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Author: Scott A. Merriman
Title: Site Reviews
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
April 2001

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Source: Site Reviews
Scott A. Merriman

vol. 4, no. 1, April 2001
Article Type: Site Review

Site Reviews

Scott A. Merriman

  • History of International Exhibitions, 1851-1951: A New Web Resource; reviewed by Alexander C.T. Geppert (European University Institute, Florence) and Tammy Lau (California State University, Fresno)
  • The Histories of Holidays

Bastille Day

Bastille Day, July 14, is the French equivalent of our Fourth of July.  This site, presented by, provides a basic background and links to related sites including food and wine for Bastille Day celebrations.  Suggestions are presented for further reading, along with information about Bastille Day celebrations all over the world.  One also has a chance to send Bastille Day e-cards.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day, celebrated December 26, is a UK and British Commonwealth holiday for the most part. This site examines that holiday and includes a brief history.  Also presented here are recipes, including a good one for hot apple cider.  There are a number of traditions detailed here and the site includes music.


World Book Encyclopedia brings us this entry, which looks at Christmas all around the world.  Celebrations definitely vary, and the site examines the foundations of Santa Claus and other customs, such as the Christmas tree. For educators, the site presents Christmas crafts and recipes from various countries.  The history of Christmas and a look at Advent are also included here, along with a list of related web sites.

An examination of "holiday" in England

" A holiday" has a much different meaning in many different places in the world than it does in the United States.  In England, one meaning is taking time off to go on the equivalent of an American vacation.  This web site explores the phenomena of the English holiday and focuses on the English seaside holiday, promoting a book which covers the same topic.  The site provides a synopsis of the book and includes some photos of hotels on the British seashore.  It also contains a place for site visitors to leave their recollections of holidays on the English shore in the 60s and 70s.

Fourth of July

This site, produced by a librarian at American University, presents examples of Independence Day celebrations both from the past and the present, including information about what the presidents were doing on the Fourth, and a chronology of how the 4th became an official holiday.  Among the more interesting elements of the site are a look at how numbers influenced many Independence Day celebrations and an examination of how the family and descendants of President John Adams celebrated Independence Day from 1776 to 1892.  Of interest to teachers will be copies of Frederick Douglass' address "What to the slave is the Fourth of July" (1852) and a 1962 address by John F. Kennedy at Independence Hall.

The Holiday zone

While this site considers holidays all over the world, its primary focus is on American Holidays.  The holidays are divided by season, as the current site has winter holidays up.  Of use to K-12 teachers are arts and crafts activities that teachers can use to celebrate that holiday, including craft recipes which allow you to craft materials which then can be used to create holiday projects.  Also appended are lists of related books and links. examines holidays on the net, bringing together a wide variety of websites celebrating holidays worldwide.  Included is some brief information about the holiday and when it is celebrated that year.  Some holidays are linked to more information about the origin of the holiday and its meaning.  One can also send greeting cards from the site, and there is a list of arts and crafts for each holiday.  For further information, one can search the website, use their directory, or search the entire web from their site.

Martin Luther King Day

The _Seattle Times_ produced this web site concerning the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.  It includes sound files from King's "I have a Dream" speech and from the last speech King ever made, given the night before he was killed.  Also presented here is a short timeline as to how this day became a nationwide holiday. Articles from the _Times_ explaining the march towards this holiday, and the opposition to it, give the reader a deeper understanding of both the significance of the holiday and of the man whom it honors.  An editorial from the executive editor of the _Seattle Times_, which now has observed the holiday as a paid day off for eleven years, discusses why that newspaper honors the holiday, and explains how individual companies can make a difference in honoring King.  A photo gallery, civil rights timeline, and personal recollections of King's legacy are also appended.

President's Day

Although this holiday is not celebrated with a day off (for most non-federal employees) like several of the others, it still is an interesting holiday.  The web site traces the history of the holiday and explains how it came to be placed on the 3rd Monday in February, even though neither Washington nor Lincoln were born then.  Short biographies of Lincoln and Washington are linked to the site, along with a lesson plan.  Also included are links to sites on related topics.

St. Patrick's Day

This site, produced by the _Irish Times_ of Dublin (which is Dublin's leading daily newspaper), examines St. Patricks' Days all over the world.  It includes information on St. Patrick himself, including an examination of the historical person and his continuing influence.  Also presented are video messages from various officials and a look at St. Patrick's day parades all over the world.  One of the largest parades, of course, is in Dublin, and quite a bit of coverage is provided here of that as well.  An interesting site to learn about the holiday, the man and the myth behind it, and how it is celebrated all over the world.


This site, produced by Plimoth Plantation, looks at Thanksgiving.  Among the topics considered are the "facts and fancies" concerning the first Thanksgiving (including that it was a harvest celebration and not a Thanksgiving), who attended the first Thanksgiving (including a list of ages and names), and a list of primary source references to the first Thanksgiving.  The site is quite beneficial as it demonstrates how the celebration has changed, when it became ensconced in American history and tradition, and how images depicting the "First Thanksgiving" have changed.  One thing noted by the site is that late 19th century representations of Thanksgiving often depicted the colonists as attacking the Native Americans rather than sharing their feast with them.  National Thanksgivings and how the whole event has changed is all discussed here, along with recipes for what the First Thanksgiving might have included.

Valentine's Day

The history channel produces this website about one of our winter holidays.  The site looks at the various legends behind Valentine's Day and explains how it came to be celebrated on February 14.  The whole ritual of sending cards is also explained, along with examples of famous couples who were deeply in love, and it presents some of the love letters between Harry S. and Bess Wallace Truman.  The site also hyperlinks to explanations of various terms.  It is a slightly commercial site which hawks asundry History Channel products.