Monday, December 01, 2008

The Chicago World's Fair. The fair that announced the rebirth of Chicago.

This is a souvenir booklet from the 1893 Worlds Fair of Chicago, also known as the Colombian Exposition. Chicago was pretty much destroyed by fire in the 1870's. Therefore it was planned to show off the new Chicago in the fair. It was called the "White City" for all of the large white buildings around the fair. Today just about everything is gone from that fair. Although Chicago's Science Museum is located within a building that was reconstructed from what was once the Palace of Fine Arts. It was for many "the fair".

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lincoln's deathbed as it looked right after he was taken out of it.

Lincoln died at the Petersen House across the street from Ford's Theater. The room was tiny in which he died. Paintings of the event show a large room. I have not put many of the pictures of the event in here as it gets too ridiculous...One painting turns the little room into a hall of sorts where 40 plus people are gathered around the bed and the picture looks more like a sporting event than a death scene....

Lincoln died in a little room...The fellow who lived there took this picture right after Lincoln's body was removed...You see it all the chairs, the small bed, and the blood all over the pillow. That is what is was really like. Not like the images that are in every history book...It was a bloody, messy scene. In which Lincoln while dying moaned and snorted and his body flopped around in spasms....It was really awful.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bamn is the new Horn & Hardart. How many of you remember going to the original ? The famous Horn & Hardart Automat.

Here you see the original

Here is today's version

The first Horn & Hardart opened in Philadelphia in 1902. They became amazingly popular. You could go with 25 cents and have a meal. It became an institution.

It became famous in song, such as Irving Berlin's "Let's have another cup of coffee, let's have another piece of pie".
It even became part of comedy. Fred Allen often said that the Horn & Hardart manager would make Jack Benny bounce his nickels on the windowsill to let him in.

It was so amazingly popular. It has been said that at the peak of the automat, over 800,000 people were eating there every day!
I remember the automat. It was called if I recall H&H at that time. Which stood for Horn and Hardart. I so enjoyed buying stuff there. This was in New York in the 1960's. Now there is a new automat. Not like the old one in many regards, but still quite interesting.

I found a few reviews on Bamn. I thought it would be cool to share it. It is by people it seems who remembers the old automats..

Not Quite Authentic, But Wonderful Nevertheless

It's called Bamn! It's not quite a Horn & Hardart Automat, even though it tries. The color scheme is a glowing amalgamation of magenta and hot pink. The tiny space is standing room only, with no place to sit and loiter away an afternoon over a cup of coffee—Starbucks has, to its credit, taken on that role in our society. It's in the East Village, only recently gentrified to a point that a gent with a pocket full of jingling coins could walk down the block without being hit on the head and robbed of them. Still, it is a little like an automat of old, and that's a thrill to those of us who used to patronize them.

In case you're wondering what the word automat means, it's in the dictionary. Here's how mine defines it: "A restaurant in which the customers obtain food from closed compartments by depositing coins therein."

Once automats were all over New York. They were huge and shiny, and any kid who got to go to one had about as much fun as kids could have where food was concerned. We had a different lifestyle back then—meals were under the supervision of mothers, not television commercials. Most of what I remember about my visits to Horn & Hardart Automats was getting a bunch of nickels from the cashiers—they were nicknamed "nickel throwers"—and heading straight for the little windows that dispensed baked beans. I sure loved those beans, probably because cowboys ate them around campfires.

Bamn! takes quarters. It offers only a few dishes, and other than the hot dogs and possibly the grilled cheese, I'm pretty sure none were available in the old days. Not the chicken wings, the teriyaki burgers, the roast pork buns, the Japanese donuts, the pizza dumplings, the peanut butter & jelly croquettes, or the mozzarella sticks. Surely not the spam sushi. Everything goes for $1.00-$2.00. I tried everything and liked the pork bun best.

As the world has moved toward self-service—grocery stores, gas stations—the food world has gone in the opposite direction. Everything is handed to you. Taking whatever food I wanted was the most satisfying aspect of an automat meal. If I had tried that at home, I would have gotten my hand slapped.


Yes, the automat. No, not the Horn & Hardart Automat that appeared on the dining scene at the turn of the last century and finally closed the last of its 180 restaurants in New York in 1991. This is a brand-new concept. A hip new automat that dispenses comfort food "25 hours a day" in New York City's East Village.

This I had to see. And taste.

Now an automat, for those you who were not in New York from 1912 to 1991, is a wonderful system where all kinds of food -- hot food, cold food, desserts, and main dishes -- were displayed behind little glass doors. You made your selection and dropped in the appropriate amount of coins. You could then take out you choice, grab a seat and dig in.

The automat was indeed iconic. In "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," Marilyn Monroe sang "Diamonds are a Girl's Friend," which includes these lyrics: "A kiss may be grand but it won't pay the rental on your humble flat, or help you at the automat."

Edward Hopper's 1927 painting "Automat" depicts a lonely young woman lingering at the automat. Diane Airbus's photograph "Two Ladies at the Automat" is a 1966 time capsule of two New York women of a certain age dressed to the nines -- if not the tens -- for lunch at the automat.

