Saturday, June 30, 2012

Gone With The Wind

First edition cover
Gone with the Wind, first published in 1936, is a romance novel written by Margaret Mitchell, who received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction, and depicts the experiences of Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to come out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman's March to the Sea. The book is the source of the 1939 film of the same name.
Margaret Mitchell began writing Gone with the Wind in 1926 to pass the time while recovering from an auto-crash injury that refused to heal (Interestingly enough, Mitchell was struck and killed by a car in 1949). In April 1935, Harold Latham of Macmillan, an editor who was looking for new fiction, read what she had written and saw that it could be a best-seller. After Latham agreed to publish the book, Mitchell worked for another six months checking the historical references, and rewrote the opening chapter several times. Mitchell and her husband John Marsh, a copy editor by trade, edited the final version of the novel. Mitchell wrote the book's final moments first, and then wrote the events that lead up to it. As to what became of her star-crossed lovers, Rhett and Scarlett, after the novel ended, Mitchell did not know, and said, "For all I know, Rhett may have found someone else who was less difficult." Gone with the Wind is the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime.

Margaret Mitchell

“Worked on the road this forenoon.  We drew in the hay from the south road this afternoon and then mowed the little corner lot. Has been a very warm day.”
Leesah

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Globe Theatre


Second Globe Theatre, detail from Hollar's View of London, 1647. Hollar sketched the building from life (see top), but only later assembled the drawings into this View; he mislabelled his images of The Globe and the nearby bear-baiting enclosure. Here the correct label has been restored. The small building to the left supplied food- and ale-sellers at the theatre.

The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642.
A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named "Shakespeare's Globe", opened in 1997 approximately 750 feet (230 m) from the site of the original theatre.
The Globe was owned by actors who were also shareholders in Lord Chamberlain's Men. Two of the six Globe shareholders, Richard Burbage and his brother Cuthbert Burbage, owned double shares of the whole, or 25% each; the other four men, Shakespeare, John Heminges, Augustine Phillips, and Thomas Pope, owned a single share, or 12.5%. (Originally William Kempe was intended to be the seventh partner, but he sold out his share to the four minority sharers, leaving them with more than the originally planned 10%). These initial proportions changed over time as new sharers were added. Shakespeare's share diminished from 1/8 to 1/14, or roughly 7%, over the course of his career.
The Globe was built in 1599 using timber from an earlier theatre, The Theatre, which had been built by Richard Burbage's father, James Burbage, in Shoreditch in 1576. The Burbages originally had a 21-year lease of the site on which The Theatre was built but owned the building outright. However, the landlord, Giles Allen, claimed that the building had become his with the expiry of the lease. On 28 December 1598, while Allen was celebrating Christmas at his country home, carpenter Peter Street, supported by the players and their friends, dismantled The Theatre beam by beam and transported it to Street's waterfront warehouse near Bridewell. With the onset of more favourable weather in the following spring, the material was ferried over the Thames to reconstruct it as The Globe on some marshy gardens to the south of Maiden Lane, Southwark. While only a hundred yards from the congested shore of the Thames, the piece of land was situated close by an area of farmland and open fields.  It was poorly drained and, notwithstanding its distance from the river, was liable to flooding at times of particularly high tide; a "wharf" (bank) of raised earth with timber revetments had to be created to carry the building above the flood level. The new theatre was larger than the building it replaced, with the older timbers being reused as part of the new structure; the Globe was not merely the old Theatre newly set up at Bankside.  It was probably completed by the summer of 1599, possibly in time for the opening production of Henry V and its famous reference to the performance crammed within a "wooden O". Dover Wilson defers the opening date until September 1599, taking the "wooden O" reference to be disparaging and thus unlikely to be used in the Globe's inaugural staging. He suggests that a Swiss tourist's account of a performance of Julius Caesar witnessed on 21 September 1599 describes the more likely first production. The first performance for which a firm record remains was Jonson's Every Man out of His Humour—with its first scene welcoming the "gracious and kind spectators"—at the end of the year.
On 29 June 1613 the Globe Theatre went up in flames during a performance of Henry the Eighth. A theatrical cannon, set off during the performance, misfired, igniting the wooden beams and thatching. According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man whose burning breeches were put out with a bottle of ale. It was rebuilt in the following year.
Like all the other theatres in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642. It was pulled down in 1644, or slightly later—the commonly cited document dating the act to 15 April 1644 has been identified as a probable forgery—to make room for tenements.

