Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Return of Odysseus

Odysseus is probably best known as the eponymous hero of the Odyssey. This epic describes his travails as he tries to return home after the Trojan War and reassert his place as rightful king of Ithaca.
On the way home from Troy, after a raid on Ismaros in the land of the Cicones, he and his twelve ships were driven off course by storms. They visited the lethargic Lotus-Eaters and were captured by the Cyclops Polyphemus, only escaping by blinding him with a wooden stake. While they were escaping, however, Odysseus foolishly told Polyphemus his identity, and Polyphemus told his father, Poseidon, who had blinded him. They stayed with Aeolus, the master of the winds; he gave Odysseus a leather bag containing all the winds, except the west wind, a gift that should have ensured a safe return home. However, the sailors foolishly opened the bag while Odysseus slept, thinking that it contained gold. All of the winds flew out and the resulting storm drove the ships back the way they had come, just as Ithaca came into sight.
After pleading in vain with Aeolus to help them again, they re-embarked and encountered the cannibalistic Laestrygones. Odysseus' ship was the only one to escape. He sailed on and visited the witch-goddess Circe. She turned half of his men into swine after feeding them cheese and wine. Hermes warned Odysseus about Circe and gave Odysseus a drug called moly, a resistance to Circe’s magic. Circe, being attracted to Odysseus' resistance, fell in love with him and released his men. Odysseus and his crew remained with her on the island for one year, while they feasted and drank. Finally, Odysseus' men convinced Odysseus that it was time to leave for Ithaca.
Guided by Circe's instructions, Odysseus and his crew crossed the ocean and reached a harbor at the western edge of the world, where Odysseus sacrificed to the dead and summoned the spirit of the old prophet Tiresias to advise him. Next Odysseus met the spirit of his own mother, who had died of grief during his long absence; from her, he learned for the first time news of his own household, threatened by the greed of Penelope's suitors. Returning to Circe's island, they were advised by her on the remaining stages of the journey. They skirted the land of the Sirens, passed between the six-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis, where they rowed directly between the two. However, Scylla dragged the boat towards her by grabbing the oars and ate six men. They landed on the island of Thrinacia. There, Odysseus' men ignored the warnings of Tiresias and Circe and hunted down the sacred cattle of the sun god Helios. This sacrilege was punished by a shipwreck in which all but Odysseus drowned. He was washed ashore on the island of Calypso, where she compelled him to remain as her lover for seven years before he escaped.
Odysseus finally escapes and is shipwrecked and befriended by the Phaeacians. After telling them his story, the Phaeacians agree to help Odysseus get home. They deliver him at night, while he is fast asleep, to a hidden harbor on Ithaca. He finds his way to the hut of one of his own former slaves, the swineherd Eumaeus, and also meets up with Telemachus returning from Sparta. Athena disguises Odysseus as a wandering beggar in order to learn how things stand in his household. Odysseus then returns to his own house, still pretending to be a beggar. He experiences the suitors' rowdy behavior and plans their death. He meets Penelope and tests her intentions. Odysseus' identity is discovered by the housekeeper, Eurycleia, as she is washing his feet and discovers an old scar Odysseus received during a boar hunt. Odysseus swears her to secrecy, threatening to kill her if she tells anyone.
The next day, at Athena’s prompting, Penelope maneuvers the suitors into competing for her hand with an archery competition using Odysseus' bow. The man who can string the bow and shoot it through a dozen axe heads would win. Odysseus takes part in the competition himself; he alone is strong enough to string the bow and shoot it through the dozen axe heads, making him the winner. He turns his arrows on the suitors and with the help of Athena, Telemachus, Eumaeus and Philoteus the cowherd, all the suitors are killed. Now at last, Odysseus identifies himself to Penelope.
The next day Odysseus and Telemachus visit the country farm of his old father Laertes. The citizens of Ithaca follow Odysseus on the road, planning to avenge the killing of the Suitors, their sons. The goddess Athena intervenes and persuades both sides to make peace.