There are television and movie references a-plenty. The automat was part of New York life. Then came the exodus to the suburbs. Fast food. Food on the go. The old automat locations became more valuable as real estate. The girl fresh from the Midwest, the young eager guy right from college -- no, the automat was no longer for them. Just a few graying biddies from bookkeeping munching away on their burgundy beef and noodles. Some of the old automat locations became Burger Kings. New York never stands still.

The automat is back: the new automat that is. Re-imaged by the hip for the hip. Two young entrepreneurs, David Leong and Robert Kwak, plus executive chef Kevin Reilly and a designer who goes by the name Nobu, have brought Bamn, the automat, right into the heart of hipdom: New York's East Village.

I had the perfect excuse to give Bamn a try. My husband's goddaughter was in town. While Marty and I don't fit Bamn's demographics, she does: Early 20s, long blonde hair, perfectly tailored pants, little camisole top.

On the long cab ride downtown, Marty asked, "You did make reservations, didn't you."

"Nope," I replied and looked out the window as we sped by the East River. He fidgeted, thinking no doubt, "New restaurant, long wait for a table."

I hadn't informed him that there are no tables.

We arrived at the hot pink storefront. There are instructions about food selection and inserting coins so no one ever needs to look uncool, which is so important at a cool place. Change can be had at machines. While nickels and dimes were the coins of the realm at the old automat, here silver dollars and quarters are the open sesame for the little doors.

And what's behind those doors? Tiny delicious hamburgers doused in teriyaki sauce, fabulous roast pork buns, melted cheese sandwiches oozing goodness, hot dogs, Japanese doughnuts, mac-and-cheese croquets (a Dutch addition), pizza dumplings. At the counter, customers were ordering up Belgian fries and mini-regular hamburgers four and six at a time.

We were early, and with the sight of those pork buns, we didn't wait. Our goddaughter was on time, but two pork buns and a hamburger behind us. There are no seats. We stood on the sidewalk and inhaled the food. Yum.

And we watched the crowds: tattoos, piercings, boots and cordovans, ties and t-shirts, long hair, short hair, no hair.

Everyone who passed did a double take.

"Oh wow, an automat."

So I think it quite nice that the automat has returned. I will have to give it a try soon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

One of the most unusual ads ever made.....It was by the Victor Talking Machine Company 1918

The ad says that Caruso is singing in the Trenches...Along with all the other Victor Recording Artists of that time. This ad was made in 1918 when we were involved in World War One. It is a most interesting scene. All of the major artists who recorded for Victor, are in dirty trench as soldiers all around with guns listen..

Caruso dressed as Ramses from Aida is singing for the troops. I found this to be one of the oddest ads I have ever seen.

But I understand what they are saying. The voice of Caruso can be heard even in the trenches of distant battlefields. That is a nice statement. I am sure it was very true too!

But there was to a rather comic element to this ad that caught my eye...............

It was the way the one soldier on the left is pointing a gun at Caruso. The way he is smiling and looking at his comrades seems to say..."How much will you give me if I shoot him now?".

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Admiral George Dewey and Dewey's Arch on 5th avenue and 24th Street in New York. 1899-1901

Dewey's arch as it looked in 1900

The location of Dewey's arch as it looks today

The Dewey Arch

George Dewey 1837-1917

The arch was used in many advertisements

It was massive, monstrous and just too big for it's own good. That was Dewey's arch. Constructed for the hero of Manila Bay. There are not words to convey to the reader of today what Dewey meant to everyone. He returned to the United States in 1899....A STAR!!!!! Maybe that is even too small a word to use...He was a galaxy!!

Sheet music was made with his likeness on it....When in stores there were no shortage of George Dewey things...Such as soap, coats, hats, canes, teething rings, and just about everything else you can mention. Framed pictures could be had for 50 cents and they sold by the tens of thousands! He received a solid gold sword from President McKinley. Awards, degrees, plaques, honorariums, a house from the citizen's of the country, and the absolute respect of the American people who were in LOVE with Admiral George Dewey.

The greatest showing of adoration for the Admiral was the great Dewey Arch in New York City. It was just a showing of all the love and admiration the people had for their Admiral. He was a widower and the country liked it that way. In a sense America and its people became his girlfriend or wife.

As it often happens to people who are not well equipped to deal with such a situation....The Admiral got the Presidential political bug! He was not equipped to handle the office. But he scared the daylights out of all the other candidates for 1900. McKinley and Bryan.....But the the house of Dewey started to sink like the Spanish navy he and his crew had destroyed.....He got married!!!!!!!

The entire country had a fit...They were George Dewey's bride...His new wife was Roman Catholic to boot! So the entire country felt jilted! It was an age when Roman Catholics were looked on with dislike. It was a bigoted age.
Then it was found that the house he was given, was to be given by him to his wife. This drove everyone crazy. I think the idea of his glory had gone to his head.He started to get pompous.
Then he finished the job by speaking so stupidly about the office of the President and he addressed the world and gave his understandings of the Presidency............

In which he said....
"If the American people want me for this high office, I shall be
only too willing to serve them. It is the highest honor in the
gift of this nation; what citizen would refuse it? Since studying
this subject, I am convinced that the office of the President is
not such a very difficult one to fill, his duties being mainly to
execute the laws of the Congress. Should I be chosen for this
exalted position I would execute the laws of Congress as
faithfully as I have always executed the orders of my superiors."

