Saturday, April 13, 2013

Galileo Galilei


Portrait of Galileo Galilei by Giusto
Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the "father of modern observational astronomy", the "father of modern physics", the "father of science", and "the Father of Modern Science".
His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments.
Galileo's championing of heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, and they concluded that it could be supported as only a possibility, not an established fact. Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point. He was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It was while Galileo was under house arrest that he wrote one of his finest works, Two New Sciences, in which he summarised the work he had done some forty years earlier, on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials.


“I finished filling the trench this morning and drew stones for the wall rest of the day.  It is raining a little tonight.”

Leesah

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Workers Progress Administration

Employment and Activities poster for the WPA's Federal Art Project, 1936
The Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. In much smaller but more famous projects the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.
Almost every community in the United States had a new park, bridge or school constructed by the agency. The WPA's initial appropriation in 1935 was for $4.9 billion (about 6.7 percent of the 1935 GDP), and in total it spent $13.4 billion.
At its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men and women, as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States. Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost eight million jobs. Full employment, which emerged as a national goal around 1944, was not the WPA goal. It tried to provide one paid job for all families in which the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment.
The WPA was a national program that operated its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments, which provided 10%-30% of the costs. WPA sometimes took over state and local relief programs that had originated in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) or Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) programs.
Liquidated on June 30, 1943, as a result of low unemployment due to the worker shortage of World War II, the WPA provided millions of Americans with jobs for 8 years. Most people who needed a job were eligible for at least some of its positions. Hourly wages were typically set to the prevailing wages in each area. But, workers could not be paid for more than 30 hours a week. Before 1940, to meet the objections of the labor unions, the programs provided very little training to teach new skills to workers.

“I worked nearly all day framing and I have got it nearly done.  Very pleasant day.”


“I took 22 bu potatoes to Geo Lowe this morning and then drew half a ton of hay and a little straw to John Despard.  This afternoon I dug the trench for the wall under the barn and got it about two thirds fill up.  Very pleasant day.”
Leesah

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fort Pillow Massacre


1885 color poster of the "Fort Pillow Massacre".

The Battle of Fort Pillow, also known as the Fort Pillow Massacre, was fought on April 12, 1864, at Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River in Henning, Tennessee, during the American Civil War. The battle ended with a massacre of surrendered Federal black troops by soldiers under the command of Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Military historian David J. Eicher concluded, "Fort Pillow marked one of the bleakest, saddest events of American military history."

Conflicting reports of what happened from 16:00 to dusk, led to controversy. Union and Confederate sources claimed that even though the Union troops surrendered, Forrest's men massacred them in cold blood. Surviving members of the garrison said that most of their men surrendered and threw down their arms, only to be shot or bayoneted by the attackers, who repeatedly shouted, "No quarter! No quarter!" The Joint Committee On the Conduct of the War immediately investigated the incident and concluded that the Confederates shot most of the garrison after it had surrendered. A 2002 study by Albert Castel concluded that the Union forces were indiscriminately massacred after Fort Pillow "had ceased resisting or was incapable of resistance." Historian Andrew Ward in 2005 reached the conclusion that an atrocity in the modern sense occurred at Fort Pillow, including the murders of fleeing black civilians, but that the event was not premeditated nor officially sanctioned by Confederate commanders.
Of the 585–605 men present, the Union losses were reported as 277–297 dead. Some scholars, however, believe these reports were exaggerated (Jordan). It is obvious that the race of the soldiers affected casualties. Of the black members of the garrison, only 58 (around 20%) were marched away as prisoners; 168 (almost 60%) white soldiers were taken prisoner. Not all of the prisoners who were shot were black – Major Bradford was apparently among those shot after he surrendered. Confederate anger at the thought of blacks fighting them, and their initial reluctance to surrender (because many of the black troops believed they would only be killed if they surrendered in Federal uniform) resulted in a tragedy.
The Confederates evacuated Fort Pillow that evening, so they gained little except a temporary disruption of Union operations. The "Fort Pillow Massacre" was thereafter used as a Union rallying cry and cemented resolve to see the war through to its conclusion.


