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Tail Lights: March 26, 2014

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Volume 3, Issue 4

Bill Crittenden
March 26, 2014

Fiat Panda in IllinoisA Fiat Panda in Illinois with Illinois license plates.  I have no idea how this got there, because we're still only able to get the Fiat 500 at dealerships here.
A milestone was originally a stone at the side of the road in Roman times, marking off each mile as one traveled between cities.

Its use is continued to this day in the form of green and white mile marker signs along American interstate highways.

The word has entered the lexicon of the English language to mean a significant point along the imaginary "path" from where we start in life to wherever it is one happens to be going.

An important milestone was passed this week as The Crittenden Automotive Library now has over a half million pages in the Publications Index.

This comes as we close in on 20,000 articles in that index, as well.

The difference between the physical milestones and the imaginary milestones we set for ourselves is that in the physical world we know where the road is going and when it ends.  The Crittenden Automotive Library is just going to keep going, and who knows how many pages and articles we'll accumulate in the end.


Speaking of closing in on 20,000, helping us get there is a batch of articles from the December 1909 archives of The New York Times, as well as 25 articles in Bulgarian, the 9th language to require an index in The Crittenden Automotive Library.

Dead Trees

The March-April 1972 issue of Antique Automobile has now been fully scanned into the Library, and several articles have been transcribed into searchable text.  This includes references to rare marques such as Moyer and DeVaux, as well as a history of the first Chrysler and several interesting articles about racing in the very early days of motoring.

I wish I had more, but this was all I could find at the time.


What put the Publications Index over the top were compilations of magazines from the 1900's and early 1910's.  The magazines added started out as Automobile Review and later became The Motor Way.  Not all years are available, but several large annual and semi-annual compilations have been added.

History Beyond the Fenders

This month's History Beyond the Fenders entry comes from the December 1909 batch of New York Times articles.  It includes ye buildup to show week in New York City, detailing the work that went into the Grand Central Palace show and the Madison Square Garden shows the first two weeks of January, 1910.  In particular there are very detailed accounts of how the Grand Central Palace was transformed from a traditionally decorated exhibition space to a Greek garden of sorts.

Other articles detail the industry meetings that coincide with the shows, taking advantage of the greatest concentration in one city of American automobile industry people that occurred each year.  As New York was "where the money is" in the United States, when automobiles were the toys of the wealthy New York became America's original "motor city," and many very early automakers were based in or had headquarters there, as did the American Automobile Club and Automobile Club of America.  This was, of course, before the rise of Detroit, but New York is still an important stop on the auto industry show tour.

This sort of thing is as important to the "big picture" of the automobile's history as the cars that were on exhibition at those shows!

Progress in 2014

As mentioned before, we surpassed 500,000 pages in the Publications Index, but I'd really like to pass that major million page mark later this year.  There are so many resources available to help me double the Library in 2014, every resource except time.  With a quarter of the year gone, barely a dent has been made in the 2014 goals, except that the operations you don't see have been highly reorganized to make faster processing of new material possible.  So I'm set and ready, it's just a race against time that I'm already behind on.

But racing is a car guy's favorite sport, isn't it?

About The Crittenden Automotive Library

The Crittenden Automotive Library @ CarsAndRacingStuff.com, based in Woodstock, Illinois, is an online collection of information relating to not only cars, trucks, and motorcycles, but also the roads they drive on, the races they compete in, cultural works based on them, government regulation of them, and the people who design, build, and drive them.  We are dedicated to the preservation and free distribution of information relating to all types of cars and road-going vehicles for those seeking the greater understanding of these very important elements of modern society, how automobiles have affected how people live around the world, or for the general study of automotive history and anthropology.  In addition to the historical knowledge, we preserve current events for future generations.

The Library currently consists of over 517,000 pages of books, periodicals, and documents, over 18,700 individual articles, more than a week of video and two weeks of audio, more than 22,000 photographs & other images, and a Reference Desk with more than 120 book volumes and thousands of advertising brochures & documents kept available for the information they contain but can't be copied into the online Library for sharing due to copyright.

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