Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Folies Bergère

“Lettie and I went to church this forenoon at out church and took dinner with the McEween Family.  The rest of the folks spent the day with John Pratt & family.”

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, Edouard Manet - 1882
The Folies Bergère established in 1869 in Paris, France, is a music hall which was at the height of its fame and popularity from the 1890s through the 1920s. Located at 32 rue Richer in the 9th Arrondissement, it was built as an opera house by the architect Plumeret. It was patterned after the Alhambra music hall in London.
It opened on 2 May 1869 as the Folies Trévise, with fare including operettas, comic opera, popular songs, and gymnastics. It became the Folies Bergère on 13 September 1872, named after a nearby street, the rue Bergère ("bergère" means "shepherdess").
In 1886, Édouard Marchand conceived a new genre of entertainment for the Folies Bergère: the music-hall review. Women would be the heart of Marchand's concept for the Folies. In the early 1890s, the American dancer Loie Fuller starred at the Folies Bergère. In 1902, illness forced Marchand to leave after 16 years.
In 1918, Paul Derval (1880-1966) made his mark on the review. His reviews were to feature extravagant costumes, sets and effects, and his "small nude women". Derval's small nude women would become the hallmark of the Folies. During his 48 years at the Folies, he launched the careers of many French stars including Maurice Chevalier, Mistinguett, Joséphine Baker, Fernandel and many others. In 1926, Joséphine Baker, an African-American expatriate singer, dancer, and entertainer, became an overnight sensation at the Folies Bergère when she performed the Danse sauvage, wearing a costume consisting of a skirt made of a string of artificial bananas and little else. Her erotic dancing and near nude performances were renowned. The Folies Bergère catered to popular taste. Shows featured elaborate costumes; the women's were frequently revealing, practically leaving them naked, and shows often contained a good deal of nudity. Shows also played up the "exoticness" of persons and objects from other cultures, obliging the Parisian fascination with the négritude of the 1920s.
In 1936, Derval brought Joséphine Baker from New York to lead the review En Super Folies. Michel Gyarmathy, a young Hungarian arrived from his home in Balasagyarmath, designed the poster for En Super Folies, a show starring Josephine Baker in 1936. This began a long love story between Michel Gyarmathy, Paris, the Folies Bergère et the public of the whole world which lasted 56 years. The funeral of Paul Derval was held on 20 May 1966. He was 86 and had reinged supreme over the most celebrated music hall in the world. His wife Antonia, supported by Michel Gyarmathy, succeeded him. In August 1974, the Folies Antonia Derval passed on the direction of the business to Hélène Martini, the empress of the night (25 years earlier she had been a showgirl in the revues). This new mistress of the house reunited the qualities proper to maintain the continued existence of the last music hall which remained faithful to the tradition.
Leesah

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anne Hathaway

“Plowed this forenoon.  Went and helped about trimming the church for Thanksgiving Service this afternoon.  Rained quite a good deal this afternoon and evening.”

This drawing by Sir Nathaniel Curzon, dated 1708, purports to depict Anne Hathaway. Samuel Schoenbaum writes that it is probably a tracing of a lost Elizabethan portrait, but there is no existing evidence that the portrait actually depicted Hathaway.
Anne Hathaway (1555/56 – 6 August 1623) was the wife of William Shakespeare. They were married in 1582. She outlived her husband by seven years. Very little is known about her beyond a few references in legal documents, but her personality and relationship to Shakespeare have been the subject of much speculation by historians and creative writers.
Anne Hathaway is believed to have grown up in Shottery, a small village just to the west of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. She is assumed to have grown up in the farmhouse that was the Hathaway family home, which is located at Shottery and is now a major tourist attraction for the village. Her father, Richard Hathaway, was a yeoman farmer. He died in September 1581 and left Anne the sum of £6 13s 4d (six pounds, thirteen shillings and fourpence) to be paid "at the day of her marriage".
Hathaway married Shakespeare in November 1582 while pregnant with the couple's first child, to whom she gave birth six months later. Hathaway was 26 years of age; Shakespeare was only 18. This age difference, together with Hathaway's ante nuptial pregnancy, has been employed by some historians as evidence that it was a "shotgun wedding", forced on a reluctant Shakespeare by the Hathaway family. There is, however, no evidence for this inference.
Three children were born to Anne, namely Susanna in 1583, and the twins Hamnet and Judith in 1585. It has often been inferred that Shakespeare came to dislike his wife, but there is no existing documentation or correspondence to support this supposition. For most of their married life, he lived in London, writing and performing his plays, while she remained in Stratford, spiralling in loneliness. However, according to John Aubrey, he returned to Stratford for a period every year. When he retired from the theatre in 1613, he chose to live in Stratford with his wife, rather than London.
Hathaway was interred next to her husband in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon. The inscription states, "Here lyeth the body of Anne wife of William Shakespeare who departed this life the 6th day of August 1623 being of the age of 67 years." A Latin inscription followed which translates as "Breasts, O mother, milk and life thou didst give. Woe is me – for how great a boon shall I give stones? How much rather would I pray that the good angel should move the stone so that, like Christ's body, thine image might come forth! But my prayers are unavailing. Come quickly, Christ, that my mother, though shut within this tomb may rise again and reach the stars." The inscription may have been written by John Hall on behalf of his wife, Anne's daughter, Susanna.