“I worked on the barn frame nearly all day.  I took the Holstein cow to bull about 5 o’clock.  Was a little rainy about two hours this morning.  The day since that has been pleasant.”


“I went up town this morning with the milk and worked in the barn rest of the day.  I got out nearly all the girts and rafters.  It has rained nearly all day and some of the time hard.”
Leesah

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Black Hawk War

Native women and children fleeing the Battle of Bad Axe
The Black Hawk War was a brief conflict fought in 1832 between the United States and Native Americans headed by Black Hawk, a Sauk leader. The war erupted soon after Black Hawk and a group of Sauks, Meskwakis, and Kickapoos known as the "British Band" crossed the Mississippi River into the U.S. state of Illinois in April 1832. Black Hawk's motives were ambiguous, but he was apparently hoping to avoid bloodshed while resettling on land that had been ceded to the United States in a disputed 1804 treaty.
American officials, convinced that the British Band was hostile, mobilized a frontier army. With few U.S. Army soldiers in the region, most American troops were part-time, poorly trained militiamen. Hostilities began on May 14, 1832, when the militia opened fire on a delegation from the Native Americans. Black Hawk responded by attacking the militia force, soundly thrashing them at the Battle of Stillman's Run. He led his band to a secure location in what is now southern Wisconsin. As U.S. forces pursued Black Hawk's band, Native Americans conducted raids against forts and settlements. Some Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi warriors with grievances against Americans took part in these raids, although most members of those tribes tried to avoid the conflict. The Menominee and Dakota tribes, already at odds with the Sauks and Meskwakis, supported the Americans.
Commanded by General Henry Atkinson, the U.S. troops tried to track down the British Band. Militia under Colonel Henry Dodge caught up with the British Band on July 21 and defeated them at the Battle of Wisconsin Heights. Black Hawk's band, weakened by hunger, death, and desertion, retreated towards the Mississippi. On August 2, American soldiers attacked the remnants of the British Band at the Battle of Bad Axe, killing or capturing most of them. Black Hawk and other leaders escaped, but later surrendered and were imprisoned for a year.
The Black Hawk War is now often remembered as the conflict that gave young Abraham Lincoln his brief military service. Other notable American participants included Winfield Scott, Zachary Taylor, and Jefferson Davis. The war gave impetus to the US policy of Indian removal, in which Native American tribes were pressured to sell their lands and move west of the Mississippi River.

“I went up with the milk this morning and went and borrowed Mr. Merritt’s boring machine.  The loaded up a load of hay for Horace Albee.  I took up the load after dinner and got 400 ft. of roofing strips of F. C. Rogers.”

Leesah

Friday, April 5, 2013

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism.
A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, King led an unsuccessful struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, in 1962, and organized nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama, that attracted national attention following television news coverage of the brutal police response. King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. There, he established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history. He also established his reputation as a radical, and became an object of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's COINTELPRO for the rest of his life. FBI agents investigated him for possible communist ties, recorded his extramarital liaisons and reported on them to government officials, and on one occasion, mailed King a threatening anonymous letter that he interpreted as an attempt to make him commit suicide.
On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. In 1965, he and the SCLC helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches and the following year, he took the movement north to Chicago. In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled "Beyond Vietnam". King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., called the Poor People's Campaign. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. His death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities. Allegations that James Earl Ray, the man convicted of killing King, had been framed or acted in concert with government agents persisted for decades after the shooting, and the jury of a 1999 civil trial found Loyd Jowers to be complicit in a conspiracy against King.

“We butchered the old sow and two pigs this forenoon.  I went up to the mill and drew on my logs this after work and brought home a load of lumber tonight.  Very pleasant day.”