Leesah

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873) was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte. Elected President by popular vote in 1848, he initiated a coup d'état in 1851, before ascending the throne as Napoleon III on 2 December 1852, the forty-eighth anniversary of Napoleon I's coronation. He ruled as Emperor of the French until 4 September 1870. He holds the unusual distinction of being both the first titular president and the last monarch of France.
Napoleon III is primarily remembered for an energetic foreign policy which aimed to jettison the limitations imposed on France since 1815 by the Concert of Europe and reassert French influence in Europe and abroad. A brief war against Austria in 1859 largely completed the process of Italian unification. In the Near East, Napoleon III spearheaded allied action against Russia in the Crimean War and restored French presence in the Levant, claiming for France the role of protector of the Maronite Christians. A French garrison in Rome likewise secured the Papal States against annexation by Italy, defeating the Italians at Mentana and winning the support of French Catholics for Napoleon's regime.
In the Far East, Napoleon III established French rule in Cochinchina and New Caledonia. French interests in China were upheld in the Second Opium War and the Taiping Rebellion; an abortive campaign against Korea was launched in 1866 while a military mission to Japan failed to prevent the restoration of Imperial rule. French intervention in Mexico was also unsuccessful and was terminated in 1867 due to mounting Mexican resistance and American diplomatic pressure.
Domestically, Napoleon's reign was a major period of industrialisation for the French economy. He also oversaw a major renovation of Paris that created the outline of the modern city. The Second French Empire was overthrown three days after Napoleon's disastrous surrender at the Battle of Sedan in 1870, which resulted in both the proclamation of the French Third Republic and the cession of the territory of Alsace-Lorraine to the newly formed German Empire.

Louis Napoleon was held prisoner for a time by the Prussians after the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian war (1870). Stampled brass with steel back. The button bears the legend: “Wilhelm’s Hoke” – Wilhelm’s Prison

“I went to mill this morning with corn and barley for feed.  Could not get my grinding done this forenoon and I came home and drew out five loads of manure and went after my grist about four o’clock.  Has been a beautiful day.”
Leesah

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Bride of Lammermoor


The Bride of Lammermoor is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, set in Scotland in the reign of Queen Anne (1702–1714). The novel tells of a tragic love affair between Lucy Ashton and her family's enemy Edgar Ravenswood. Scott indicated the plot was based on an actual incident. The Bride of Lammermoor and A Legend of Montrose were published together in 1819; together they form the third series of Scott's Tales of My Landlord. The story is the basis for Donizetti's 1835 opera Lucia di Lammermoor.



“Worked around the barn most of the day.  Towards night we put up a grist of corn and barley to have ground for feed.  Lettie and I spent the evening at Will McEwen’s. Has been a beautiful day.”
Leesah

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pot of Basil


Isabella and the Pot of Basil is a painting completed in 1868 by William Holman Hunt depicting a scene from John Keats's poem of the same name. It depicts the heroine Isabella caressing the basil pot in which she had buried her murdered lover Lorenzo's severed head.
Hunt had drawn an illustration to the poem in 1848, shortly after the foundation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but he had not developed it into a completed painting. The drawing portrayed a very different scene, depicting Lorenzo as a clerk at work while Isabella's brothers study their accounts and order around underlings.
Hunt returned to the poem in 1866, shortly after his marriage, when he began to paint several erotically charged subjects. His sensuous painting Il Dolce Far Niente had sold quickly, and he conceived the idea for a new work depicting Isabella. Having travelled with his pregnant wife Fanny to Italy, Hunt began work on the painting. However, after giving birth, Fanny died from fever in December 1866. Hunt turned the painting into a memorial to his wife, using her features for Isabella. He worked on it steadily in the months after her death, returning to England in 1867, and finally completing it in January 1868. The painting was purchased and exhibited by the dealer Ernest Gambart.
The painting portrays Isabella, unable to sleep, dressed in a semi-transparent nightgown, having just left her bed, which is visible with the cover turned over in the background. She drapes herself over an altar she has created to Lorenzo from an elaborately inlaid prie-dieu over which a richly embroidered cloth has been placed. On the cloth is the majolica pot, decorated with skulls, in which Lorenzo's head is interred. Her abundant hair flows over the pot and around the flourishing plant, reflecting Keats's words that Isabella "hung over her sweet Basil evermore,/And moistened it with tears unto the core."
Smaller version painted by Hunt in 1868, now at the Delaware Art Museum. Note that the pattern of the inlay on the prie-dieu differs from the original.
The emphasis on sensuality, rich colours and elaborate decorative objects reflects the growing Aesthetic movement and similar features in the work of Hunt's Pre-Raphaelite associates John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, such as Millais's Pot Pourri and Rossetti's Venus Verticordia. The pose of the figure also resembles Thomas Woolner's sculpture Civilization, which was partly modelled by Fanny's sister Alice.
Hunt's work influenced several later artists, who adopted the same subject. Most notable are the paintings by John White Alexander (1897) and John William Waterhouse (1907). Alexander and Waterhouse reproduce Hunt's title and develop variations on his composition. Alexander's composition adapts the subject to a Whistlerian style. Waterhouse reverses the composition, and places the scene in a garden, but retains the motif of the water-jug and the decorative skull.