A nineteenth century engraving depicting Shakespeare as a family man surrounded by his children, who listen entranced to his stories. Anne is portrayed at the right as an idealized housewife, sewing a garment.
Leesah

Monday, November 28, 2011

French FOP Buttons

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“I plowed this forenoon.  Stormed this afternoon and I husked corn in the barn.  Have about a sozen shocks to hush yet.”

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check out my video on French FOP Buttons

Leesah

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Count Fersen

“Helped Will Holmes butcher their pigs (10).  Got done about four o’clock.  Has a good day and got along first rate.  Rained this evening.”

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Lieutenant General Count Hans Axel von Fersen (Stockholm 4 September 1755 – Stockholm 20 June 1810) was a Swedish Count, a Lieutenant General in the Royal Swedish Army, one of the Lords of the Realm, diplomat and statesman. He is famous in history as the alleged lover of Queen Marie Antoinette of France.
He was the son of the statesman Axel von Fersen the Elder and the countess Hedvig Catharina De la Gardie (through her relatives to the Royal House of Vasa), nephew of Eva Ekeblad and grandson of General Hans Reinhold Fersen. He was carefully educated at home, at the Carolinum at Brunswick, in Turin, and in Strasbourg. In 1779 he entered the French military service with the Royal-Bavière Regiment. He accompanied the French commander in chief General Rochambeau's expedition to America and also acted as an interpreter between Rochambeau and Washington. He distinguished himself militarily, notably at the siege of Yorktown, 1781, and in 1785 was made proprietary colonel of the regiment Royal Suédois. At the close of the American Revolution, he became an original member of The Society of the Cincinnati. He is famous as a lover and had affairs with various women, especially the Italian-born adventuress Eleanore Sullivan, and the Royal Duchess Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp, married to the future King Charles XIII of Sweden; It is not known when her affair with Axel von Fersen occurred, it is only known that she wished to resume it when Fersen returned to Sweden after the death of Marie Antoinette and that Fersen refused to do so. King Charles was in his turn the lover of the cousin of Axel, Augusta von Fersen.
Leesah