“Worked on the road again today.  Looked rainy this morning but cleared off and has been pleasant most all day.  Father has the hay all raked and bunched, ready to draw.”
Leesah

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo, by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six Bosnian Serb assassins coordinated by Danilo Ilić. The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's south-Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Greater Serbia or a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. Serbian military officers stood behind the attack.
At the top of these Serbian military conspirators was Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence Dragutin Dimitrijević, his righthand man Major Vojislav Tankosić, and Masterspy Rade Malobabić. Major Tankosić armed (with bombs and pistols) and trained the assassins, and the assassins were given access to the same clandestine tunnel of safe-houses and agents that Rade Malobabić used for the infiltration of weapons and operatives into Austria-Hungary.
The assassins, the key members of the clandestine tunnel, and the key Serbian military conspirators who were still alive were arrested, tried, convicted and punished. Those who were arrested in Bosnia were tried in Sarajevo in October 1914. The other conspirators were arrested and tried before a Serbian kangaroo court on the French-controlled Salonika Front in 1916–1917 on unrelated false charges; Serbia executed three of the top military conspirators. Much of what is known about the assassinations comes from these two trials and related records.
Assignment of responsibility for the bombing and murders of 28 June is highly controversial because the attack led to the outbreak of World War I one month later.

“We all worked on the road today.  My man came and he drove the team.  Has been a pleasant day.”
Leesah

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Anna Maria Alberghetti

Anna Maria Alberghetti 1958
Anna Maria Alberghetti (born 15 May 1936) is an Italian-born operatic singer and actress.
Born in Pesaro, Marche, she starred on Broadway and won a Tony Award in 1962 as Best Actress (Musical) for Carnival! (she tied with Diahann Carroll for the musical No Strings).
Alberghetti was a child prodigy. Her father was an opera singer and concert master of the Rome Opera Company. Her mother was a pianist. At age 6, Anna Maria sang in a concert on the Isle of Rhodes with a 100-piece orchestra. She performed at Carnegie Hall in New York at the age of 13.
She also entered into film as a teenager. Her cinema appearances include The Medium (1951), Here Comes the Groom (1951), The Stars Are Singing (1953), The Last Command (1955), with Dean Martin in Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957), Duel at Apache Wells (1957), and as Princess Charming opposite Jerry Lewis in Cinderfella (1960).
Alberghetti appeared twice on the cover of Life magazine. She sang on the CBS variety program The Ed Sullivan Show more than 50 times. She guest starred in 1957 on NBC's The Gisele MacKenzie Show. That same year, she performed in the premiere episode of The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom on ABC. She has toured in many theatrical productions and continues with her popular one-woman cabaret act.
She had roles in a pair of 2001 films, The Whole Shebang and Friends and Family.
Her sister Carla also became a musical artist who appeared in many stage productions. She eventually became Anna Maria's replacement in her Tony-winning role on Broadway.
Alberghetti appeared in television commercials for Good Seasons salad dressing during the 1970s.
She was married to television producer-director Claudio Guzman from 1964 to 1974.

“Rained this morning until after 8 o’clock and I made a screen for one of the windows and then I went and called the men out to work on the road tomorrow.  After dinner Father and I mowed the south road and a road to the gravel.  It rained about 4 o’clock and continued to rain for an hour or more.”
Leesah