What the heck was he thinking??????? Not a difficult office to fill? No matter who you are you never say I looked at the job and see it is an easy one to fill! Everyone laughed at him. All the political power brokers quickly moved away from him. The man who one year before was like a Galaxy to everyone, was now a black hole.

No one gave Dewey another thought.....

The coats, hats, canes, stopped selling. Even the teething rings stopped selling. Lastly the Dewey Arch which was just a temporary structure was torn down in 1901. It was never replicated in stone. By 1900 he was just another historical has been. In fact he had been eclipsed by another figure who would come to represent the 20th century. None other than Theodore Roosevelt.

Dewey vanished pretty much from the public scene and finally died in January of 1917. Just as the United States was ready to enter a new war. But the age of great hero's that were almost gods seemed to vanish as did the old soldiers of the 19th century. But he became the last figure that anyone made a massive arch for.

So as I walk around 5th Ave and 24th Street I walked and looked. Nothing remains of the Dewey Arch..Just the few monuments and statues that were there when the Dewey Arch was new. Those are the Worth Memorial and the Lincoln Statue on 5th Ave. It was on this street I took the picture of the area now.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Victorian funeral and cemetery monuments The victorian way to honor the dead. A picture story of victorian monuments

The Victorians had unique ways to honor the dead. The monuments they made were always big, sentimental and garish. Here is a batch of monuments from Cedar Grove Cemetery in Paterson NJ.

The Victorians had unique ways to honor the dead. The monuments they made were always big, sentimental and garish. Here is a batch of monuments from Cedar Grove Cemetery in Paterson NJ.

Friday, June 06, 2008

After nearly 25 years I finally got the books I wanted..a rare find for me, a bit of New England homespun

I have been looking for these books for ages. To make it more plain, I have looked for a quarter of a century. Now I will read them after a long wait.

What is so special about these books? Several things.... First off they were written by John Quincy Adams and published in 1810. There was not a massive amount of these books made. John Quincy was a professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University starting in 1805. These books are some of his lectures before the Junior and seniors classes.

In 1812 John Adams renewed his friendship with his arch rival Thomas Jefferson. He opened up their friendship with a bit of "homespun" as Adams put it. It was a set of these books. Jefferson read them with great relish.

I have known of these books since the 1970's . Today, after so long I have finally found my copies of "homespun"...For me it is wonderful to have books in my library that John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, James Monroe, Josiah Quincy, and many of the great minds of the 18th and 19th century once had.

I find it was worth the wait. I will join Jefferson and many others and read them with great relish. What is truly great never disappoints, no matter how long the wait.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The JFK assassination.I am tired of all the nonsense of the assassination plots..This is all to make money for the people who write about it.

I am so tired of all the nonsense about the Kennedy assassination. I have read so many books on it and every book has a different cast of people involved in the plot. I am of the idea that we have made a lot out of nothing.

I think that Oswald did it. He was a high awarded marksman in the Marines. He was one of the best. He was high marked for 200 yard shots in the Marines. To be honest he shot the President at a much shorter for Oswald it was like a turkey shoot...quite easy.


I think a lot of people have made a lot of money talking and writing about this stuff.

One has to remember that there is a LOT OF MONEY TO BE MADE IN CONSPIRACY!!

And everyone from Oliver Stone down has made a fortune out of the death of JFK! To hell with the truth, conspiracy makes money!!!!!


In fact if you add all the people that are supposed to have shot the President in Dallas....

They would all be getting in each others way!!!!!!

I find that rather funny, of course each conspiracy theorist thinks they have the guy or have made up the guy to make money. Because if you want to see some silly stuff, read some of these conspiracy books on Kennedy. They are a hoot at times.

I have seen everything from a gunman at the grassy knoll to Kennedy's own secret service accidentally shooting him, even his driver!!!!! The computer has aided us in the real truth behind the assassination. The fellow who is supposed to be in the picture on the grassy knoll. Computer studies have shown that he would have to be around three and half feet tall.
Connally was in a jump seat and lower than the President so the bullets line up perfectly. I know this get conspiracy folks all upset. But the longer time goes on the more we can see we have the answer already.
People want to believe that one man could not do this...why not..remember he was an amazing marksman and a nutcase!

No one seems to want to mention that!! It spoils the story....and once again conspiracy makes MONEY!!!

I have mentioned this before, and it seems to be something conspiracy folks like to leave out and that was Kennedy was in a back brace and wrapped from the chest down in this brace. It was to keep him erect. He needed this as he was so weak in his spine. He was on drugs when in public to look like he was OK, but behind the scenes he was a wreck. Therefore this harness was put on him from the nipples to the small of his back and he was wrapped in ace bandages around a metal frame so he could be erect and not strain his very weak back. Sadly this device which helped him tremendously, also led to his death. As he had no freedom of movement.

When he received the first bullet, he should have crumpled, but he did not as he could not. The reason quite simply was that he was wrapped and bound in this brace.
Even when he was hit in the head he bounced and snapped back into position and then fell over sideways. He never crumpled up. He just fell to his side dead. Much has been made of this snapping back and rarely do I hear about the back brace...It does not make as much money to say that. So they do not and sell more books and movies that way. This is the way to make money.....That is why there are books on everything from Marlyn Monroe to the Lock Ness Monster selling...People love to be given the chance to believe what is not real...The conspiracy people fill that need nicely.

