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.
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.
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 catalog 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.
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.
‘Tis pleasant in the summertime, To feel a cooling breeze, And hear the songsters sing so fine, From bush and bough and trees….
Search on summer, beach, swim, swimming pool, baseball, the names particular baseball teams, beaches, summer camps, or summer resorts in Chronicling America, the historic American newspapers database to find news accounts and feature stories about summer activities. Search on summer sale to see advertisements.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.