“Stately Knowledge” offers “Just the Facts”

June 3, 1997
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Which of the 50 U.S. states is the ninth largest but has the fewest people? Need to know what the official drink of North Dakota is? These facts and many more are available on the University of Michigan’s Internet Public Library in “Stately Knowledge,” a reference resource for primary and secondary school students that brings vital statistics about the 50 states in an easy-to-use Web site. “Stately Knowledge” is available at http://www.ipl.org/youth/stateknow/.

Wyoming happens to be the ninth largest state, but the one with the fewest people at 475,000. There are more sheep than people with more than 810,000 of the woolly critters roaming Wyoming. And, yes, in 1925 Mrs. Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected governor of Wyoming, becoming the first woman governor in the United States.

From naming the capitals, state mottoes, nicknames, flowers, birds, sports teams, major industries and bordering states, “Stately Knowledge” can tell you just about anything you want to know about a state including some of the famous native sons and daughters from each.

North Dakota is the most rural of all the states, with farms covering more than 90 percent of the land. It might just figure then that the official drink of North Dakota is milk. But this state is considered a bird-watcher’s paradise with more than 365 species of commonly seen songbirds, shore birds, birds of prey, wading birds, upland birds, and more nesting waterfowl than any other state.

Did you know that the first statue ever erected in honor of an insect pest, Boll Weevil Monument, is in Enterprise, Ala., and that Dothan in that state is the Peanut Capital of the World with 50 percent of all the peanuts produced in the United States grown within 100 miles of that city?

“Stately Knowledge” says Minnesota has produced such folks as Bob Dylan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Sinclair Lewis, and John S. Pillsbury who helped found the family flour milling company in Minneapolis in 1872 and became three-time Republican governor of the state.

The first state to enter the Union was Delaware, a state that has as its official state bird the Blue Hen Chicken and no professional sports teams. However, what Delaware does have is a state insect. The lady bug was adopted as the official state insect in 1974 after a group of elementary school children convinced the state legislature to do so.

The Internet Public Library (IPL) is partially supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and began as a graduate student project in 1995. It is now staffed by professional librarians with assistance from students and volunteer librarians from around the Internet. The library maintains a collection of network-based ready reference works, responds to reference queries, creates resources for children and young adults, evaluates and categorizes resources on the Internet, and provides space for exhibitions. The IPL can be accessed at http://www.ipl.org.

E-mail: mjnesbit@umich.edu

Internet Public Libraryhttp://www.ipl.org/youth/stateknow/Andrew W. Mellon Foundationmjnesbit@umich.edu