Even the stuff about the "magic bullet" Tests done on similar bullets from the same batch shot into 45 inches of wood came out even more pristine than the magic bullet. By the way the Magic bullet is not really in that great of condition. It is in good condition not pristine!! Major fact

When the real facts are looked at and the nonsense put out by some really questionable people is looked start to see things in a very different way.

The truth will set you free is the old saying ...and in this case the more you learn the real facts people like Oliver Stone look rather foolish. Sadly most of the younger people of the world are instructed by that awful movie......People think it is needs to be mentioned that it is fictional. Hello just like Star trek Fiction!!

Now I know many people would like to argue that fact...But I will go back to the facts.... Marksman, open clear shots, and a slow moving vehicle. To me it seems really easy if you are a marksman...and rather nuts as Oswald was.

Amazing huh!!

I was lucky to talk President Gerald R.Ford and we did talk about the Warren commission and the Kennedy assassination (he must have been so sick of that subject) He talked about the movie JFK. He said it was a nice movie, just a movie not based on fact.
He said they looked at the evidence and they decided on their conclusions on the evidence. He was very convinced and after looking at much of the evidence that Oswald was the assassin.

After looking at the magic bullet debunked, and the nonsense of many of the books like one where they altered the Presidents body. I agree that I find Ford is correct.

I know there are problems with the Warren Report, but I think it is more on the ball than many of these half baked conspiracy theories.

I am of the opinion that we will never know everything...But I think we know more than we think we do.....Till then, the writers will put out more nonsense and Oliver Stone will be given credit for exposing the truth. I can't wait till he does a movie on the Easter Bunny...It will be about as truthful I am sure.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Exhuming James Madison around 1856. This was done so the ground around his grave was strong enough to support his gravestone

The grave marker of James Madison.
James Madison 1751-1836

James Madison died on June 28, 1836 while seated in bed with his breakfast tray. In fact he died in such a gentle way. His niece asked him him if he was doing well..In one of the gentlest of farewells he simply said "Nothing but a change of heart, my dear." and his head immediately hit his chest. He was dead so fast and so quietly.

His funeral on the 29th was a quiet affair, attended by family, officials, friends and all the slaves. Once the body was placed in the grave there was a great moaning and cry from all attending the funeral. The 4th President was no more.

He was indeed the last of the "Founding Fathers". He was eulogised by all of the leaders of the country. All the great orators of the day spoke of his greatness. John Quincy Adams read his eulogy and spoke of his greatness before a joint session of Congress. His wife Dolley was in bad financial shape as had been Mr. Madison. He had been over the last 10 years of his life selling land, slaves, and his last resort was a house he owned in Washington DC. Dolley hoped that would never happen, and indeed it never did. Madison was extremely depressed over money in his later years.
It was not till the 20th century that ex Presidents received a pension. So in his case and every other ex President till Harry S Truman, no one received a pension

Truman started it all when he said why don't we get pensions??? After Truman pushed it, all ex Presidents got one.

But back in the 1830's James Madison was in pretty rough shape financially. He sold most of his slaves together to a man names Taylor so he could keep all the husbands and wife's together. He was another of those Virginians who said slavery was bad, but was a part of it. But I am venturing off my topic here as I can write for hours on so much of this era and I will some day.

Madison was buried amazingly in an unmarked grave. Dolley when she died in 1849 was buried in Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC. She was buried in some one Else's crypt. It was not till around 1858 that she finally was laid to rest with her husband.

It was not till 1856, twenty years after his death that many people got upset that the "Father of the American Constitution" did not even have a grave marker.

Now there are two stories I have found so far on this and I am sure there are more. But for now here are the two of them. The first was a history of Orange County Virgina by W.W. Scott in 1907, the second one is from the Fredricksburg news on Oct. 6, 1857.

The first story states it was around 1856 and the second says it was 1857. None the less the stories are rather similar and are interesting to read. It is most amazing how many of our former Presidents have been exhumed, looked at, and reburied.


From its Formation in 1734 ( O. S.) to the end of Reconstruction in 1870 ; compiled mainly from Original Records. With a Brief Sketch of the Beginnings of Virginia, a Summary of Local Events to 1907, and a Map

.State Law Librarian, Member of the State Historical
.Society, and for ten years State Librarian
of Virginia

MADISON'S TOMB. This monolith was erected about 1856 by private subscriptions, mostly by admirers of Madison outside the County The date of birth is an error, as explained in the sketch of Madison, infra. The smaller tombstone in the illustration is that of Mrs. Madison, and curious to say, Maude Wilder Goodwin, in her "Life of Dolly Madison," complains of a wrong inscription on her tombstone also. She died July 12, not July 8, as the inscription reads, and she signed her name "Dolly," not "Dolley," to her will, which was dated on the 9th. She was buried first in Washington, D. C., in 1849, and her remains were not brought to Montpelier until about 1858. As her own nephew, not Madison's, erected the tombstone, the error must be imputed to him. The inscription on Madison's tomb is:

BORN MARCH 16, 1751.
DIED JUNE 28, 1836.
I have been told that when the stone was erected it was necessary to take up his remains in order to get a safe foundation. The coffin was opened, and, except that one cheek was a little sunken, his appearance was the same as in life; but disintegration began immediately, and the coffin had to be closed. He had been buried about twenty years.