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sinclair Lewis


Sinclair Lewis in 1914

Harry Sinclair Lewis (February 7, 1885 – January 10, 1951) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters." His works are known for their insightful] and critical views of American society and capitalist values, as well as for their strong characterizations of modern working women.
Upon moving to Washington, D.C., Lewis devoted himself to writing. As early as 1916, he began taking notes for a realistic novel about small-town life. Work on that novel continued through mid-1920, when he completed Main Street, which was published on October 23, 1920. As his biographer Mark Schorer wrote, the phenomenal success of Main Street "was the most sensational event in twentieth-century American publishing history." Based on sales of his prior books, Lewis's most optimistic projection was a sale of 25,000 copies. In the first six months of 1921, Main Street sold 180,000 copies, and within a few years, sales were estimated at two million. According to Richard Lingeman,
Lewis followed up this first great success with Babbitt (1922), a novel that satirized the American commercial culture and boosterism. The story was set in the fictional Midwestern town of Zenith, Winnemac, a setting to which Lewis would return in future novels, including Gideon Planish and Dodsworth.
Lewis continued his success in the 1920s with Arrowsmith (1925), a novel about the challenges faced by an idealistic doctor. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize (which Lewis refused). Adapted as a 1931 Hollywood film directed by John Ford and starring Ronald Colman, it was nominated for four Academy Awards.
Next Lewis published Elmer Gantry (1927), which depicted an evangelical minister as deeply hypocritical. The novel was denounced by many religious leaders and banned in some U.S. cities. Adapted for the screen more than a generation later, the novel was the basis of the 1960 movie starring Burt Lancaster, who earned a Best Actor Oscar for his performance.
Lewis closed out the decade with Dodsworth (1929), a novel about the most affluent and successful members of American society. He portrayed them as leading essentially pointless lives in spite of great wealth and advantages. The book was adapted for the Broadway stage in 1934 by Sidney Howard, who also wrote the screenplay for the 1936 film version. Directed by William Wyler and a great success at the time, the film is still highly regarded. In 1990, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, and in 2005 Time magazine named it one of the "100 Best Movies" of the past 80 years.
After an alcoholic binge in 1937, Lewis checked into the Austen Riggs Center, a psychiatric hospital in Stockbridge, Massachusetts for treatment. His doctors gave Lewis a blunt assessment that he needed to decide "whether he was going to live without alcohol or die by it, one or the other." Lewis checked out after 10 days, lacking, one of his physicians wrote to a colleague, any "fundamental understanding of his problem."
Lewis died in Rome on January 10, 1951, aged 65, from advanced alcoholism. His cremated remains were buried in Sauk Centre. A final novel, World So Wide (1951), was published posthumously.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Washington Irving


Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He was best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle", both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works include biographies of George Washington, Oliver Goldsmith and Muhammad, and several histories of 15th-century Spain dealing with subjects such as Christopher Columbus, the Moors, and the Alhambra. Irving also served as the U.S. minister to Spain from 1842 to 1846.
He made his literary debut in 1802 with a series of observational letters to the Morning Chronicle, written under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. After moving to England for the family business in 1815, he achieved international fame with the publication of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. in 1819. He continued to publish regularly—and almost always successfully—throughout his life, and completed a five-volume biography of George Washington just eight months before his death, at age 76, in Tarrytown, New York.
Irving, along with James Fenimore Cooper, was among the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe, and Irving encouraged American authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allan Poe. Irving was also admired by some European writers, including Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Thomas Campbell, Francis Jeffrey, and Charles Dickens. As America's first genuine internationally best-selling author, Irving advocated for writing as a legitimate profession, and argued for stronger laws to protect American writers from copyright infringement.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Ground was frozen too hard to plow this morning and I husked corn in the barn this forenoon.  Went up town this afternoon.  Cold day.  Has been freezing all day.”

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth by Jennie A. Brownscombe. (1914)

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. As a federal and popular holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.
The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated to give thanks to God for guiding them safely to the New World. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days, providing enough food for 13 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The feast consisted of fish (cod, eels, and bass) and shellfish (clams, lobster, and mussels), wild fowl (ducks, geese, swans, and turkey), venison, berries and fruit, vegetables (peas, pumpkin, beetroot and possibly, wild or cultivated onion), harvest grains (barley and wheat), and the Three Sisters: beans, dried Indian maize or corn, and squash. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating "thanksgivings"—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ace of Spades

“Plowed all day.  Cold day, Froze all the afternoon.”

I found this fabulous playing card on Ebay.  It is from the 1890s.  Now we know why men were always playing cards.
Leesah

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

John Hanson


“Plowed this forenoon for oats.  Commenced raining about noon and as it was rather nasty I husked corn in the barn this afternoon.  Mr. Holines and Will helped me.”


Portrait of John Hanson, attributed to John Hesselius, c. late 1760s

John Hanson (April 14, 1721– November 22, 1783) was a merchant and public official from Maryland during the era of the American Revolution. After serving in a variety of roles for the Patriot cause in Maryland, in 1779 Hanson was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress. He signed the Articles of Confederation in 1781 after Maryland finally joined the other states in ratifying them. In November 1781, he was the first person to be elected as the presiding officer, leading some historians to claim he was the first President of the United States.  Hanson was little more than the first among equals in Congress and had no executive power. His duties were largely ceremonial, and his correct title was President of the Continental Congress.
Leesah

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Phonograph Record Player

“Took down some panel fence to get ready for plowing about five acres for oats.  Got the fence done about half past two and started the plow.  Got the headland nearly plowed. Has been a cold raw day.”