“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon.  Drew a load of hay to J.B. Walker this afternoon.  1720  The Daugherty cow calved yesterday and has got along very nicely.  This has been a beautiful day.”
Leesah

Saturday, February 25, 2012

King Arthur

King Arthur was a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Romano-Celtic Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians. The sparse historical background of Arthur is gleaned from various sources, including the Annales Cambriae, the Historia Brittonum, and the writings of Gildas. Arthur's name also occurs in early poetic sources such as Y Gododdin.
The legendary Arthur developed as a figure of international interest largely through the popularity of Geoffrey of Monmouth's fanciful and imaginative 12th-century Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain). Some Welsh and Breton tales and poems relating the story of Arthur date from earlier than this work; in these works, Arthur appears either as a great warrior defending Britain from human and supernatural enemies or as a magical figure of folklore, sometimes associated with the Welsh Otherworld, Annwn. How much of Geoffrey's Historia (completed in 1138) was adapted from such earlier sources, rather than invented by Geoffrey himself, is unknown.
Although the themes, events and characters of the Arthurian legend varied widely from text to text, and there is no one canonical version, Geoffrey's version of events often served as the starting point for later stories. Geoffrey depicted Arthur as a king of Britain who defeated the Saxons and established an empire over Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Gaul. Many elements and incidents that are now an integral part of the Arthurian story appear in Geoffrey's Historia, including Arthur's father Uther Pendragon, the wizard Merlin, Arthur's wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, Arthur's conception at Tintagel, his final battle against Mordred at Camlann and final rest in Avalon. The 12th-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes, who added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the story, began the genre of Arthurian romance that became a significant strand of medieval literature. In these French stories, the narrative focus often shifts from King Arthur himself to other characters, such as various Knights of the Round Table. Arthurian literature thrived during the Middle Ages but waned in the centuries that followed until it experienced a major resurgence in the 19th century. In the 21st century, the legend lives on, not only in literature but also in adaptations for theatre, film, television, comics and other media.


“Very cold this morning but bright.  Coldest night this winter so far.  80 to  100 below zero.”
Leesah

Friday, February 24, 2012

John Alden


John Alden (1599 – September 12, 1687) is said to be the first person from the Mayflower to set foot on Plymouth Rock in 1620. He was a ship-carpenter by trade and a cooper for Mayflower, which was usually docked at Southampton. He was also one of the founders of Plymouth Colony and the seventh signer of the Mayflower Compact. Distinguished for practical wisdom, integrity and decision, he acquired and retained a commanding influence over his associates. Employed in public business he became the Governor's Assistant, the Duxbury Deputy to the General Court of Plymouth, a member under arms of Capt. Miles Standish's Duxbury Company, a member of Council of War, Treasurer of Plymouth Colony, and Commissioner to Yarmouth.

John Alden's House, built ca. 1653, in Duxbury, Massachusetts

“Went to the Caucus this afternoon.  Was very cold this morning about 40 to 60 below zero.  Very bright day.”
Leesah