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Caesar Rodney

Caesar Rodney (October 7, 1728 – June 26, 1784) was an American lawyer and politician from St. Jones Neck in Dover Hundred, Kent County, Delaware, east of Dover. He was an officer of the Delaware militia during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, a Continental Congressman from Delaware, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and President of Delaware during most of the American Revolution.
Caesar Rodney was born in 1728 on his family's farm, "Byfield", on St. Jones Neck in East Dover Hundred, Kent County, Delaware. He was the son of Caesar and Elizabeth Crawford Rodney and grandson of William Rodney, who came to America in the 1680s and had been Speaker of the Colonial Assembly of the Delaware Counties in 1704. His mother was the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Crawford, Anglican rector of Christ Church at Dover. Among the Rodney family ancestors were the prominent Adelmare family in Treviso, Italy.
Byfield was an 800 acre (3.2 km²), prosperous farm, worked by a small number of slaves. With the addition of other adjacent properties, the Rodneys were, by the standards of the day, wealthy members of the local gentry. Sufficient income was earned from the sale of wheat and barley to the Philadelphia and West Indies market to provide enough cash and leisure to allow members of the family to participate in the social and political life of Kent County.
At the age of 16 and upon the death of his father in 1745, Caesar's guardianship was entrusted to Nicholas Ridgely by the Delaware Orphan's Co
Thomas Rodney described his brother at this time as having a "great fund of wit and humor of the pleasing kind, so that his conversation was always bright and strong and conducted by wisdom... He always lived a bachelor, was generally esteemed, and indeed very popular." Accordingly, he easily moved into the political world formerly occupied by his father and guardian. In 1755 he was elected Sheriff of Kent County and served the maximum three years allowed. This was a powerful and financially rewarding position in that it supervised elections and chose the grand jurors who set the county tax rate. After serving his three years he was appointed to a series of positions including Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds, Clerk of the Orphan's Court, Justice of the Peace, and judge in the lower courts. During the French and Indian War, he was commissioned captain of the Dover Hundred company in Col. John Vining's regiment of the Delaware militia. They never saw active service. From 1769 through 1777 he was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Lower Counties.
Eighteenth century Delaware was politically divided into loose factions known as the "Court Party" and the "Country Party." The majority Court Party was generally Anglican, strongest in Kent and Sussex County, worked well with the colonial Proprietary government, and were in favor of reconciliation with the British government. The minority Country Party was largely Ulster-Scot, centered in New Castle County, and quickly advocated independence from the British. In spite of being members of the Anglican, Kent County gentry, Rodney and his brother, Thomas Rodney, increasingly aligned themselves with the Country Party, a distinct minority in Kent County. As such he generally worked in partnership with Thomas McKean from New Castle County and in opposition to George Read.
Rodney joined Thomas McKean as a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765 and was a leader of the Delaware Committee of Correspondence. He began his service in the Assembly of Delaware in the 1761/62 session and continued in office through the 1775/76 session. Several times he served as Speaker, including the momentous day of June 15, 1775 when "with Rodney in the chair and Thomas McKean leading the debate on the floor," the Assembly of Delaware voted to separate all ties with the British Parliament and King.
Because of his military experience, Rodney was named Brigadier General of Delaware's militia. As Delaware and the other colonies moved from protest to self-government and then to independence, the situation in strongly loyalist Kent and Sussex County rapidly deteriorated. Numerous local leaders spoke strongly in favor of maintaining the ties with Great Britain. Rodney and his militia were repeatedly required to suppress the resultant insurrections. Some of the Loyalists were arrested and jailed, some escaped to the swamps or British ships, and some just remained quietly resistant to the new government.
Meanwhile, Rodney served in the Continental Congress along with Thomas McKean and George Read from 1774 through 1776. Rodney was in Dover attending to Loyalist activity in Sussex County when he received word from Thomas McKean that he and George Read were deadlocked on the vote for independence. To break that deadlock, Rodney rode eighty miles through a thunderstorm on the night of July 1, 1776, dramatically arriving in Philadelphia "in his boots and spurs" on July 2, just as the voting was beginning. At least part of Rodney's famous ride was probably made in a carriage. He voted with McKean and thereby allowed Delaware to join eleven other states in voting in favor of the resolution of independence. The wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved two days later, and Rodney signed the famous parchment copy on August 2. A conservative backlash in Delaware led to Rodney's electoral defeat in Kent County for a seat in the upcoming Delaware Constitutional Convention and the new Delaware General Assembly.
Learning of the death of his friend John Haslet at the Battle of Princeton, Rodney went to join General George Washington briefly in early 1777. Washington soon returned him to Delaware, where as Major-General of the Delaware militia, his leadership was badly needed to protect the state from British military intrusions and to control continued loyalist activity, particularly in Sussex County.
Amidst the catastrophic events following the Battle of Brandywine, and the British occupation of Wilmington and Philadelphia, a new General Assembly was elected in October 1777. First, it promptly put Rodney and Thomas McKean back into the Continental Congress. Then, with State President John McKinly in captivity, and President George Read completely exhausted, they elected Rodney as President of Delaware on March 31, 1778. Delaware now had a dedicated, energetic and competent leader, but the office of State President in 1778 did not have the authority of a modern Governor in the United States. Rodney's effectiveness came from his popularity with the General Assembly where the real authority lay, and from the loyalty he had from the Delaware militia, which was the only available means of enforcing that authority.
Meanwhile Rodney scoured the state for money, supplies and soldiers to support the national war effort. Delaware Continentals had fought famously well in many battles from the Battle of Long Island to the Battle of Monmouth, but in 1780 the whole army suffered its worst defeat at the Battle of Camden in South Carolina. The small Delaware regiment was nearly destroyed and the remnant was so reduced it could only fight with a Maryland regiment for the remainder of the war. And still the Loyalists and privateers along the coast kept Sussex County seething. Rodney had done much to stabilize the situation, but his health was worsening and he resigned his office November 6, 1781, just after the conclusive Battle of Yorktown.
Rodney was elected by the Delaware General Assembly to the United States Congress under the Articles of Confederation in 1782 and 1783, but was unable to attend because of ill health. However, two years after leaving the State Presidency he was elected to the 1783/84 session of the Legislative Council and, as a final gesture of respect, the Council selected him to be their Speaker. Regrettably, his health was now in rapid decline and even though the Legislative Council met at his home for a short time, he died before the session ended


“I Cultivated corn all day.  Father helped me a little while this forenoon and this afternoon and we got done before five o’clock.  Has looked rainy all day and tonight. It is raining steady.  Has rained since about 7 O’clock.”
Leesah

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer Running Away From Home

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – 1876 Front piece.