“I drew home the balance of my lumber and the slabs today (Five Loads).  Very fine day.  I took the large hog to Williams & Bryant this morning.  Weight 410 lbs.
Leesah

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bigfoot Wallace

William Alexander Anderson "Bigfoot" Wallace (April 3, 1817 – January 7, 1899) was a famous Texas Ranger who took part in many of the military conflicts of the Republic of Texas and the United States in the 1840s, including the Mexican-American War.
Wallace was born in Lexington, Virginia. When he learned that a brother and a cousin had been shot down in the Goliad Massacre, he set out for Texas to "take pay out of the Mexicans"; years later, he confessed that he believed the account had been squared.
Wallace was a magnificent physical specimen. In his prime he stood six feet two inches in his moccasins, and weighed 240 pounds without surplus fat.
Wallace fought at the battles of Salado Creek, Battle of Hondo River, and Mier. Some of his most graphic memories were of his experiences in Perote Prison after having survived Black Bean Incident. Wallace later participated in the Mexican-American War Battle of Monterrey and the Comanche Wars.
In the 1850s Wallace commanded a ranger company of his own, fighting border bandits as well as native Americans. He was so expert at trailing that he was frequently called upon to track down runaway slaves trying to get to Mexico. He drove a mail hack from San Antonio to El Paso, and on one occasion, after losing his mules to Comanches, walked to El Paso and ate twenty-seven eggs at the first Mexican house he came to-before going on to town for a full meal.
During the Civil War he helped guard the frontier against Comanches. At one time Wallace had a little ranch on the Medina River on land granted him by the state of Texas.
The later years of his life were spent in South Texas in the vicinity of a small village named Bigfoot. He never married. He was a mellow and convivial soul who liked to sit in a roomy rawhide-bottomed chair in the shade of his shanty and tell over the stories of his career. Wallace was personally honest but liked to stretch the blanket and embroider his stories.
Wallace died on January 7, 1899, and shortly thereafter the Texas legislature appropriated money for moving his body to the Texas State Cemetery.

“I cut wood this forenoon.  Went to the sale at Wm Harris’ this afternoon.  Very pleasant day.”

“I finished sawing wood this forenoon.  I got ready for butchering this afternoon and went up to the village to see about sawing the logs.  Pleasant day.”
Leesah

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Royal Air Force

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. The RAF has taken a significant role in British military history, playing a large part in the Second World War as well as in more recent conflicts.
While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control. It was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). At that time it was the largest air force in the world. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were relatively quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire. Naval aviation in the form of the RAF's Fleet Air Arm was returned to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939.
The RAF developed its doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became the basic philosophy in the Second World War.
 

“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon.  Cut wood a little while towards night.  Drizzling rain nearly all day.  Very icy tonight.
Leesah

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Battle of Paris

The Battle of Paris was fought during the Napoleonic Wars in 1814. The French defeat led directly to the abdication of Napoleon I.
In 1813 Napoleon I was retreating from his failed invasion of Russia. Coalition armies were joined together and defeated the French at the Battle of Leipzig. Austrian emperor Francis I was interested in seeking peace with the French, but both Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Frederick William III of Prussia wished to invade France. Just as Napoleon had entered Moscow, so did Tsar Alexander wish to enter Paris. Until this battle no foreign army had entered Paris in nearly 400 years.
The Austrian, Prussian and Russian armies were joined together and put under the command of Field Marshal Prince Karl von Schwarzenberg, but the driving force behind the army was the Russian Tsar and King of Prussia moving with the army. The Coalition army totaled about 100,000 troops. Napoleon had left his brother Joseph Bonaparte in defense of Paris with about 20,000 regular troops under Marshal Auguste Marmont along with an additional 30,000 National Guards and a small force of the Imperial Guard under Marshals Bon Adrien Jeannot de Moncey and Édouard Mortier.
The Coalition army arrived outside Paris in late March. Nearing the city, Russian troops broke rank and ran forwards to get their first glimpse of Paris. Camping outside the city on the 29th the Coalition forces were to assault next morning. Early in the morning of March 30 the Coalition attack began when the Russians attacked and drove back the Young Guard near Romainville in the center of the French lines. A few hours later the Prussians, under Blücher, attacked north of the city and carried the French position around Aubervilliers, but did not press their attack.
The Württemberg troops seized the positions at Saint-Maur to the southwest. The Russians attempted to press their attack but became caught up by trenches and artillery before falling back before a counterattack of the Imperial Guard. They continued to hold back the Russians in the center until the Prussian forces appeared to their rear.
The Russian forces then assailed the Montmartre Heights, where Joseph's headquarters had been at the beginning of the battle. Control of the heights was severely contested, and Joseph fled the city. Marmont contacted the Coalition and reached a secret agreement with them. Shortly afterwards, he marched his soldiers to a position, where they were quickly surrounded by Coalition troops; Marmont then surrendered, as had been agreed.
The Russian tsar sent an envoy to meet with the French to hasten the surrender. The tsar offered generous terms to the French and declared himself to be bringing peace to France rather than its destruction. On March 31 Talleyrand gave the key of the city to the tsar. Later that day the Coalition armies entered the city with the tsar at the head of the army followed by the king of Prussia and Schwarzenberg. Napoleon was outraged by the surrender of Paris. He was forced to abdicate on April 6. The terms of his abdication, which included his exile to the Isle of Elba, were settled in the Treaty of Fontainebleau on April 11. A reluctant Napoleon ratified it two days later.



Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Coercive Acts


This Patriot cartoon depicting the Coercive Acts as the rape of an American woman (a symbol of the American colonies) was copied and distributed in the Thirteen Colonies.
The Intolerable (Coercive) Acts was the Patriot name for a series of punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 relating to Massachusetts after the Boston Tea party. The acts stripped Massachusetts of self-government and historic rights, triggering outrage and resistance in the Thirteen Colonies. They were key developments in the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775.
Four of the acts were issued in direct response to the Boston Tea Party of December 1773; the British Parliament hoped these punitive measures would, by making an example of Massachusetts, reverse the trend of colonial resistance to parliamentary authority that had begun with the 1765 Stamp Act. A fifth act, the Quebec Act, enlarged the boundaries of what was then the Province of Quebec and instituted reforms generally favorable to the French Catholic inhabitants of the region; although unrelated to the other four Acts, it was passed in the same legislative session and seen by the colonists as one of the Intolerable Acts.
The Patriots viewed the acts as an arbitrary violation of the rights of Massachusetts, and in September of 1774 they organized the First Continental Congress to coordinate a protest. As tensions escalated, the American Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, leading in July 1776 to the creation of an independent United States of America.


“I cut wood all day”


“I took the sow to Will McEwen’s boar  this morning.  Cut wood rest of the day.  Pleasant day.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jonas Salk

Jonas Edward Salk (October 28, 1914 – June 23, 1995) was an American medical researcher and virologist, best known for his discovery and development of the first successful polio vaccine. He was born in New York City to Jewish parents. Although they had little formal education, his parents were determined to see their children succeed. While attending New York University School of Medicine, Salk stood out from his peers not just because of his academic prowess, but because he went into medical research instead of becoming a practicing physician.
Until 1955, when the Salk vaccine was introduced, polio was considered the most frightening public health problem of the post-war United States. Annual epidemics were increasingly devastating. The 1952 epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history. Of nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 people died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis, with most of its victims being children. The "public reaction was to a plague," said historian William O'Neill. "Citizens of urban areas were to be terrified every summer when this frightful visitor returned." According to a 2009 PBS documentary, "Apart from the atomic bomb, America's greatest fear was polio." As a result, scientists were in a frantic race to find a way to prevent or cure the disease. U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt was the world's most recognized victim of the disease and founded the organization that would fund the development of a vaccine.
In 1947, Salk accepted an appointment to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In 1948, he undertook a project funded by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to determine the number of different types of polio virus. Salk saw an opportunity to extend this project towards developing a vaccine against polio, and, together with the skilled research team he assembled, devoted himself to this work for the next seven years. The field trial set up to test the Salk vaccine was, according to O'Neill, "the most elaborate program of its kind in history, involving 20,000 physicians and public health officers, 64,000 school personnel, and 220,000 volunteers." Over 1,800,000 school children took part in the trial. When news of the vaccine's success was made public on April 12, 1955, Salk was hailed as a "miracle worker," and the day "almost became a national holiday." His sole focus had been to develop a safe and effective vaccine as rapidly as possible, with no interest in personal profit. When he was asked in a televised interview who owned the patent to the vaccine, Salk replied: "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"
In 1960, he founded the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, which is today a center for medical and scientific research. He continued to conduct research and publish books, including Man Unfolding (1972), The Survival of the Wisest (1973), World Population and Human Values: A New Reality (1981), and Anatomy of Reality: Merging of Intuition and Reason (1983). Salk's last years were spent searching for a vaccine against HIV.