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jenny Lind

Johanna Maria Lind (6 October 1820 – 2 November 1887), better known as Jenny Lind, was a Swedish opera singer, often known as the "Swedish Nightingale". One of the most highly regarded singers of the 19th century, she is known for her performances in soprano roles in opera in Sweden and across Europe, and for an extraordinarily popular concert tour of America beginning in 1850. She was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music from 1840.
Lind became famous after her performance in Der Freischütz in Sweden in 1838. Within a few years, she had suffered vocal damage, but the singing teacher Manuel García saved her voice. She was in great demand in opera roles throughout Sweden and northern Europe during the 1840s, becoming the protégée of Felix Mendelssohn. After two acclaimed seasons in London, she announced her retirement from opera at the age of 29.
In 1850, Lind went to America at the invitation of the showman P. T. Barnum. She gave 93 large-scale concerts for him and then continued to tour under her own management. She earned more than $350,000 from these concerts, donating the proceeds to charities, principally the endowment of free schools in Sweden. With her new husband, Otto Goldschmidt, she returned to Europe in 1852 where she had three children and gave occasional concerts over the next two decades, settling in England in 1855. From 1882, for some years, she was a professor of singing at the Royal College of Music in London.


Leesah

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Andrea del Sarto

Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori ("without errors"), his renown was eclipsed after his untimely death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

Leesah

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thor

In Norse mythology, Thor (from Old Norse Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, destruction, fertility, healing, and the protection of mankind. The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology and paganism was known in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar (runic þonar ᚦᛟᚾᚨᚱ), stemming from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning "thunder").
Ultimately stemming from Proto-Indo-European religion, Thor is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, to the tribal expansions of the Migration Period, to his high popularity during the Viking Age, when, in the face of the process of the Christianization of Scandinavia, emblems of his hammer, Mjöllnir, were worn in defiance and Norse pagan personal names containing the name of the god bear witness to his popularity. Into the modern period, Thor continued to be acknowledged in rural folklore throughout Germanic regions. Thor is frequently referred to in place names, the day of the week Thursday ("Thor's day") bears his name, and names stemming from the pagan period containing his own continue to be used today.
In Norse mythology, largely recorded in Iceland from traditional material stemming from Scandinavia, numerous tales and information about Thor are provided. In these sources, Thor bears at least fourteen names, is the husband of the golden-haired goddess Sif, is the lover of the jötunn Járnsaxa, and is generally described as fierce-eyed, red-haired and red-bearded. With Sif, Thor fathered the goddess (and possible valkyrie) Þrúðr; with Járnsaxa, he fathered Magni; with a mother whose name is not recorded, he fathered Móði, and he is the stepfather of the god Ullr. The same sources list Thor as the son of the god Odin and the personified earth, Fjörgyn, and by way of Odin, Thor has numerous brothers. Thor has two servants, Þjálfi and Röskva, rides in a cart or chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr (that he eats and resurrects), and is ascribed three dwellings (Bilskirnir, Þrúðheimr, and Þrúðvangr). Thor wields the mountain-crushing hammer, Mjöllnir, wears the belt Megingjörð and the iron gloves Járngreipr, and owns the staff Gríðarvölr. Thor's exploits, including his relentless slaughter of his foes and fierce battles with the monstrous serpent Jörmungandr—and their foretold mutual deaths during the events of Ragnarök—are recorded throughout sources for Norse mythology.

“Went to the funeral at Michels Linse Rock this afternoon.  Very cold, about 80 to 100 above zero and the wind blowing strong form the west.”  
Leesah

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Fox and the Stork

The Fox and the Stork
The Fox one day thought of a plan to amuse himself at the expense of the Stork, at whose odd appearance he was always laughing.
"You must come and dine with me today," he said to the Stork, smiling to himself at the trick he was going to play. The Stork gladly accepted the invitation and arrived in good time and with a very good appetite.
For dinner the Fox served soup. But it was set out in a very shallow dish, and all the Stork could do was to wet the very tip of his bill. Not a drop of soup could he get. But the Fox lapped it up easily, and, to increase the disappointment of the Stork, made a great show of enjoyment.
The hungry Stork was much displeased at the trick, but he was a calm, even-tempered fellow and saw no good in flying into a rage. Instead, not long afterward, he invited the Fox to dine with him in turn. The Fox arrived promptly at the time that had been set, and the Stork served a fish dinner that had a very appetizing smell. But it was served in a tall jar with a very narrow neck. The Stork could easily get at the food with his long bill, but all the Fox could do was to lick the outside of the jar, and sniff at the delicious odor. And when the Fox lost his temper, the Stork said calmly:
Do not play tricks on your neighbors unless you can stand the same treatment yourself


“I fitted a window in the west side of the hog pen up stairs.  Which finishes the building up.  Quite a cold west wind blowing today.  Lettie and I went to the church social at Mr. Millers this evening.”
Leesah

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Duchess of Devonshire

Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire; 7 June 1757 – 30 March 1806) was the first wife of the 5th Duke of Devonshire, and mother of the 6th Duke of Devonshire. Her father, the 1st Earl Spencer, was a great-grandson of the 1st Duke of Marlborough. Her niece was Lady Caroline Lamb. She is an ancestor (via her illegitimate daughter Eliza Courtney) of Sarah, Duchess of York. She is also related to Diana, Princess of Wales, who was her great-great-grandniece.