Thomas "Tom" Sawyer is the title character of the Mark Twain novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). He appears in three other novels by Twain: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894), and Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896).
Sawyer also appears in at least three unfinished Twain works, Huck and Tom Among the Indians, Schoolhouse Hill, and Tom Sawyer's Conspiracy. While all three uncompleted works were posthumously published, only Tom Sawyer's Conspiracy has a complete plot, as Twain abandoned the other two works after finishing only a few chapters.
The fictional character's name may have been derived from a real-life Tom Sawyer with whom Twain was acquainted in San Francisco, California, while Twain was employed as a reporter at the San Francisco Call. The character himself is an amalgamation of three boys Twain knew while growing up.
Tom Sawyer's best friends include Joe Harper and Huckleberry Finn. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom's infatuation with classmate Rebecca "Becky" Thatcher is apparent. He lives with his half-brother Sid, his cousin Mary, and his stern Aunt Polly in the (fictional) town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. In addition, he has another aunt, Sally Phelps, who lives considerably farther down the Mississippi River, in the town of Pikesville. Tom is the son of Aunt Polly's dead sister.
In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom is only a minor character, and is used as a foil for Huck, particularly in the later chapters of the novel after Huck makes his way to the Phelps plantation. Tom's immaturity, imagination, and obsession with stories put Huck's planned rescue of the runaway slave Jim in great jeopardy — and ultimately make it totally unnecessary, since he knows that Jim's owner has died and freed him in her will. Throughout the novel, Huck's intellectual and emotional development is a central theme, and by re-introducing a character from the beginning (Tom), Mark Twain is able to highlight this evolution in Huck's character.


“Pat came this morning and cultivated corn all day.  Very pleasant day.”

Leesah

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Matthew Thornton


Matthew Thornton (1714 – June 24, 1803), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Hampshire
He was born in Ireland, the son of James Thornton and Elizabeth Malone. In 1716 Thornton's family immigrated to North America when he was three years old, settling first at either Williamsburg, Virginia (or alternatively Brunswick, Maine). On July 11, 1722 the community was attacked by Native Americans.). James and Elizabeth Thornton fled from their burning home with Matthew, removing shortly thereafter to Worcester, Massachusetts. Thornton completed studies in medicine at Leicester. He became a physician and established a medical practice in Londonderry, New Hampshire. In New Hampshire he was appointed surgeon to the New Hampshire Militia troops in an expedition against Fortress Louisbourg in 1745. He had royal commissions as justice of the peace and colonel of militia.
In 1760 Thornton married Hannah Jack, and the couple had five children. Thornton became Londonderry Town Selectman, a representative to, and President of the Provincial Assembly, and a member of the Committee of Safety, drafting New Hampshire's plan of government after dissolution of the royal government, which was the first state constitution adopted after the start of hostilities with England.
He became a political essayist. He retired from his medical practice and in 1780 moved to Merrimack, New Hampshire where he farmed and operated a ferry with his family. Although he did not attend law school, he was given duties as an associate justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court about 1777. In his later years he operated a ferry at Thornton's Ferry. From 1784 to 1787 Thornton was a member of the New Hampshire State Senate and combined this with the role of State Councillor from 1785 to 1786. His wife Hannah died in 1786.
Thornton died in Newburyport, Massachusetts, while visiting his daughter. Matthew Thornton is buried in Thornton Cemetery in Merrimack, and his grave reads "An Honest Man


“I cultivated corn this forenoon and Pal Wallace came about 10 o’clock and helped me.  After diner we drew in the hay and then cultivated corn until night.  Has been a very warm day.”


“Baccalaureate Sermon to the Union School graduates this evening by Rev. Mr. Anderson.  Has been a very hot day.”
Leesah