“Snowed quite a good deal today by squalls.  I went up to the village this forenoon.  The Stowell cow calved last night.”

Leesah

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. It was also the second deadliest disaster in New York City – after the burning of the General Slocum on June 15, 1904 – until the destruction of the World Trade Center 90 years later. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged sixteen to twenty-three; of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was Providenza Panno at 43, and the youngest were 14-year-olds Kate Leone and "Sara" Rosaria Maltese.
Because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits – a common practice at the time to prevent pilferage and unauthorized breaks – many of the workers who could not escape the burning building jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors to the streets below. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.
The factory was located in the Asch Building, at 23–29 Washington Place, now known as the Brown Building, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark.

“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon.  Cut a little wood this afternoon but it snowed and rained towards night so that I could not work our doors.”
Leesah

Sunday, March 24, 2013

John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell (March 24, 1834 – September 23, 1902) was a U.S. soldier, geologist, explorer of the American West, professor at Illinois State University, and director of major scientific and cultural institutions. He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers that included the first known passage through the Grand Canyon.
Powell served as second director of the US Geological Survey (1881–1894) and proposed policies for development of the arid West which were prescient for his accurate evaluation of conditions. He was director of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution, where he supported linguistic and sociological research and publications. Lake Powell, a reservoir on the Colorado River, was named in his honor


“I took six of the pigs to town this morning we sold them on foot at .04 cents per pound.  Father and I drove down to Joe Williams this afternoon.  After that, I went up o Prentice's mill and got 500 # bran.  Very pleasant day.”

Leesah

Friday, March 22, 2013

Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island is located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Often referred to as "The Rock," the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of Aboriginal Peoples from San Francisco who were part of a wave of Native activism across the nation with public protests through the 1970s. In 1972 Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
Today, the island's facilities are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; it is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. Hornblower Cruises and Events, operating under the name Alcatraz Cruises, is the official ferry provider to and from the island. Hornblower launched the nation's first hybrid propulsion ferry in 2008, the Hornblower Hybrid, which now serves the island, docking at the Alcatraz Wharf.
It is home to the abandoned prison, the site of the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast of the United States, early military fortifications, and natural features such as rock pools and a seabird colony (mostly Western Gulls, cormorants, and egrets). According to a 1971 documentary on the History of Alcatraz, the island measures 1,675 feet (511 m) by 590 feet (180 m) and is 135 feet (41 m) at highest point during mean tide. However, the total area of the island is reported to be 22 acres (8.9 ha).
Landmarks on the island include the Main Cellhouse, Dining Hall, Library, Lighthouse, the ruins of the Warden's House and Officers Club, Parade Grounds, Building 64, Water Tower, New Industries Building, Model Industries Building, and the Recreation Yard.

“Cut wood all day.”

“Cut wood all day.  Pleasant all the week, but wind has been in the north all the time and most of the time it has been raw and cold.”
Leesah

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

James Packard

James W. Packard driving his first Packard in 1898
James Ward Packard (5 November 1863 – 20 March 1928) was an American automobile manufacturer who founded the Packard Motor Car Company and Packard Electric Company with his brother William Doud Packard.
Born in Warren, Ohio, James Ward Packard attended Lehigh University and with his brother founded Packard Electric Company there in 1890 and manufactured incandescent carbon arc lamps. The brothers then formed a partnership with Winton Motor Carriage Company investor George L. Weiss called Packard & Weiss in 1893. The first Packard automobile was released in 1899.  In 1900, the company incorporated as the Ohio Automobile Company and was renamed the Packard Motor Car Company in 1902. The company relocated to Detroit in 1903. The company eventually merged with the Studebaker Corporation in 1954, and the last Packard was made in 1958.
Following the company relocation to Detroit, the Packard brothers focused on making automotive electrical systems via the Packard Electric Company. General Motors acquired the company in 1932, renaming it Delphi Packard Electric Systems in 1995. The company was spun off and became independent of GM in 1999.
Packard fell ill three years before his death and spent his last 16 months at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital.