“Helped Lettie wash this forenoon.  Went up town and got some oak lumber from Munts mill 259 ft this P.M.  Lettie and I went over to Ed. Robbins together with Will and Libbie McEwen to spend the evening very pleasant day.  The Blood cow calved yesterday and has got along very nicely.”
Leesah

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ford's Theatre

Depiction of The assassination of Abraham Lincoln. From left to right: Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris, Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln, and Booth

The site was originally a house of worship, constructed in 1833 as the second meeting house of the First Baptist Church of Washington, with Obadiah Bruen Brown as the pastor. In 1861, after the congregation moved to a newly built structure, John T. Ford bought the former church and renovated it into a theatre. He first called it Ford's Athenaeum. It was destroyed by fire in 1862, and was rebuilt the following year. When the new Ford's Theatre opened in August 1863, it had seating for 2,400 persons and was called a "magnificent new thespian temple".
Just five days after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Lincoln and his wife attended a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre. The famous actor John Wilkes Booth, desperate to aid the dying Confederacy, stepped into the box where the presidential party was sitting and shot Lincoln. Booth then jumped onto the stage, and cried out "Sic semper tyrannis" (some heard "The South is avenged!")] just before escaping through the back of the theatre.
Following the assassination, the United States Government appropriated the theatre, with Congress paying Ford $100,000 in compensation, and an order was issued forever prohibiting its use as a place of public amusement. Between 1866 and 1887, the theatre was taken over by the U.S. military and served as a facility for the War Department with records kept on the first floor, the Library of the Surgeon General's Office on the second floor, and the Army Medical Museum on the third. In 1887, the building exclusively became a clerk's office for the War Department, when the medical departments moved out. The front part of the building collapsed on June 9, 1893, killing 22 clerks and injuring another 68. This led some people to believe that the former church turned theatre and storeroom was cursed. The building was repaired and used as a government warehouse until 1911. It languished unused until 1918. The restoration of Ford's Theatre was brought about by the two century-long lobbying efforts of Democratic National Committeeman Melvin D. Hildreth and Republican North Dakota Representative Milton Young. Hildreth first suggested to Young the need for its restoration in 1945. Through extensive lobbying of Congress, a bill was passed in 1955 to prepare an engineering study for the reconstruction of the building. In 1964 Congress approved funds for its restoration, which began that year and was completed in 1968.

View from beneath the balcony including the presidential box

Leesah

Friday, February 17, 2012

John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth (May 10, 1838 – April 26, 1865) was an American stage actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. Booth was a member of the prominent 19th century Booth theatrical family from Maryland and, by the 1860s, was a well-known actor. He was also a Confederate sympathizer vehement in his denunciation of the Lincoln Administration and outraged by the South's defeat in the American Civil War. He strongly opposed the abolition of slavery in the United States and Lincoln's proposal to extend voting rights to recently emancipated slaves.
Booth and a group of co-conspirators planned to kill Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William Seward in a bid to help the Confederacy's cause.  Although Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had surrendered four days earlier, Booth believed the war was not yet over because Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's army was still fighting the Union Army. Of the conspirators, only Booth was completely successful in carrying out his respective part of the plot. Seward was wounded but recovered; Lincoln died the next morning from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.
Following the shooting, Booth fled on horseback to southern Maryland, eventually making his way to a farm in rural northern Virginia 12 days later, where he was tracked down and shot by Boston Corbett, a Union soldier who acted against orders. Eight other conspirators or suspects were tried and convicted, and four were hanged shortly thereafter.
Over the years, various authors have suggested that Booth escaped his pursuers and subsequently died many years later under a pseudonym.

