The Historic Race to the South Pole
In 1911, Robert Scott of Great Britain challenged Roald Amundsen of Norway to see who would reach the South Pole first. Scott admitted defeat in an entry from January 17, 2012: "The Pole. Yes, but under very different circumstances from those expected. We have had a horrible day — add to our disappointment a head wind 4 to 5, with a temperature -22 degrees, and companions laboring on with cold feet and hands..." You can read more from his treacherous excursion and find more stories like it in the NOAA Library collection.
Scott's Last Expedition vol. 1, 1913, p. 374. http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/IPY/ipy_13_pdf/G8501910S351913vol1.pdf
Historical Role of the Diamondback Terrapin
With the NOAA Library collection, you can learn about the role marine life has played in regional economies and even in people’s diets. For instance, though now protected, diamondback terrapins were once an abundant source of food and income for residents of the U.S. East Coast. From 1909 to 1940, terrapin aquaculture was a main project of the Bureau of Fisheries (a predecessor of NOAA Fisheries) Beaufort Laboratory in North Carolina. In 1994, the diamondback terrapin was made the State Reptile of Maryland.
Read a 1904 report on the terrapin including artist renderings, like that above, here: http://fishbull.noaa.gov/24-1/hay.pdf
Using Archives to Locate the Robert J. Walker Shipwreck
The Robert J. Walker was a survey ship that served in the U.S. Coast Survey from 1848 until it sank in 1860 resulting in the death of 20 crew members. The Walker disaster was the greatest loss of life ever experienced by NOAA or any of its predecessor organizations. It was from an archived report about a steamer collision in the NOAA Library archives that led historian Skip Theberge of the NOAA Central Library and others to confirm the wreck's physical location in 2013.
Read more about how the Robert J. Walker wreck was identified over 150 years later: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/maritime/walker/pdfs/walker_report.pdf
Weather and Eisenhower's Decision on D-Day
The weather played a decisive factor for the events of June 6, 1944, known today as D-Day. To go or not to go — the decision agonized General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Now archived in digital format by the NOAA Central Library, you can read the story of the weather before, during and after the invasion of Normandy was chronicled by Philip M. Flammer, historian with the U.S. Air Force, Air Weather Service. "Weather Support of the Normandy Invasion," written in 1953, is an extraordinary account of those tense and momentous days.
Check out more of NOAA’s digital collection at http://www.lib.noaa.gov/.