“I cut wood all day.  Very pleasant.”

“Cut wood all day.”
Leesah

Monday, March 18, 2013

Otmar Von Verschuer

Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer (16 July 1896 – 8 August 1969) was a German human biologist and eugenicist concerned primarily with "racial hygiene" and twin research. He was the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Anthropologie, menschliche Erblehre, und Eugenik; KWIfA) in Berlin and the Institute for Genetic Biology and Racial Hygiene (Institut für Erbbiologie und Rassenhygiene).
He received Heinrich Himmler's permission to work in Auschwitz from 1944 on. One of Verschuer's best known assistants was Josef Mengele, who, as one of the SS physicians at the Auschwitz death camp, later became known as the "Angel of Death".
Verschuer was never tried for war crimes despite many indications that he not only was fully cognizant of Mengele's work at Auschwitz, but even encouraged and collaborated with Mengele in some of his most grisly research. In a report to the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG) from 1944, Verschuer talked about Mengele's assistance in supplying the KWIfA with some "scientific materials" from Auschwitz:
My assistant, Dr. Mengele (M.D., Ph.D.) has joined me in this branch of research. He is presently employed as Hauptsturmführer and camp physician in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Anthropological investigations on the most diverse racial groups of this concentration camp are being carried out with permission of the SS Reichsführer [Himmler]; the blood samples are being sent to my laboratory for analysis.
Verschuer also noted in the report that the war conditions had made it difficult for the KWIfA to procure "twin materials" for study, and that Mengele's unique position at Auschwitz offered a special opportunity in this respect. In the summer of 1944, Mengele and his Jewish slave assistant Dr. Miklos Nyiszli sent other "scientific materials" to the KWIfA, including the bodies of murdered Gypsies, internal organs of dead children, skeletons of two murdered Jews, and blood samples of twins infected by Mengele with typhus.
However solid evidence of Verschuer's willing collaboration could not be established, much to the disappointment of the principal post-war Allied investigator, Leo Alexander, assigned to his case. In a letter to his wife from 1946, Alexander wrote:
It sometimes seems as if the Nazis had taken special pains in making practically every nightmare come true. Some new evidence has come in where two doctors in Berlin, one a man and the other a woman, collected eyes of different colour. It seems that the concentration camps were combed for people whose one eye had a slightly different color than the other. Who ever [sic] was unlucky enough to possess such a pair of slightly unequal eyes had them cut out and was killed, the eyes being sent to Berlin. This is the carrying out into reality of an old gruesome German fairy tale which is included in the Tales of Hoffmann, where Dr Coppelius posing as a sandman comes at night and cuts out children's eyes when they are tired. The grim part of the story is that Doctors von Verschuer and [Karin] Magnussen in Berlin did prefer children and particularly twins. There is no end to this nightmare, at least 23 are being tried now and, I trust, the others will follow later.
Alexander initiated investigations into the location of the incriminating collection but could not locate it—it had been sent to an unknown destination in Berlin and from there vanished out of sight; Alexander ruefully concluded that Verschuer had destroyed it.
Later investigators had difficulty getting hard evidence of the gruesome position they felt Verschuer had in the Holocaust. In his denazification hearing, he was eventually judged as a Nazi fellow traveler (Mitläufer) (a relatively mild categorization), fined 600 Reichmark, and released from custody.
As the war was drawing to a close in 1945, Verschuer moved the files of the KWIfA into the Western part of Germany, hoping for a more favorable response from the advancing Allied armies than from the advancing Soviet Army. In late 1945 or early 1946 he petitioned the mayor of Frankfurt to allow him to reestablish the KWIfA. However the commission in charge of rebuilding the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft decreed that "Verschuer should be considered not as a collaborator, but one of the most dangerous Nazi activists of the Third Reich." The KWIfA was not reestablished.
In 1951, Verschuer was awarded the prestigious professorship of human genetics at the University of Münster, where he established one of the largest centers of genetics research in West Germany. Like many "racial hygienists" of the Nazi period, and many American eugenicists, Verschuer was successful in redefining himself as a genetics researcher after the war, and avoided the taint of his work with Nazi eugenics. Many of his wartime students were similarly appointed to top positions in universities of Erlangen, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, and Münster. Karin Magnussen, a biologist whom he worked with, who ended up using the eyeballs taken from still-living prisoners at Auschwitz by Dr Josef Mengele for experiments on the pigmentation of the human iris.
He was accepted during the war as a member of the American Eugenics Society, a position he kept until his death.
When Verschuer died in 1969 (in an automobile accident), obituaries in German scientific journals made no mention of his Nazi involvement.
 


