part-time until, after twenty-three years as a traveling salesman, he became a professional photographer at the age of fifty. Gottscho believed that he created some of his best work when he was seventy years old.

Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska… Samuel H. Gottscho, photographer, June 21, 1934. Gottscho-Schleisner Collection. Prints & Photographs Division
New York city views. View through loggia of Barbizon Hotel. Samuel H. Gottscho, photographer, June 11, 1932. Gottscho-Schleisner Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

William Schleisner (1912-62) joined Gottscho—his father-in-law–in his photography business in 1935; they worked together for many years. The Gottscho-Schleisner Collection, consists of more than 29,000 online negatives and photo transparencies (out of 45,000 items) taken by Gottscho and Schleisner and housed in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division. The images, primarily of architectural subjects, include interiors and exteriors of homes, stores, offices, factories, and historic buildings, located chiefly in the northeastern United States.

Learn More

  • Search Today in History on photographer to find features on Dorothea Lange, Mathew Brady, Gordon Parks, Walker Evans, and Louis Daguerre.
  • Many photographic collections held by the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division represent the work of one or two particular artists. Several of these collections, besides the work of Gottscho and Schleisner, are represented in the digital collections, among them:
  • The pictorial collections contain item records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and other units of the Library with new materials continuously added. Search by Subject, Contributor, or a specific collection.
  • Search in the Gottscho-Schleisner Collection on the name of any these presidents to find images of their homes: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, James Polk, Franklin Pierce, Martin Van Buren, Andrew Johnson, John Tyler, William Henry Harrison, Grover Cleveland, Teddy Roosevelt, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower.
  • To see images of Nebraska that contrast with those in the Gottscho-Schleisner collection both in artistic style and photographic medium, search on Nebraska in Panoramic Photographs. Another way to find images from a particular state is to browse the Locations index in this collection.

The First Battle of Bull Run

On July 21, 1861, a dry summer Sunday, Union and Confederate troops clashed outside Manassas, Virginia, in the first major engagement of the Civil War, the First Battle of Bull Run.

Battle field of Bull Run, Va. July 21st 1861, Showing the positions of both armies at 4 o’clock, P.M. [S.I., 1861]. Military Battles and Campaigns. Geography & Map Division

Union General Irvin McDowell hoped to march his men across a small stream called Bull Run in the vicinity of Manassas, Virginia, which was well-guarded by a force of Confederates under General P. G. T. Beauregard. McDowell needed to find a way across the stream and through the Southern line that stretched for over six miles along the banks of Bull Run.

McDowell launched a small diversionary attack at the Stone Bridge while marching the bulk of his force north around the Confederates’ left flank. The march was slow, but McDowell’s army crossed the stream near Sudley Church and began to march south behind the Confederate line. Some of Beauregard’s troops, recognizing that the attack at Stone Bridge was just a diversion, fell back just in time to meet McDowell’s oncoming force.

[Bull Run, Va. Matthews’ or the Stone House]. George N. Barnard, photographer, March 1862. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints.Prints & Photographs Division
[Cub Run, Va. View with Destroyed Bridge]. George N. Barnard, photographer, March 1862. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Prints & Photographs Division

The photographs above of the first Battle of Bull Run were not made at the time of the battle on July 21, 1861; the photographers had to wait until the Confederate Army evacuated Centreville and Manassas in March 1862. Their views of various landmarks of the previous summer are displayed here according to the direction of the Federal advance, a long-flanking movement along Sudley’s Ford.

When Beauregard learned of the attack, he sent reinforcements to aid the small group of Southerners, but they were unable to hold back the oncoming tide of Union troops. As more Union soldiers joined the fray, the Southerners were slowly pushed back past the Stone House and up Henry Hill.

The battle raged for several hours around the home of Mrs. Judith Henry on top of Henry Hill, with each side taking control of the hill more than once. Slowly, more and more Southern men poured onto the field to support the Confederate defense, and Beauregard’s men pushed the Northerners back.

At this point in the battle, Confederate General Barnard Bee attempted to rally his weary men by pointing to Brigadier General Thomas Jackson, who proudly stood his ground in the face of the Union assault. Bee cried, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall!” From that moment on, Thomas Jackson was known as “Stonewall” Jackson.

As the day wore on, the strength of McDowell’s troops was sapped by the continuous arrival of fresh Southern reinforcements. Eventually, the stubborn Confederates proved more than a match for McDowell’s men, and the Northerners began to retreat across Bull Run.