L-to-r: Booth with brothers Edwin and Junius in Julius Caesar

Leesah

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hooking a Snail

This and other fabulous buttons available at http://www.thebuttonmonger.com enter code: AO1LTNMRE at checkout to receive 10% off your order through February.

“I went up town this forenoon to do some errands.  Lettie and I went over to Ad’s this evening and took Mr & Mrs Wilcox with us.  Pleasant but very cold 20 above zero at midnight.  We started a coal fire in the kitchen today.”
Leesah

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh, Lady Olivier (5 November 1913 – 8 July 1967) was an English actress. She won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), a role she also played on stage in London's West End, as well as for her portrayal of the southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, alongside Clark Gable, in the epic American Civil War drama Gone with the Wind.
She was a prolific stage performer, frequently in collaboration with her then-husband, Laurence Olivier, who directed her in several of her roles. During her 30-year stage career, she played roles ranging from the heroines of Noël Coward and George Bernard Shaw comedies to classic Shakespearean characters such as Ophelia, Cleopatra, Juliet and Lady Macbeth.
Lauded for her beauty, Leigh felt that it sometimes prevented her from being taken seriously as an actress. However, ill health proved to be her greatest obstacle. For much of her adult life Leigh suffered from bipolar disorder. She earned a reputation for being difficult to work with, and her career suffered periods of inactivity. She also suffered recurrent bouts of chronic tuberculosis, first diagnosed in the mid-1940s. Leigh and Olivier divorced in 1960, and she worked sporadically in film and theatre until her death from tuberculosis in 1967

Leigh photographed in 1958

“Went to the sale at Elgin Randall’s this afternoon and Lettie went up to Will McEwen’s and we spent the evening there.  Somewhat stormy day.”
Leesah

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saint Valentine's Day, often simply Valentine's Day, is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentinus. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. It is celebrated in countries around the world, mostly in the West, although it remains a working day in all of them.
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards

“I went up town this forenoon and got my hair cut.  After I came back we put in a load of straw to feed the horses.  Lettie and I spend the evening at Wm H Harris’.  Pleasant day.
Leesah

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cupid and Cupid Buttons


“Snowed very hard yesterday afternoon and last night and the snow is very deep.  I spent about two hours drawn snow from the barn yard around the doors.  And then I drove up to Will McEwens and broke the road.  Has snowed some today but not very hard.”


Check out my video on Cupid and Cupid Buttons
Leesah

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Playing Tennis

This and other fabulous buttons available at http://www.thebuttonmonger.com. Enter code: AO1LTNMRE at check out to receive 10% off your order.  Valid through the end of February

“helped Lettie about washing this forenoon and loaded up some hay from the mow to put in the horse barn for the horses.  After dinner we unloaded the hay and picked over beans rest of the afternoon.
Commenced snowing about noon and has snowed hard from the northeast all the afternoon and it is snowing very hard tonight.  Is a very bad night.”
Leesah