Friday, June 22, 2012

Erich Remarque

Erich Maria Remarque (1928)
Erich Paul Remarque (22 June 1898 – 25 September 1970), was born on 22 June 1898 into a working-class family in the German city of Osnabrück to Peter Franz Remark (b. 14 June 1867, Kaiserswerth) and Anna Maria (née Stallknecht; born 21 November 1871, Katernberg). At the age of 16 he made his first attempts at writing; this included essays, poems, and the beginnings of a novel that was finished later and published in 1920 as The Dream Room (Die Traumbude).
During World War I, Remarque was conscripted into the army at age 18. On 12 June 1917, he was transferred to the Western Front, 2nd Company, Reserves, Field Depot of the 2nd Guards Reserve Division at Hem-Lenglet. On 26 June, he was posted to the 15th Reserve Infantry Regiment, 2nd Company, Sapper Platoon Bethe, and was stationed between Torhout and Houthulst. On 31 July, he was wounded by shrapnel in the left leg, right arm and neck, and was repatriated to an army hospital in Germany where he spent the rest of the war.
When he published All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque changed his middle name in memory of his mother and reverted to the earlier spelling of the family name to dissociate himself from his novel Die Traumbude. The original family name, Remarque, had been changed to Remark by his grandfather in the 19th century. Erich worked at a number of different jobs, including librarian, businessman, teacher, journalist and editor. His first paid writing job was as a technical writer for the Continental Rubber Company, a German tire manufacturer.
In 1927, Remarque made a second literary start with the novel Station at the Horizon (Station am Horizont), which was serialized in the sports journal "Sport im Bild" for which Remarque was working. It was published in book form only in 1998. His best known work, All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts Neues), was written in a few months in 1927, but Remarque was not immediately able to find a publisher. The novel, published in 1929, described the experiences of German soldiers during World War I. A number of similar works followed; in simple, emotive language they described wartime and the postwar years.
In 1931, after finishing The Road Back (Der Weg zurück) Remarque left Germany.] He bought a villa in Porto Ronco in Switzerland and lived both there and in France until 1939, when he left Europe for the United States of America with his wife. They became naturalized citizens of the United States in 1947.
On 10 May 1933, the Nazis, instigated by the then Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, banned and publicly burned Remarque's works and produced propaganda claiming that he was a descendant of French Jews and that his real last name was Kramer, a Jewish-sounding name, and his original name spelled backwards. This is still cited in some biographies despite the complete lack of evidence. The Nazis also claimed, falsely, that Remarque had not done active service during World War I.
In 1943, the Nazis arrested his sister, Elfriede Scholz, who had stayed behind in Germany with her husband and two children. After a short trial in the "Volksgerichtshof" (Hitler's extra-constitutional "People's Court"), she was found guilty of "undermining morale" for stating that she considered the war lost. Court President Roland Freisler declared, "Ihr Bruder ist uns leider entwischt—Sie aber werden uns nicht entwischen" ("Your brother has unfortunately escaped us—you, however, will not escape us"). Scholz was guillotined on 16 December 1943.
His next novel, Three Comrades (Drei Kameraden), spans the years of the Weimar Republic, from the hyperinflation of 1923 to the end of the decade. Remarque's fourth novel, Flotsam (in German titled Liebe deinen Nächsten, or Love Thy Neighbour), first appeared in a serial version in English translation in Collier's magazine in 1939, and Remarque spent another year revising the text for its book publication in 1941, both in English and German. His next novel, Arch of Triumph, first published in 1945 in English, and the next year in German as Arc de Triomphe, was another instant best-seller and reached worldwide sales of nearly five million.
In 1948, Remarque returned to Switzerland, where he spent the rest of his life. There was a gap of seven years — a long silence for Remarque — between Arch of Triumph and his next work, Spark of Life (Der Funke Leben), which appeared both in German and in English in 1952. While he was writing The Spark of Life Remarque was also working on a novel, Zeit zu leben und Zeit zu sterben (Time to Live and Time to Die). It was published first in English translation in 1954 with the not-quite-literal title A Time to Love and a Time to Die. In 1958, Douglas Sirk directed the film A Time to Love and a Time to Die in Germany, based on Remarque's novel. Remarque made a cameo appearance in the film in the role of the professor.
In 1955, Remarque wrote the screenplay for an Austrian film, The Last Act (Der letzte Akt), about Hitler's final days in the bunker of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, which was based on the book Ten Days to Die (1950) by Michael Musmanno. In 1956, Remarque wrote a drama for the stage, Full Circle (Die letzte Station), which played successfully in both Germany and on Broadway. An English translation was published in 1974. Heaven Has No Favorites was serialized (as Borrowed Life) in 1959 before appearing as a book in 1961 and was made into the 1977 movie Bobby Deerfield. The Night in Lisbon

“Father mowed the main road yesterday and I mowed around the tree this morning and then I cultivated corn until noon.  After dinner, I cultivated corn until about four o’clock and then I bunched hay and then cultivated until night.  Has been a very bright warm day.”
Leesah

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mary Pickford

Portrait photograph, 1914
Mary Pickford (April 8, 1892 - May 29, 1979) was a Canadian American motion picture actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Known as "America's Sweetheart," "Little Mary" and "The girl with the curls," she was one of the Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood and a significant figure in the development of film acting.
Because her international fame was triggered by moving images, she is a watershed figure in the history of modern celebrity and, as one of silent film's most important performers and producers, her contract demands were central to shaping the Hollywood industry. In consideration of her contributions to American cinema, the American Film Institute named Pickford 24th among the greatest female stars of all time.


“Went to Batavia this morning but the jury were discharged about half past ten and I left Batavia at 11:10 and got home to dinner.  Took the twine off from the corn after dinner and then Lettie and I went to the Walkley- Coe wedding.  Has been a beautiful day.  We went to rehearsal this evening.”
Leesah

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Geat Seal of the United States


The Great Seal of the United States is used to authenticate certain documents issued by the United States federal government. The phrase is used both for the physical seal itself (which is kept by the United States Secretary of State), and more generally for the design impressed upon it. The Great Seal was first used publicly in 1782.
The obverse of the great seal is used as the national coat of arms of the United States. It is officially used on documents such as United States passports, military insignia, embassy placards, and various flags. As a coat of arms, the design has official colors; the physical Great Seal itself, as affixed to paper, is monochrome.
Since 1935, both sides of the Great Seal have appeared on the reverse of the one-dollar bill. The Seal of the President of the United States is directly based on the Great Seal, and its elements are used in numerous government agency and state seals.
On July 4, 1776, the same day that independence from Great Britain was declared by the thirteen states, the Continental Congress named the first committee to design a Great Seal, or national emblem, for the country. Similar to other nations, The United States of America needed an official symbol of sovereignty to formalize and seal (or sign) international treaties and transactions. It took six years, three committees, and the contributions of fourteen men before the Congress finally accepted a design (which included elements proposed by each of the three committees) in 1782.