Thomas Edison with his second phonograph photographed by Matthew Brady in Washington, April 1878
The phonograph record player, or gramophone (letter + sound) is a device introduced in 1877 that has had continued common use for reproducing (playing) sound recordings, although when first developed, the phonograph was used to both record and reproduce sounds. The recordings played on such a device generally consist of wavy lines that are either scratched, engraved, or grooved onto a rotating cylinder or disc. As the cylinder or disc rotates, a needle or other similar object on the device traces the wavy lines and vibrates, reproducing sound waves.
The phonograph was invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, USA. On February 19, 1878, Edison was issued the first patent (U.S. patent #200,521) for the phonograph. While other inventors had produced devices that could record sounds, Edison's phonograph was the first to be able to reproduce the recorded sound. (In announcing the demonstration, Scientific American noted that the non-reproducing devices that preceded Edison's had been built by Marey and Rosapelly, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville and Barlow.) Although Edison began experimenting on the phonograph using wax coated paper as a recording medium, his phonograph recorded sound onto a tinfoil sheet phonograph cylinder. Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory made several improvements in the 1880s, including the use of wax-coated cardboard cylinders, and a cutting stylus that moved from side to side in a "zig zag" pattern across the record. Then at the turn of the century, Emile Berliner initiated the transition from phonograph cylinders to gramophone records: flat, double-sided discs with a spiral groove running from the periphery to near the center. Other improvements were made throughout the years, including modifications to the turntable and its drive system, the needle and stylus, and the sound and equalization systems.
The gramophone record was one of the dominant audio recording formats throughout much of the 20th Century. However, that status was eventually replaced by the compact disc and other digital recording formats
Leesah

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Garrett Morgan

“Drew up the load of barley this forenoon after helping Lettie some about washing.  It is so light they will not take the rest.  We cleaned up 28 bu for seed and will grind and feed the rest, about 75 bush.”

Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. (March 4, 1877 – August 27, 1963) was an inventor who invented a type of respiratory protective hood (similar to the modern gas masks), credited with having a patent for a type of traffic signal, and invented a hair-straightening preparation. He is renowned for a heroic rescue in which he used his hood to save workers trapped in a tunnel system filled with fumes. He is credited as the first African-American in Cleveland to own an automobile.
At the age of fifteen, Morgan moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in search of employment. Most of his teenage years were spent working as a handyman for a wealthy Cincinnati landowner. Like many African-Americans of his day, Morgan had to quit school at a young age in order to work. However, the teen-aged Morgan was able to hire his own tutor and continued his studies while living in Cincinnati. In 1895, Morgan moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked repairing sewing machines for a clothing manufacturer. In 1920 he helped to found the Cleveland Call and Post newspaper.  He married Madge Nelson in 1896, but the marriage ended in divorce. Word of his skill at fixing things and experimenting spread quickly throughout Cleveland, opening up various opportunities for him.
In 1907, Morgan opened his own sewing machine and shoe repair shop. It was the first of several businesses he would own. In 1908, Morgan helped found the Cleveland Association of Colored Men. That same year, he married Mary Anne Hassek, and together they had three sons. In 1909, he expanded his business to include a tailoring shop. The company made coats, suits, dresses, and other clothing. Morgan experimented with a liquid that gave sewing machine needles a high polish and prevented the needle from scorching fabric as it sewed. Accidentally, Morgan discovered that this liquid not only straightened fabric but also hair. He made the liquid into a cream and began the G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Company. Morgan also made a black hair oil dye and a curved-tooth iron comb in 1910, to straighten hair.
Garrett Morgan patented a rudimentary safety hood and smoke protector after hearing about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. He was able to sell his invention around the country, but would have a white partner take credit as the inventor in order to further sell his product. When he displayed it himself, he adopted the disguise of "Big Chief Mason", a purported full-blooded Indian from the Walpole Island Indian Reservation in Canada." His invention became known nationally when he and three other men used it to save two men from a 1916 tunnel explosion under Lake Erie. Morgan was awarded a gold Medal of Bravery by prominent citizens of Cleveland, but his nomination for the Carnegie Medal was denied, in large part because of his race.  Efforts by Morgan and his supporters over the years to correct this supposed injustice were not successful. Nevertheless, Morgan won gold medals for bravery from the International Association of Fire Chiefs
The first American-made automobiles were introduced to consumers just before the turn of the 20th Century, and pedestrians, bicycles, animal-drawn wagons and motor vehicles all had to share the same roads. Between 1913 and 1921, many different versions of traffic signaling devices, both mechanical and automated, were patented. Of these, only a few saw production or implementation on public roads. These include several three-color electronic systems very similar to those in use today. Morgan's device, patented in 1923, was a hand-cranked, manually-operated semaphore signal. A lack of documented evidence, photographic or otherwise, suggests that Mr. Morgan's signaling device was never put into production.
At the Emancipation Centennial Celebration in Chicago, Illinois in August 1963, Morgan was nationally recognized. Although in ill-health, and nearly blind, he continued to work on his inventions; one of his last was a self-extinguishing cigarette, which employed a small plastic pellet filled with water, placed just before the filter. Shortly before his death, in 1963, Morgan was awarded a citation for his traffic signal by the United States Government.
In Prince George's County, Maryland, the Prince George's County Board renamed Summerfield Boulevard to Garrett A. Morgan Boulevard in his honor. The adjacent Washington Metro's Morgan Boulevard Station was going to be named Summerfield, but was consequently renamed as well. Also named in his honor is the Garrett A. Morgan Cleveland School of Science in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante included Morgan on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
Morgan was a Prince Hall Freemason (Excelsior Lodge No. 11 of Cleveland, Ohio) and an honorary member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Morgan died on August 27, 1963, at the age of 86, and is buried at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.