Saturday, February 11, 2012

James Wright

Portrait by Andrea Soldi
James Wright (May 8, 1716 – November 20, 1785) was an American colonial lawyer and jurist who was the last British Royal Governor of the Province of Georgia. He was the only Royal Governor of the Thirteen Colonies to regain control of his colony during the American Revolutionary War.
James Wright was born in London to Robert Wright. In 1730 his father accompanied Robert Johnson to the Province of South Carolina and was, for many years, the chief magistrate of that colony. James followed soon after and began the practice of law in Charleston. He also began amassing plantation lands.
Wright returned to London as an agent for the South Carolina colony in 1757. Then, in May 1760, he was named as Lieutenant Governor to Henry Ellis in Georgia. He returned to America and took up residence in Savannah, Georgia. When Ellis resigned he was appointed Governor in November 1760. He was the third, and arguably most popular Royal Governor of the colony. He sold many of his holdings in South Carolina, acquired land in Georgia, and moved his financial operations as well. With peace temporarily established with the French and Spanish, he successfully negotiated with the Indians and the Crown to open new lands to development. In his early administration, the new lands and economic improvement fostered the development of the Georgia colony.
His first troubles came with the Stamp Act of 1765. But, in spite of efforts by the Sons of Liberty to block its implementation, Georgia was the only colony to import and actually use the revenue stamps. As the American Revolution gathered momentum, Georgia remained the most loyal colony. This was due in part to its recent settlement, since many residents had direct roots and ties with Great Britain, and, in part, to his able administration. Georgia did not even send delegates to the First Continental Congress in 1774.
By 1775, the revolutionary spirit had reached Georgia through the Committees of Correspondence and he dismissed the assembly. But a revolutionary congress met that summer in Savannah and elected delegates to the Second Continental Congress. Then, in early 1776, following the arrival of a small British fleet, rebel forces entered his home and briefly took him prisoner. Wright escaped on February 11, 1776 to the safety of the HMS Scarborough, and sent a letter to his council. The congress and the Council adjourned without answering him.
For a time, Wright continued negotiations. He was even able to trade with the rebels to keep his offshore troops and ships supplied. But the differences continued to escalate. When his attempt to retake Savannah with naval forces failed, he returned to England.
By 1778, Governor Wright convinced the government to lend him enough troops to once again attempt to take Savannah. After some short but sharp fights, he regained control of Savannah on December 29, 1778. While never fully in control of the state, he did restore large areas within Georgia to colonial rule, making this the only colony that was regained by the British once they had been expelled. He led a successful defense against several American and French attempts to capture the city. When the war was lost, he withdrew on July 11, 1782 and retired to England.
Wright's extensive properties were seized by the revolutionary governments in South Carolina and Georgia. He died in London, and is interred at Westminster Abbey.

Leesah

Friday, February 10, 2012

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker in Havana, Cuba (1950)
Josephine Baker (June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975) was a dancer, singer, and actress who found fame in her adopted homeland of France. Born in St Louis, Missouri, she renounced her American citizenship in 1937 to become French. She was given such nicknames as the "Bronze Venus", the "Black Pearl", and the "Créole Goddess".
Baker was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer. She is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States (she was offered the unofficial leadership of the movement by Coretta Scott King in 1968 following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, but turned it down), for assisting the French Resistance during World War II, and for being the first American-born woman to receive the French military honor, the Croix de guerre.
After a short while she was the most successful American entertainer working in France. Ernest Hemingway called her "… the most sensational woman anyone ever saw." Her affection for France was so great that when World War II broke out, she volunteered to spy for her adopted country. Baker's agent's brother approached her about working for the French government as an "honorable correspondent", if she happened to hear any gossip at parties that might be of use to her adopted country, she could report it. Baker immediately agreed, since she was against the Nazi stand on race, not only because she was black but because her husband was Jewish. Her café society fame enabled her to rub shoulders with those in-the-know, from high-ranking Japanese officials to Italian bureaucrats, and report back what she heard. She attended parties at the Italian embassy without any suspicion falling on her and gathered information. She helped in the war effort in other ways, such as by sending Christmas presents to French soldiers. When the Germans invaded France, Baker left Paris and went to the Château des Milandes, her home in the south of France, where she had Belgian refugees living with her and others who were eager to help the Free French effort led from England by Charles de Gaulle. As an entertainer, Baker had an excuse for moving around Europe, visiting neutral nations like Portugal, and returning to France. Baker assisted the French Resistance by smuggling secrets written in invisible ink on her sheet music.
Although based in France, Baker supported the American Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s. She protested in her own way against racism, adopting 12 multi-ethnic orphans, whom she called the "Rainbow Tribe." In addition, she refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States. Her insistence on mixed audiences helped to integrate shows in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On April 8, 1975, Baker starred in a retrospective revue at the Bobino in Paris, Joséphine à Bobino 1975, celebrating her 50 years in show business. The revue, financed by Prince Rainier, Princess Grace, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, opened to rave reviews. Demand for seating was such that fold-out chairs had to be added to accommodate spectators. The opening-night audience included Sophia Loren, Mick Jagger, Shirley Bassey, Diana Ross and Liza Minnelli.
Four days later, Baker was found lying peacefully in her bed surrounded by newspapers with glowing reviews of her performance. She was in a coma after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. She was taken to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, where she died, aged 68, on April 12, 1975. Her funeral was held at L'Église de la Madeleine. The first American woman to receive full French military honors at her funeral, Baker locked up the streets of Paris one last time. She was interred at the Cimetière de Monaco in Monte Carlo.

Baker pictured in her most famous costume for the Danse banane

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