“Went out to Batavia again this morning.  Was a little unpleasant this morning but cleared off this afternoon and is very pleasant this evening.  I mowed the front yard this evening.  Got home from Batavia on the 4:37 train.  Before I went to Batavia this morning I took the stowell cow to Will McEwens bull.”
Leesah

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Francesca Rojas

The Finger Print of Francesca Rojas
Francesca Rojas' two young children are killed in their home in the small town of Necochea, Argentina. According to Rojas, a man named Velasquez had threatened her when she rejected his sexual advances earlier in the day. Upon returning home later, Rojas claimed to have seen Velasquez escaping out her open door. Once inside, she found both her six-year-old boy and four-year-old girl stabbed to death.
Police arrested and questioned Velasquez, but he denied any involvement, even after some rather painful interrogation techniques were used to obtain a confession. Law enforcement officials even tried tying him to the corpses of the children overnight. When that didn't produce any results, Velasquez was tortured for another week. Still, he maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal.
Juan Vucetich, in charge of criminal identification at the regional headquarters, had been intrigued by the new theories of fingerprint identification and sent an investigator to see if the methods could help crack the case. Until then, the only other method of identification was the Bertillonage, named after its inventor, Alphonse Bertillon, who worked for the Paris police. This method involved the recording of body measurements in more than 11 different places. In an age when photography was very expensive, Bertillonage gave police their best chance of definitively identifying a person.
When the investigator examined Rojas's house, he found a bloody thumb print on the bedroom door. Rojas was then asked to provide an ink-print of her thumb at the police station. Even with only a rudimentary understanding of forensic identification, investigators were able to determine that the print on the door belonged to Rojas. Using this new piece of evidence against her, detectives were able to exact her confession.
Apparently, Rojas had killed her own children in an attempt to improve her chance of marrying her boyfriend, who was known to dislike children, and then pegged the crime on Velasquez. She was sentenced to life imprisonment

“Went to Batavia again this morning.  Came home on the 8:06 on the Erie.  Rained between 11 & 12 o’clock.  Rained a little this evening about 8 o’clcok.”
Leesah