"MADISON'S MONUMENT AND REMAINS. -- Since his death and burial in 1836, the mortal remains of Ex-President Madison have been quietly reposing at Montpelier, in Orange county – a locality distant some nine miles from Gordonsville, on the line of the Virginia Central Railroad. During all this time no mural record with high-sounding eulogy disclosed the place of his final rest; only neighborhood tradition and historic record serving to point the way to it. The neglect in attesting his worth by some suitable monument attracted attention, and some few years since a number of gentlemen of Orange county set about the task of procuring one. Having been procured, it was conveyed to Montpelier on the 15th inst., and placed in position... In digging for a suitable foundation, it became necessary to go below the coffin, which was consequently exposed to view. The boards placed above the coffin had decayed, but no earth had fallen in upon it, and everything appeared to be as when the coffin was deposited there, except that the coffin-lid was slightly out of place, allowing a partial view of the interior. As there were no fastenings to prevent, the part of the lid covering the superior portion of the body was raised, and the several gentlemen present looked in upon the remains of the great Virginian..."
– Fredericksburg News, 6 October 1857

So there you have it George Washington was exhumed and looked at in the 1830's, Madison and John Quincy Adams in the 1850's, Lincoln was observed several times from1870 till the last time he was looked at was in late 1901!! Of course the latest look at a dead President was of Zachary Taylor in 1991. It was said that he was indeed still recognizable, although badly decomposed.

I cannot recall any other Presidents being observed after being buried or in a crypt for a while. I think the days of doing such things are over. At least I think they are.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Did the Lusitania really get us into World War One?

Not really.

I agree that the Lusitania did have a vast impact on the world. Sadly the impact was promoted more through propaganda.

It was a horrible and great mistake on both the sides of the Allies and Germans. The Allies were using all of the ships sailing to Europe to carry a lot of munitions.
They sugar coated it by putting passengers on such ships.

The loss of life was amazing. Both sides hold the blame for their loss. Ironically a little known story concerns some Germans. Four of them were seen looking around the Lusitania and they were taken to the ships brig and there they still remain. They were locked in their cage and when the ship was torpedoed they were forgotten.

The Germans were not at all at fault by sinking a ship carry such munitions. One has to remember that each of these ships was carrying materials that would in time be fired at them by the Allies!!

Germany even issued warnings in the Newspapers telling passengers not to sail on such a vessel as there existed a state of war. But few paid any attention, and paid dearly with their lives.

It is interesting that the Allies never mentioned such a fact to their passengers. It was arrogance on a grand scale, and the result was catastrophic to everyone.

So it was in their best interest to sink any ship carry such items. However, if only they could have done it a little easier by telling everyone to abandon ship and then sunk her.

The problem with that was that the German's originally did that with ships. They would surface and tell the ships company to go to the boats and after all were off they would sink the ship with gun fire or torpedo's.
But after this bit of courtesy was started the Allies would ram the U boats. So they stopped that practice.

Therefore when the U 20 saw the Lusitania she did not surface, she just fired one torpedo, just one. That one torpedo caused a 790 foot liner to go down in 18 minutes!

There are still problems in my mind about why that ship sank so fast? She was subdivided like a cruiser and made to withstand a lot. She was still plowing through the water as she sank.
The RMS Britannic (sister of the Titanic) Struck a mine the following year and received a great deal of damage as the ship plowed along in the water. Yet she lasted an hour.

By the sinking, the Allies had a great piece of propaganda, and used it for 2 years till the USA was in the picture.
There were Lusitania Memorial Cards and one other piece that truly was an awful piece of propaganda.

When the Lusitania was sunk there was a private issue of a metal made in Germany. No one would have known of it. However the British got a hold of one of the metals and had tens of thousands of them made and then they blamed the German's for making them!
That was one of the factors that turned the tide against the German's.

The Lusitania was sunk in 1915 and it was a big issue for a while. However the United States did not enter the war till well into 1917. It was not till there were the famous Zimmerman telegrams intercepted concerning Mexico and many other ships torpedoed that the United States reluctantly entered the war.

It was the worst thing the United States ever did.

Perhaps the two greatest errors of the USA in the 20th century were entering the war and the terrible peace process that followed.

This war was a continuation of the wars that had been going on in Europe for the last few hundred years.
It was a war blown out of proportion by the foolish actions of the Russian Tsar, who never was much of an intellect at all.
Much of the problems started with his actions. The Kaiser sent telegrams to the Tsar basically saying to him

"shut up and be quiet and let it all cool down"

But he did not...Before long through that first action the sides were drawn and the world started to fall apart. In fact it has never recovered from that moment of 1914. Much of the mess that exists in our world today dates from the peace process of World War One.

That process effected the world in such a way that we are still paying for it. Iraq, Iran,and really what would in time become Israel as we know it was created in that peace conference of World War One.
Just one of the many great blunders. I have often wondered if they gave it a thought back then? We are creating a whole mess of countries side by side and each of them hates the other!

Yes, the Lusitania was a terrible event, but not the major reason the USA went into the war. Many people think that was the reason. No, it was one of many reasons, but not the major one.
But if Germany and England had changed their tune in 1915. We would not have entered the war.
If we had not allowed contraband to be put on passenger ships in New York Harbor there would not have been issue with the Lusitania either. But that is another story, for another posting.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Living Theater's premiere of "Many Loves" by William Carlos Williams. A historic momento of theater and the program from that historic evening..