“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon.  Shoveled out the wood pile and cut a little wood this afternoon. Very pleasant but cold north wind.”
Leesah

Saturday, March 16, 2013

W. C. Fields

William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880 – December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields was known for his comic persona as a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs, children and women.
The characterization he portrayed in films and on radio was so strong it became generally identified with Fields himself. It was maintained by the movie-studio publicity departments at Fields's studios (Paramount and Universal) and further established by Robert Lewis Taylor's 1949 biography W.C. Fields, His Follies and Fortunes. Beginning in 1973, with the publication of Fields's letters, photos, and personal notes in grandson Ronald Fields's book W.C. Fields by Himself, it has been shown that Fields was married (and subsequently estranged from his wife), and he financially supported their son and loved his grandchildren.
However, Madge Evans, a friend and actress, told a visitor in 1972 that Fields so deeply resented intrusions on his privacy by curious tourists walking up the driveway to his Los Angeles home that he would hide in the shrubs by his house and fire BB pellets at the trespassers' legs. Several years later Groucho Marx told a similar story on his live performance album, An Evening with Groucho.

Leesah

Friday, March 15, 2013

FBI's 10 Most Wanted List

The FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives is a most wanted list maintained by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The list arose from a conversation held in late 1949 between J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, and William Kinsey Hutchinson, International News Service (the predecessor of the United Press International) Editor-in-Chief, who were discussing ways to promote capture of the FBI's "toughest guys". This discussion turned into a published article, which received so much positive publicity that on March 14, 1950, the FBI officially announced the list to increase law enforcement's ability to capture dangerous fugitives.
Individuals are generally only removed from the list if the fugitive is captured, dies, or if the charges against them are dropped; they are then replaced by a new entry selected by the FBI. In six cases, the FBI removed individuals from the list after deciding that they were no longer a "particularly dangerous menace to society". Víctor Manuel Gerena, added to the list in 1984, has been on the list longer than anyone, at 29 years. Billie Austin Bryant spent the shortest amount of time on the list, being listed for two hours in 1969. Fidel Urbina is the person most recently listed. On rare occasions, the FBI will add a "Number Eleven" if that individual is extremely dangerous but the Bureau does not feel any of the current ten should be removed.
The list is commonly posted in public places such as post offices. In some cases, fugitives on the list have turned themselves in on becoming aware of their listing. As of June 5, 2012, 497 fugitives have been listed, eight of them women, and 466 (94%) captured or located, 154 (31%) of them due to public assistance. On May 19, 1996, Leslie Ibsen Rogge became the first person on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list to be apprehended due to the internet. The FBI maintains other lists of individuals, including the Most Wanted Terrorists, along with crime alerts, missing persons, and other fugitive lists.


“I went to mill this forenoon.  This afternoon, I took Lettie up to the village.  We spent the evening at Geo. McEwen’s.  Cold, but not as cold as yesterday.”
Leesah