The Union pullout began as an orderly movement. However, when the bridge over Cub Run was destroyed, cutting off the major route of retreat, it degenerated into a rout. The narrow roads and fords, clogged by the many carts, wagons, and buggies full of people who had driven out from Washington, D.C., to see the spectacle, hampered the withdrawal of the Union Army. The Southerners tried to launch a pursuit, but were too tired and disorganized from the day’s fighting to be effective.

The morning of July 22 found most of the soldiers of the Union Army on their way back to Washington or already there. It was more than a year before the Northerners attempted once again to cross the small stream outside of Manassas named Bull Run.

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Ernest Hemingway

On July 21, 1899, Dr. Clarence Hemingway stepped onto the porch of his Oak Park, Illinois home and blew his cornet to announce the birth of his son, Ernest. During Ernest Hemingway’s boyhood, his family spent much time at their cottage near Walloon Lake in northern Michigan where his father enjoyed hunting and other sports. The love for the great outdoors and the physically active life his father instilled in him remained with Hemingway for the rest of his life.

If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.

Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon. (New York: Scribner, 1932), 192.

Ernest Hemingway, drawing by Ralph Barton, first published in Vanity Fair. Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon. Prints & Photographs Division

After graduating from high school, Hemingway worked briefly as a reporter for the Kansas City Star before volunteering for service in World War I. Excluded from regular military duty because of a defective eye, he worked as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross in Italy, where he was badly injured. Hemingway drew on his wartime experience of falling in love with his nurse while recuperating in a Milan hospital as background for his novel A Farewell to Arms.

Hemingway returned to Europe after the war, working in Paris as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. There, he became part of a group of expatriate American artists and writers who would come to be known as the “Lost Generation,” a term coined by writer Gertrude Stein and used by Hemingway as an epigraph to his first novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926).

Hemingway developed a passion for Spain and for the country’s national sport of bullfighting, and he worked there as a correspondent during the Spanish Civil War. As a reporter during World War II, Hemingway flew several missions with the Royal Air Force, crossed the English Channel with the American troops on D-Day, and participated in the liberation of Paris. His remarkable adventures found their way into books such as For Whom the Bell Tolls.

The final paragraph of the following 1943 letter includes an appeal to Hemingway’s friend, Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish, the poet and dramatist who, at that time, was also serving as assistant director of the Office of War Information. Although MacLeish was unable to grant him accreditation, Hemingway did become a foreign correspondent during World War II. In the letter, Hemingway also writes of Ezra Pound’s problems and makes suggestions as to how the poet’s friends might help him.

Is there any chance that we might send guys to the war not to write govt. publications or propaganda but so as to have something good written afterwards?…What do you think? Maybe I could be the accredited correspondent for the Library of Congress? Write me about it seriously will you?

Letter, Ernest Hemingway to Archibald MacLeish discussing Ezra Pound’s mental health and other literary matters, August 10, 1943. Archibald MacLeish Papers, 1907-1981. Manuscript Division

Hemingway received a Pulitzer Prize External in fiction for The Old Man and the Sea in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature External in 1954. Suffering from anxiety and depression, Hemingway took his own life in 1961. His use of terse prose and dialogue, and short simple sentences stripped of emotional rhetoric, is perhaps the most frequently appropriated writing style of the twentieth century.

Learn More

  • Search Today in History on writer to find more features on American literary figures including Hemingway’s friends and contemporaries, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, William Faulkner, and Archibald MacLeish.
  • Learn about the complex rivalry between Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner, the latter also a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, through this webcast by Joseph Fruscione, author of Faulkner and Hemingway: Biography of a Literary Rivalry.
  • View the webcast “Hemingway in Pamplona,” featuring former mayor of Pamplona, Spain, Yolanda Barcina. Hemingway came to Pamplona for the first time, traveling from Paris, in 1923, in the full swing of the Fiesta of San Fermin. The atmosphere in the city and, particularly, the bullfights, made such an impression on him that he chose the fiesta as the backdrop to his first successful novel, The Sun Also Rises, published three years later.
  • Visit the Ernest Hemingway Foundation Oak Park Web site External to learn more about Hemingway’s life and work and to take a tour of his birthplace External.
  • Read Hemingway’s work, available at your local public library, and then see some of the classic films which were adapted from his stories and novels, such as The Sun Also Rises (1957), A Farewell to Arms (1932 and 1957), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), The Killers (1946), To Have and Have Not (1944), and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943). Hemingway was often vocal about his disdain for these adaptations which are viewed as film classics by less vitriolic critics. Screenplays of some of the adaptations were written by writers, such as Hemingway’s friends Fitzgerald and Faulkner, who did not disdain earning extra cash by writing for Hollywood.