A rare program from the premiere of Many Loves at The Living Theater on December 27, 1958

The inside of one of the many pages within, but I would guess the most important in which it shows the cast and other information. The date on the program is on its top.

The founders of The Living Theater Judith Malina and Julian Beck.
William Carlos Williams around the time of the performance in 1958
The two powerhouses today that are The Living Theater

On December 27, 1958, William Carlos Williams most famous play had its official premiere at The Living Theater in New York.
It was a small theater, but one dedicated to the unusual and the more controversial plays, attitudes, poems, art, and concepts of life itself. It was a place where much of the concept of modern theater started.

Williams was approached to have his play done at the theater for which he was most excited. William's at the time had not been quite a well known name in the world of theater or poetry. He was a unique artist in an age where his art was not yet recognized. So the opportunity to have his show there was a wonderful event for both Williams and The Living Theater.

The play dealt with gay issues that were not then well received by many audiences or theaters in the late 1950's.
It was the first performance and led to that play being performed all over the world and to a degree giving a new life and recognition to Williams. Who was living in Rutherford, New Jersey, in a plain middle classed home. He had never come out of the shadows of many of his contemporaries, but by the 1960's, he was one of the most well known and respected of poets and writers.

Here is some historical information from the Living Theater. Which is very alive and kicking. Still focusing on new and lesser known venues for an eager public.

From the website for the Living Theater

Founded in 1947 as an imaginative alternative to the commercial theater by Judith Malina, the German-born student of Erwin Piscator, and Julian Beck, an abstract expressionist painter of the New York School, The Living Theatre has staged nearly a hundred productions performed in eight languages in 28 countries on five continents - a unique body of work that has influenced theater the world over.

During the 1950's and early 1960's in New York, The Living Theatre pioneered the unconventional staging of poetic drama - the plays of American writers like Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Paul Goodman, Kenneth Rexroth and John Ashbery, as well as European writers rarely produced in America, including Cocteau, Lorca, Brecht and Pirandello. Best remembered among these productions, which marked the start of the Off-Broadway movement, were Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Tonight We Improvise, Many Loves, The Connection and The Brig.

Following the death of Julian Beck in 1985, cofounder Judith Malina and the company’s new director, veteran Hanon Reznikov, who first encountered The Living Theatre while a student at Yale in 1968, opened a new performing space in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, producing a steady stream of innovative works including The Tablets, I and I, The Body of God, Humanity, Rules of Civility, Waste, Echoes of Justice, and The Zero Method. After the closing of the Third Street space in 1993, the company went on to create Anarchia, Utopia and Capital Changes in other New York City venues.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The last of the Civil War Monitors, The USS Canonicus.... 1864-1908

This is a glass negative print of the USS Canonicus

Here she is as a practically new ship in the 1864-65 period.

Here she is in 1907, a relic of an age long past. She was on display at the 1907 Jamestown Exhibition. The following year she was scrapped. Why didn't anyone save the last monitor? Sadly no one really thought of it I guess. So this year sadly celebrates the 100 anniversary of the destruction of the last monitor, the USS Canonicus

They were a class unto themselves and we never really hear about any of them save for the first. Of course that first Monitor was a lifesaver for the United States Navy in 1862 The original design was by John Ericsson.
There followed after the USS Monitor a whole series of them that fought in the Civil War Usually for river and coastal defence. After the war there was not much use for them. What is most remarkable is that the United States continued to make various types of monitors till the turn of the 20th century. However those ships were very much unlike the original monitors of the Civil War.

USS Canonicus, name ship of a class of nine 2100-ton monitors, was built at Boston, Massachusetts. Commissioned in April 1864, she served in the James River area of Virginia from May 1864 until late in the year, taking part in engagements with Confederate batteries on 21 June, 16 August and 5-6 December. On 24-25 December 1864, Canonicus helped bombard Fort Fisher, on the North Carolina coast, in an abortive attempt to capture that vital enemy strong point. Returning to the scene in mid-January, she was part of a large fleet that relentlessly shelled the fort, preparing the way for a successful ground assault that took the position. This operation closed the port of Wilmington to further blockade running and markedly hastened the collapse of the Confederacy.

She was retired in 1872, seven after the war ended to South Carolina where she remained for 35 years!

Though she saw no further active service, the old ironclad was towed to Hampton Roads, Virginia, in mid-1907 for exhibit during the Jamestown Exposition. The last survivor of the Navy's once-large fleet of Civil War monitors, she was sold for scrapping the next year. If only we saved the last one it would have been such a gift to posterity.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dr. Benjamin Rush.. He wrote one of the most amazing letters ever ...bringing together Adams & Jefferson..It was a gift of prophecy

Aug, 2006

This weekend I was at an historic fair. While I strolled around there was a table dedicated to Dr. Benjamin Rush. Who I very much admire.

Much of the information on this table was dealing with abstaining from alcohol and Rush's ideals on this topic and many others. But I saw little more than that.
After having a interesting conversation with a woman in 18th century dress. I asked her about information about his relationship with John Adams. It was interesting that she did not know too much about it. I found that fascinating as much of Rush's letters were in conversation with the 2nd President.