Newspaper photograph of Morgan's rescue in 1916
Leesah

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hats!


I choose this picture today because I love these hats.

Etiquette and formality have played their part in hat wearing. At the turn of the 20th century in 1900, both men and women changed their hats dependent on their activity, but for many ladies of some social standing it would be several times a day.
Etiquette articles suggest that it would be A disgraceful act to venture out of the house without a hat or even gloves. One record tells of a young lady venturing out to post a letter without her hat and gloves and being severely reprimanded for not being appropriately dressed. The post box was situated a few yards from her front garden gate.
In the Edwardian age it did not matter if you were poor or rich, old or a child, whatever the status a person wore a hat, only beggars went bareheaded. Even militant suffragettes did not campaign without a hat. The hat would be fairly functional in style and form, but a hat was still worn.
Leesah

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gettysburg Address

“Took the sow to Will Mills’ boar this forenoon.  Got home about half past twelve and cleaned up barley this afternoon.”

The only confirmed photo of Abraham Lincoln (circled) at Gettysburg, taken about noon, just after Lincoln arrived and some three hours before the speech. (Taken as Lincoln was leaving the stage after his speech according to the PBS "Civil War" series by Ken Burns) To Lincoln's right is his bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon

The Gettysburg Address is a speech by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and is one of the most well-known speeches in United States history. It was delivered by Lincoln during the American Civil War, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Abraham Lincoln's carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In just over two minutes, Lincoln invoked the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and redefined the Civil War as a struggle not merely for the Union, but as "a new birth of freedom" that would bring true equality to all of its citizens, ensure that democracy would remain a viable form of government, and would also create a unified nation in which states' rights were no longer dominant.
Beginning with the now-iconic phrase "Four score and seven years ago," referring to the American Revolution of 1776, Lincoln examined the founding principles of the United States in the context of the Civil War, and used the ceremony at Gettysburg as an opportunity not only to consecrate the grounds of a cemetery, but also to exhort the listeners (and the nation) to ensure the survival of America's representative democracy, that the "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Despite the speech's prominent place in the history and popular culture of the United States, the exact wording of the speech is disputed. The five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address differ in a number of details and also differ from contemporary newspaper reprints of the speech

The Hay Copy, with Lincoln's handwritten corrections
Leesah

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beatrix Potter

“We finished the ditch this forenoon.  Husked corn in the barn this afternoon.  South wind all day.”

Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her imaginative children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit which celebrated the British landscape and country life.
Born into a privileged Unitarian family, Potter, along with her younger brother, Walter Bertram (1872–1918), grew up with few friends outside her large extended family. Her parents were artistic, interested in nature and enjoyed the countryside. As children, Beatrix and Bertram had numerous small animals as pets which they observed closely and drew endlessly. Summer holidays were spent in Scotland and in the English Lake District where Beatrix developed a love of the natural world which was the subject of her painting from an early age.
She was educated by private governesses until she was eighteen. Her study of languages, literature, science and history was broad and she was an eager student. Her artistic talents were recognized early. Although she was provided with private art lessons, Beatrix preferred to develop her own style, particularly favoring watercolor. Along with her drawings of her animals, real and imagined, Potter illustrated insects, fossils, archeological artifacts, and fungi. In the 1890s her mycological illustrations and research on the reproduction of fungi spores generated interest from the scientific establishment. Following some success illustrating cards and booklets, Potter wrote and illustrated The Tale of Peter Rabbit publishing it first privately in 1901, and a year later as a small, three-color illustrated book with Frederick Warne & Co. She became unofficially engaged to her editor Norman Warne in 1905 despite the disapproval of her parents, but he died suddenly a month later.
With the proceeds from the books and a legacy from an aunt, Potter bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, a tiny village in the English Lake District near Ambleside in 1905. Over the next several decades, she purchased additional farms to preserve the unique hill country landscape. In 1913, at the age of 47, she married William Heelis, a respected local solicitor from Hawkshead. Potter was also a prize-winning breeder of Herdwick sheep and a prosperous farmer keenly interested in land preservation. She continued to write, illustrate and design spin-off merchandise based on her children’s books for Warne until the duties of land management and diminishing eyesight made it difficult to continue. Beatrix Potter published over twenty-three books; the best known are those written between 1902 and 1922. Potter died on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey at age 77, leaving almost all her property to the National Trust. She is credited with preserving much of the land that now comprises the Lake District National Park.
Potter’s books continue to sell throughout the world, in multiple languages. Her stories have been retold in song, film, ballet and animation.

First edition, 1902
Leesah

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Two Men and a Doll?

“Worked in the ditch all day.  Mr Stowell and Erny helped me this forenoon and Erny helped me this afternoon.  Has been a cold day but not as cold as yesterday.”

Can anyone tell me what is going on in this picture.  Two men, a doll and two suit cases.
Leesah

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nat Turner

“Worked in the ditch until about 4 o’clock. Lettie went up to Will McEwins this  afternoon and I went up to tea and spent the evening.  Has been freezing all day and snowed hard for about an hour this forenoon.  Is Cold tonight.”

The capture of Nat Turner
Nathaniel "Nat" Turner (October 2, 1800 – November 11, 1831) was an American slave who led a slave rebellion in Virginia on August 21, 1831 that resulted in 60 white deaths and at least 100 black deaths, the largest number of fatalities to occur in one uprising prior to the American Civil War in the southern United States. He gathered supporters in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner was convicted, sentenced to death, and hanged. In the aftermath, the state executed 56 blacks accused of being part of Turner's slave rebellion. Two hundred blacks were also beaten and killed by white militias and mobs reacting with violence. Across Virginia and other southern states, state legislators passed new laws prohibiting education of slaves and free blacks, restricting rights of assembly and other civil rights for free blacks, and requiring white ministers to be present at black worship services.
The rebellion was suppressed within two days, but Turner eluded capture until October 30, when he was discovered hiding in a hole covered with fence rails. On November 5, 1831, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Turner was hanged on November 11 in Jerusalem, Virginia, now known as Courtland, Virginia. His body was flayed, beheaded and quartered. In the aftermath of the insurrection there were 45 slaves, including Turner, and 5 free blacks tried for insurrection and related crimes in Southampton. Of the 45 slaves tried, 15 were acquitted. Of the 30 convicted, 18 were hanged, while 12 received mercy and were sold out of state. Of the 5 free blacks tried for participation in the insurrection, one was hanged, while the others were acquitted.
After his execution, his lawyer, Thomas Ruffin Gray, took it upon himself to publish The Confessions of Nat Turner, derived partly from research done while Turner was in hiding and partly from jailhouse conversations with Turner before trial. This work is the primary historical document regarding Nat Turner.
Leesah

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cary Grant

“Took the Munro Cow to bull this morning.  Second Time.  Commenced digging a ditch on the east side of the flat lot this afternoon.  Has grown quite cold this afternoon.”