Monday, June 18, 2012

Checker Cab

1982 Checker taxicab in green and cream with Checker's trademark checkerboard trim
Morris Markin, (a clothier from Chicago, Illinois) became the owner of 'Markin Automobile Body', an auto-body manufacturer based in Joliet, Illinois following a default by the owner on a $15,000 personal loan. The facility made bodies for 'Commonwealth Motors' who marketed the vehicles to cab companies under the trade name 'Mogul'.
Commonwealth Motors was on the verge of bankruptcy but had an order from Checker Taxi (a privately-owned cab company in Chicago that had no affiliation with Markin at the time). Markin merged Commonwealth Motors with Markin Automobile Body in order to honor the contractual commitment.
Inspired by John Hertz who had set up a taxi business in Chicago (later known as Yellow Cab Company) in 1910, Markin began buying up Checker Taxis' vehicles in 1924, gaining full control of the company in 1937. Markin followed Hertz's business plan in having drivers open doors for the fares, and outfitted each driver with a uniform.
Competition for fares was fierce in the 1920s, and the easily spotted drivers began ganging up on one another between fares. The fighting between the two cab companies escalated to the point where Markin's home was firebombed which prompted Markin to relocate Checker Taxi to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Checker became the first cab company to hire African-American drivers and the first to require that drivers pick up all fares, not just white ones.
Hertz had sold his Yellow Cab to the Parmalee Transportation Company, but in 1929, after a suspicious fire at his stables killed his prized race horses, Hertz sold his share to Markin who then acquiring another one-third in the company from Parmalee, thus taking control of both Parmalee and Yellow Cab.
When Hertz had sold off the cab business, the manufacturing arm went to General Motors, which wanted to sell part of the acquired business and made an offer to Markin, but Markin refused. Rather than eliminate the capacity of Yellow Manufacturing, General Motors entered the taxicab business as Terminal Taxi Cab.
A second fare war broke out, with Checker Taxi Co and Terminal Taxi Co staff fighting it out in New York City. To end the dispute, New York Mayor Jimmy Walker created the New York Taxi Cab Commission, which ruled that all cabs in New York had to be purpose-built cabs, not consumer car conversions.
Markin sold Checker Cab to E.L. Cord, but bought it back again in 1936.
In 1940, Parmalee (including Yellow and Checker Cab) became the largest cab company in the United States.
From its inception until 1956, Checker taxicabs had unusual and sometimes bulky, styling. A brand-new body was introduced for the 1956 model year, called A8, and that body would be retained for the duration of Checker production until the end, in 1982.
1956 through '58 Checkers featured single headlights and a thick, single-bar grille. In 1958, quad headlights became legal in the U.S., and Checkers featured the quad headlights from that time forward, along with a new egg-crate grille insert. Taillights were also changed to the familiar vertical chrome strip housing dual red lenses. Early models also featured a single separate, bumper-mounted backup light.
Aside from the body, components for the A8 and subsequent models were sourced from various manufacturers. Studebaker parts were used in the interior, suspensions came from Ford, engines were built by Continental, and the automatic transmissions were originally Bendix units.
Starting in 1959, Checker began producing passenger car versions of the taxis to the general public. Called Marathon for most of its life, the Checker car was advertised as a roomy and rugged alternative to the standard American passenger sedan. A Marathon station wagon was also offered, but American buyers preferred style and power over practicality, so the high-riding bulbous Checkers never sold well to the public.
In 1964 the State of New York pursued Markin and Checker on antitrust charges, alleging that it controlled both the taxi service and manufacture of taxis, and thus favored itself in fulfilling orders. Rather than allow Checker drivers to begin buying different brands of cars, Markin began selling licenses in New York City.
As Federal safety rules increased throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Checkers kept pace and despite having the same basic body design, Checker enthusiasts can often identify the year of a Checker based on its safety equipment. For example, starting in 1963, amber parking/directional lights were used up front. 1964 models introduced lap belts in front, energy-absorbing steering columns came in 1967. 1968 models featured round side marker lights on fenders along with shoulder belts, and 1969s introduced headrests for front outboard seating positions.
1970 began the use of full-size Chevrolet steering columns and steering wheels. 1973 and 74 models replaced the chrome-plated bumpers for larger, beam-type units that were painted aluminum and protected the lights in a 5-mph impact. '75 and later models were labeled "Leaded Fuel Only," and 1978s introduced the new delta-style Chevrolet steering wheel.
Despite its bare-bones reputation as a taxicab, ultra-luxury, limousine-type Marathons were also available, especially in later years. The A-12E model, specially built for the wife of the CEO of the company, remains in brand-new condition with less than 50 miles on the odometer. Checker limos offered vinyl roofs with opera windows, power-assisted accessories, and luxurious upholstery.
The final Marathon was manufactured in 1982, when Checker exited the automobile manufacturing business. The company continued operation at partial capacity making Cadillac parts for General Motors until January 2009 when it declared bankruptcy.

“Went to Batavia this morning on Jury.  Came home on the 4:37 train.  Had a very heavy shower this afternoon about two o’clock.”
Leesah

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Father's Day is a celebration of fathers inaugurated in the United States in the early twentieth century to complement Mother's Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting.
After the success obtained by Anna Jarvis with the promotion of Mother's Day in the US, some] wanted to create similar holidays for other family members, and Father's Day was the choice most likely to succeed. There were other persons in the US who independently thought of "Father's Day", but the credit for the modern holiday is always given to Sonora Dodd, who was the driving force behind its establishment.
Father's Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who reared his six children there. After hearing a sermon about Jarvis' Mother's Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father's birthday, the pastors hadn't enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.
It did not have much success initially. In the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying in the Art Institute of Chicago, and it faded into relative obscurity, even in Spokane. In the 1930s Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level. She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present to fathers. Since 1938 she had the help of the Father's Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men's Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the commercial promotion. Americans resisted the holiday during a few decades, perceiving it as just an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother's Day, and newspapers frequently featured cynical and sarcastic attacks and jokes. But the trade groups didn't give up: they kept promoting it and even incorporated the jokes into their adverts, and they eventually succeeded. By the mid 1980s the Father's Council wrote that "(...) [Father's Day] has become a 'Second Christmas' for all the men's gift-oriented industries."
A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father's Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized. US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress. In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus "[singling] out just one of our two parents". In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

Leesah

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bettie Davis

Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989) was an American actress of film, television and theater. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional comedies, although her greatest successes were her roles in romantic dramas.
After appearing in Broadway plays, Davis moved to Hollywood in 1930, but her early films for Universal Studios were unsuccessful. She joined Warner Bros. in 1932 and established her career with several critically acclaimed performances. In 1937, she attempted to free herself from her contract and although she lost a well-publicized legal case, it marked the beginning of the most successful period of her career. Until the late 1940s, she was one of American cinema's most celebrated leading ladies, known for her forceful and intense style. Davis gained a reputation as a perfectionist who could be highly combative, and confrontations with studio executives, film directors and costars were often reported. Her forthright manner, clipped vocal style and ubiquitous cigarette contributed to a public persona which has often been imitated and satirized.
Davis was the co-founder of the Hollywood Canteen, and was the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, was the first person to accrue 10 Academy Award nominations for acting, and was the first woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. Her career went through several periods of eclipse, and she admitted that her success had often been at the expense of her personal relationships. Married four times, she was once widowed and thrice divorced, and raised her children as a single parent. Her final years were marred by a long period of ill health, but she continued acting until shortly before her death from breast cancer, with more than 100 films, television and theater roles to her credit. In 1999, Davis was placed second, after Katharine Hepburn, on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest female stars of all time.