This lack of info on Rush brought me back to a piece I wrote here last year on the fact that Rush was the glue that brought Jefferson and Adams back together in 1812. Although Rush had been working on the sidelines since 1809, it was not till 1812 that his work saw fruit.
Here is the article I wrote last year and it is one of the ones that I enjoyed studying and writing most.
It is all about warmth, friendship, honor, and love. There have been few relationships in history where we can see one friend bringing two others together after a long separation...And like a true Greek tragedy,the catalyst who did this dies...

Here is the story

John Adams in his last painting done in 1825...1735-1826

Jefferson in 1809....1743-1826

Dr. Benjamin Rush 1745-1813

On a ungodly hot and sunny July 4th 2005....... I stood at the grave of Dr. Benjamin Rush... I wanted to be there and say thank you to a man who made such a difference in the world and in our lives.

He is known as the father of modern Phychology...But he was also the catalyst in bringing together Adams and Jefferson who had not spoken in near a decade....

He wrote a most unusual letter to John Adams on October 16, 1809. This letter was not only remarkable for what it suggests..but what it says of Adams and Jefferson at the end of their lives is most remarkable. The letter is long and I will use most of it.

The letter was the result of a dream Dr Rush had....

It starts like this.............

Philadelphia, October 16, 1809

"What book is that in your hands?" said I to my son Richard a few nights ago in a dream. "It is a history of the United States," said he. "Shall I read a page of it to you?" ..."No, no," said I. "I believe in the truth of no history but of that which is contained in the Old and New Testaments."..."But sir," said my son, "this page relates to your friend Mr. Adams." .."Let me see it then," said I. I read it with great pleasure and herewith send you a copy of it.


"Among the most extraordinary events of this year was the renewal of the friendship and intercourse between Mr. John Adams and Mr. Jefferson, the two ex Presidents of the United States.
They met for the first time in the Congress of 1775. Their Principles of liberty, their ardent attachment to their country, and their views of the importance and probable issue of the struggle with Great Britain in which they were engaged being exactly the same, they were strongly attracted to each other and became personal as well as political friends.

A difference of opinion upon the subject and issue of the French Revolution separated them during the years in which that great event interested and divided the American people.
The predominance of the party which favored the French cause threw Mr. Adams out of the chair of the United States in the year 1800 and placed Mr. Jefferson there in his stead.
The former retired with resignation and dignity to his seat at Quincy.
The latter resigned the chair of the United States in the year 1808, sick of the cares and disgusted with the intrigues of public life, and retired to his seat at Monticello.

In the month of November 1809 Mr Adams addressed a short letter to his friend Mr. Jefferson in which he congratulated him upon his escape to the shades of retirement and domestic happiness, and concluded it with assurances of his regard and good wishes for his welfare.
This letter did great honor to Mr. Adams. It discovered a magnanimity known only to great minds.
Mr. Jefferson replied to this letter and reciprocated expressions of regard and esteem.

These letters were followed by a correspondence of several years, in which they mutually reviewed the scenes of business in which they had been engaged, and candidly acknowledged to each other all the errors of opinion and conduct into which they had fallen during the time they filled the same station in the service of their country.
Many precious aphorisms, the result of observations, experience, and profound reflection, it is said, are contained in these letters.

It is to be hoped the world will be favored with a sight of them when they can neither injure nor displease any persons or families whose ancestors follies or crimes were mentioned in them.

These gentlemen sunk into the grave nearly at the same time, full of years and rich in the gratitude and praises of their country."

If anyone can be said to have had the gift of prophecy...It is Dr. Benjamin Rush.

There is only one thing he was wrong on...ONLY ONE THING!!!!! Their relationship was restored in 1812, not 1809. If I had not known that Benjamin Rush died in 1813, I would think he would have written the letter in 1826.

But he wrote it to his friend, John Adams who he loved as he did Thomas Jefferson.

Adams said of Jefferson " I love Jefferson, I always have loved Jefferson." That was all Jefferson needed to hear...

In 1812 John Adams wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson saying much of what Rush had said he would. Jefferson replied in kind.

By 1813 they had repaired the friendship, as soon as that had happened they both received the terrible news that their dear friend Rush was dead.

They wrote on everything, and shared, forgave, questioned, and gave the world a gift in their letters that are considered some of the greatest writings in the English language.

They did indeed fall into their graves at nearly the same time...Dying within hours of each other on July 4, 1826. Full of years and looked on with gratitude by a country who loved them.

When the years had passed the letters were seen by the public and are ever so treasured.

So as I stood at the grave of Benjamin Rush on that hot burning Sunday.. July 4, 2005.....I said thank you. Your gift and love of two great men gave a gift to man that can hardly be measured. On July 5, 2005 I received a copy of the book of all of the letters between Jefferson and Adams...It is one of my most prized items.

All there because a friend had a dream, and the dream was a gift to us all.

John Adams...... Time to reconsider him.

March 2006

I truly believe him to be one of the most disregarded of our historic figures. Over shadowed by Jefferson who was not at all equal to Adams raw talent or bravery.

Over time the name of Adams was lost in the dusty pages of history . I find that in the last 50 years...(a short time historically) Adams has been making a comeback, and Jefferson is starting to be seen as the hypocrite he truly was.
I will do a good deal of writing on Adams as time goes on. I welcome others who wish to comment on the "Atlas of American Independence" (Jefferson's words not mine) and hope to post a tremendous amount of info on one amazing man who changed the course of the world's history.