Cary Grant in a 1941 publicity still

Archibald Alexander Leach (January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986), better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship. Known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor and "dashing good looks", Grant is considered one of classic Hollywood's definitive leading men.
Grant was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. Noted for comedic roles as well as drama, Grant's best-known films include The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Gunga Din (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), His Girl Friday (1940), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Notorious (1946), To Catch A Thief (1955), An Affair to Remember (1957), and North by Northwest (1959).
Nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Actor, for Penny Serenade (1941) and None But the Lonely Heart (1944), and five times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, Grant was continually passed over, and in 1970 was given an Honorary Oscar at the 42nd Academy Awards. Frank Sinatra presented Grant with the award, "for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues".

With Ingrid Bergman in Notorious (1946)
Leesah

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Robert Louis Stevenson


“Helped Lettie a little about washing this morning and husked corn rest of the day.  Some what showery most of the day.  Especially this forenoon.”


Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson 13 November 1850 Edinburgh, Scotland
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. His best-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson now ranks among the 26 most translated authors in the world. He has been greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Marcel Schwob, Vladimir Nabokov, J. M. Barrie, and G. K. Chesterton, who said of him that he "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins."

Robert Louis Stevenson at the age of seven
Leesah

Saturday, November 12, 2011

William Holden


William Holden (April 17, 1918 – November 12, 1981) was an American actor. Holden won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1954 and the Emmy Award for Best Actor in 1974. One of the most popular and well known movie stars of all time, Holden was one of the biggest box office draws of the 1950s, he was named one of the "Top 10 Stars of the Year" six times (1954–1958, 1961) and appeared on the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years…100 Stars list as number 25. He starred in some of the most popular and critically acclaimed films of all time, including such blockbusters as The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Wild Bunch and The Towering Inferno.
Holden was married to actress Ardis Ankerson (stage name Brenda Marshall) from 1941 until their divorce (after many long separations) in 1971. They had two sons, Peter Westfield (born November 17, 1943) and Scott Porter (born May 2, 1946; died January 21, 2005, San Diego, California). He also adopted his wife's daughter, Virginia, from her first marriage.
Holden was best man at the marriage of his friend Ronald Reagan to Nancy Davis in 1952; however, he never involved himself in politics.
In 1954, during the filming of Sabrina, Holden and Audrey Hepburn became romantically involved, and she hoped to marry him and have children. She broke off the relationship when Holden revealed that he had undergone a vasectomy. In 1964, he was again paired up with Hepburn in Paris When It Sizzles, but behind the scenes, the set was plagued with problems. Holden tried without success to rekindle a romance with the now-married Hepburn. That, combined with his alcoholism, made the situation a challenge for the production.
He maintained a home in Switzerland and also spent much of his time working for wildlife conservation as a managing partner in an animal preserve in Africa. His Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki (founded 1959) became a mecca for the international jet set.
While in Italy, he killed another driver in a 1966 drunk driving incident. Holden received an eight-month suspended sentence for vehicular manslaughter.
In 1972, he began a nine-year relationship with actress Stefanie Powers which sparked her interest in animal welfare. After his death, Powers set up the William Holden Wildlife Foundation at Holden's Mount Kenya Game Ranch.
According to the Los Angeles County Coroner's autopsy report, on November 12, 1981, Holden was alone and intoxicated in his apartment in Santa Monica, California, when he slipped on a throw rug, severely lacerated his forehead on a teak bedside table, and bled to death. Evidence suggests he was conscious for at least half an hour after the fall. It is probable that he may not have realized the severity of the injury and did not summon aid, or was unable to call for help. His body was found four days later.

With Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina (1954)
Leesah

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rabbit on a sheaf of wheat

“Layed the tile in the ditch this forenoon and covered them this afternoon.   Has been a beautiful day and a beautiful week.”

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Leesah

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Edmund Fitzgerald

“Finished digging the ditch today.  Have it all ready for the tile.”