“I finished planting the potatoes this morning. Getting it done about 10’Clock.  Then I fixed the drill for sowing some corn and father rolled on the potato ridges until noon.  After dinner L drilled in the corn and then I put some twine on the corn and Father finished rolling on the potato ground, then washed the two seated buggy.  Rained this morning between 4 and six o’clock but not enough to hinder work much.  Cleared off and has been a pleasant but very warm day.”
Leesah

Friday, June 15, 2012

General Slocum Disaster

The PS General Slocum was a passenger steamboat built in Brooklyn, New York, in 1891. The General Slocum was named for Civil War General and New York Congressman Henry Warner Slocum. She operated in the New York City area as an excursion steamer for the next thirteen years under the same ownership. During her service history, she was involved in a number of mishaps, including multiple groundings and collisions.

The General Slocum worked as a passenger ship, taking people on excursions around New York City. On Wednesday, June 15, 1904, the ship had been chartered for $350 by St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Little Germany district of Manhattan. This was an annual rite for the group, which had made the trip for 17 consecutive years even as German settlers deserted Little Germany for the Upper East and West Sides. Over 1,400 passengers, mostly women and children, boarded the Slocum, which was to sail up the East River and then eastward across the Long Island Sound to Locust Grove, a picnic site in Eatons Neck, Long Island.

The ship got underway at 9:30 a.m. As it was passing East 90th Street, a fire started in the Lamp Room in the forward section, possibly caused by a discarded cigarette or match but certainly fueled by the straw, oily rags, and lamp oil strewn around the room. The first notice of a fire was at 10:00 a.m.; eyewitnesses claimed the initial blaze began in various locations, including a paint locker filled with flammable liquids and a cabin filled with gasoline. Captain Van Schaick was only notified ten minutes after the fire was discovered. A 12-year-old boy had tried to warn him earlier but was not believed.

Although the captain was ultimately responsible for the safety of passengers, no effort had been made to maintain or replace the ship's safety equipment. The fire hoses had been allowed to rot, and fell apart when the crew attempted to put out the fire. Likewise, the crew had never had a fire drill, and the lifeboats were tied up (some claim they were wired and painted in place) and inaccessible. Survivors reported that the life preservers were useless and fell apart in their hands. Desperate mothers placed life jackets on their children and tossed them into the water, only to watch in horror as their children sank instead of floating. Most of those on board were women and children who, like most Americans of the time, could not swim; even victims who did not don the worthless life preservers found that their heavy wool clothing weighed them down in the water.

It has been suggested that the manager of the life preserver manufacturer actually placed iron bars inside the cork preservers to meet minimum weight requirements at the time. Many of the life preservers had been filled with cheap and less effective granulated cork and brought up to proper weight by the inclusion of the iron weights. Canvas covers, rotted with age, split and scattered the powdered cork. Managers of the company (Nonpareil Cork Works) were indicted but not convicted. The life preservers had been manufactured in 1891 and had hung above the deck, unprotected from the elements, for 13 years.

Captain Van Schaick mishandled the situation. He decided to continue his course rather than run the ship aground or stop at a nearby landing. By going into headwinds and failing to immediately ground the ship, he actually fanned the fire. (Van Schaick would later argue he was attempting to prevent the fire from spreading to riverside buildings and oil tanks.) Flammable paint also helped the fire spread out of control.

Some passengers attempted to jump into the river, but the heavy women's clothing of the day made swimming almost impossible and dragged them underwater to drown. Many died when the floors of the overloaded boat collapsed; others were battered by the still-turning paddles as they attempted to escape into the water or over the sides.

By the time the General Slocum sank in shallow water at North Brother Island, just off the Bronx shore, an estimated 1,021 people had either burned to death or drowned, with 321 survivors. 2 of the 30 crew members died. The captain lost sight in one eye owing to the fire. Reports indicate that Van Schaick deserted the Slocum as soon as it settled, jumping into a nearby tug, along with several crew. Some say his jacket was hardly rumpled, but other reports stated that he was seriously injured. He was hospitalized at Lebanon Hospital.

There were many acts of heroism among the passengers, witnesses, and emergency personnel. Staff and patients from the hospital on North Brother Island participated in the rescue efforts, forming human chains and pulling victims from the water.

firefighters trying to put out the fires on the General Slocum


“I got up this morning at half past three and marked the potato ground the second way before breakfast.  Mr. Holmes man helped me all day to plant and Mr. Holmes helped this afternoon.  I had a boy from the village to help drop potatoes and we got them all planted but about a dozen rows.  Has been a beautiful day but very warm.”
Leesah