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that made headlines after sinking in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew. When launched on June 8, 1958, she was the largest boat on the Great Lakes, and remains the largest boat to have sunk there. Nicknamed the "Mighty Fitz", "Fitz", or "Big Fitz", the ship suffered a series of mishaps during her launch: it took three attempts to break the champagne bottle used to christen her and she collided with a pier when she entered the water.
For seventeen years the Fitzgerald carried taconite from mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to iron works in Detroit, Toledo and other ports. As a "workhorse" she set seasonal haul records six different times, often beating her own previous record.  Her size, record-breaking performance, and "DJ captain" endeared the Fitzgerald to boat watchers. Captain Peter Pulcer was known for piping music day or night over the ship's intercom system while passing through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, and entertaining spectators at the Soo Locks with a running commentary about the Fitzgerald.
With Captain Ernest M. McSorley in command and carrying a full cargo of taconite ore pellets, the Fitzgerald embarked on her final voyage from Superior, Wisconsin, on the afternoon of November 9, 1975. En route to a steel mill near Detroit, Michigan, she joined a second freighter, the SS Arthur M. Anderson. By the next day the two ships were caught in the midst of a massive winter storm, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet (11 m) high. Shortly after 7:10 p.m. the Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian waters approximately 17 miles (15 nautical miles; 27 kilometers) from the entrance to Whitefish Bay, at a depth of 530 feet (160 m). Although the Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank. Her crew of 29 perished and no bodies were recovered.
Many theories, books, studies and expeditions have examined the cause of the sinking. Fitzgerald may have fallen victim to the high waves of the storm, suffered structural failure, been swamped with water entering through her cargo hatches or deck, experienced topside damage or shoaled in a shallow part of Lake Superior. Investigations into the sinking led to changes in Great Lakes shipping regulations and practices that included mandatory survival suits, depth finders, positioning systems, increased freeboard, and more frequent inspection of vessels. The sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald is one of the best-known disasters in the history of Great Lakes shipping. Gordon Lightfoot made it the subject of his 1976 hit song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".
Leesah

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Boston Fire of 1872

“Helped Will this forenoon.  Worked at digging a ditch this afternoon.”

City ruins after the fire
The Great Boston Fire of 1872 was Boston's largest urban fire, and still ranks as one of the most costly fire-related property losses in American history. The conflagration began at 7:20 p.m. on November 9, 1872, in the basement of a commercial warehouse at 83—87 Summer Street in Boston, Massachusetts. The fire was finally contained 12 hours later, after it had consumed about 65 acres (26 ha) of Boston's downtown, 776 buildings and much of the financial district, and caused $73.5 million in damage.  At least 20 people are known to have died in the fire.
Many factors contributed to Boston's Great Fire:
·         Boston's building regulations were not enforced. There was no authority to stop faulty construction practices.
·         Buildings were often insured at full value or above value. Over-insurance meant owners had no incentive to build fire-safe buildings. Insurance-related arson was common.
·         Flammable wooden French Mansard roofs were common on most buildings. The fire was able to spread quickly from roof to roof, and flames even leapt across the narrow streets onto other buildings. Flying embers and cinders started fires on even more roofs.
·         Fire alarm boxes in Boston were locked to prevent false alarms, therefore delaying the Boston Fire Department by twenty minutes.
·         Merchants were not taxed for inventory in their attics, therefore offering incentive to stuff their wood attics with flammable goods such as wool, textiles, and paper stocks.
·         Most of downtown had old water pipes with low water pressure.
·         Fire hydrant couplings were not standardized.
·         The number of fire hydrants and cisterns was insufficient for a commercial district.
·         A horse flu epizootic that spread across North America that year had immobilized Boston's fire department horses. As a result, all of the fire equipment had to be pulled to the fire by teams of volunteers on foot. This is often cited as the leading cause of this fire growing out of control, but the city commission investigating the fire found that fire crews' response times were delayed by only a matter of minutes.
·         Looters and bystanders interfered with fire fighting efforts.
·         Steam engine pumpers were not able to draw enough water to reach the wooden roofs of tall downtown buildings.
·         Gas supply lines connected to street lamps and used for lighting in buildings could not be shut off promptly. Gas lines exploded and fed the flames.
Leesah