I will admit that Adams was not a warm person to deal with at times. He was not as classy as Jefferson. He did not write as well as Jefferson. But he had guts! He had more raw passion than Jefferson..and was the powerhouse behind what happened in July of 1776.

I have a lot of respect for Jefferson, I think he was a great man. I find that Jefferson was not at all kind to Adams when it came to politics. But Jefferson was always a political animal. He and Washington even stopped talking.. He referred to Washington as "old muttenhead".

The two main political animals of that time were Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Both were not warm or friendly people. Both of these two guys were snobs and both of them disliked Adams who was really down to earth. Neither of those two guys were in their fields plowing, or planting crops, or doing the work...Adams was.

Jefferson who said that all men are created equal had a large amount of slaves. Nor did he free them... Adams had hired help.

Although Aaron Burr was not to likeable a person either....I like him more than Hamilton. The reasons for their duel have a lot to due with what Hamilton said of Burr...and it was really nasty.

But I think that we have bypassed Adams. I think it is time to honor the Atlas of American Independence!! Let's have a monument to him in Washington..

Monday, March 10, 2008

Garret Hobart 1844-1899 ..One of the most forgotten Vice Presidents..However, his death changed the world..A look at his grave in Patterson, NJ

President William McKinley and Vice President Garret Hobart relaxing on a vacation. They were very close and often would go on vacations together with their wife's who were also very close.

It was perhaps the nicest and warmest relationship in the Presidency. Hobart was often referred as to as the co-President. Both he and McKinley were beloved by just about everyone.
Hobart was involved in every aspect of the Presidency. McKinley made the office of the Vice-President a vital one to his administration. The main reason was he very warm relationship with the Hobart's.
Hobart was also McKinley's savings advisor. As Hobart was involved in many businesses and McKinley had once had the misfortune of having to declare bankruptcy. Therefore McKinley gave Hobart part of his paycheck as President to him to invest so he would never have such a problem again.

(Remember, ex-Presidents did not get a pension or anything from the government save for free postage.)

It was planned that Hobart would be a part of McKinley's 2nd administration. But fate had other ideas.

Hobart was strickened in mid 1899 with heart disease.
By the fall he was in pretty bad shape. McKinley wrote often from the White House and the Hobart's were writing back.
It was heartbreaking for McKinley as he was not only seeing a dear friend dying, but the one person who made his administration so happy and successful, his friend and Vice President.
The letters from William McKinley and his wife to the Hobart's are just filled with love and hope. The Letters back from the Hobart's were full of love and realism.

They knew it was only a matter of time. On November 21, 1899, Hobart died.

The entire world went into mourning for the very much loved Vice President.
Much of the Senate, Congress, Supreme Court, Cabinet, and of course his friend, the grieving President came. McKinley said it was great loss for him. He seemed very effected by it all as it was noted in the papers.

It was a grand event in Patterson, New Jersey. As all of the American and much of the world's political body came to honor Hobart. He was laid out in a Tiger Oak casket with silver handles. On the lid was a shield saying. Garret Hobart 1844-1899.

The Vice President was then laid out in City Hall in Patterson, and then the service was held in the Presbyterian Church. It was standing room only and most of the locals who knew him were sadly not able to go inside as it was over crowded with visitors.

After the service there was a march to Cedar Lawn Cemetery on the edge of town where Hobart's body was placed in the Receiving vault. President McKinley was with the body all the way to the vault and then made it his business to thank the heads of the cemetery for their work. He kept saying it was a great loss, not only to him but the country.
McKinley while there was able to see New York from the Hills of this Patterson cemetery. Then they all left and the Body rested in the receiving vault till the following year.

The inside of the old Receiving vault. The door leads to vaults to hold the caskets of those who do not have mausoleums yet or it is too cold to dig a grave. Today with tractors to dig, cold weather is usually not a great problem. but still they get their use now and then. But this is was Hobart's first resting place.

What is not really known today is that Patterson was one of the wealthiest communities in the United States at the end of the 19th century. The location of the Hobart Mausoleum is surrounded by many like it and many graves marked with very opulent funeral statuary. It is a most incredible place.
To look at it today one can only look with wonder at the grand graves and mausoleums. In this picture you will see the Hobart Mausoleum on the left and many of the other graves of that era in its locale.

This is the Hobart Mausoleum built in 1900-01. It is the largest mausoleum in the cemetery.

The name is on the front. Oddly there are no flags or markings on the structure to say who is there and who he was.

The inside of the Mausoleum. It was very hard to photograph this. I had to try several times taking pictures through the grating of the Bronze doors. It is quite lovely inside. In this structure rests Hobart, his wife and daughter.

Now comes the great change that Hobart made by his death.

History just needs a little thing to change the entire world. Hobart was to be in McKinley's second term. But by his death the political bosses were at a loss as to who to make Vice President.
Theodore Roosevelt who was at this time the Governor of New York was a real pain to all of the political bosses, but mostly Thomas Platt.
There was little love between McKinley and Roosevelt, But the bosses wanted to get rid of Roosevelt.
The best place to put him was the Vice Presidency. As it was a nothing position, at least it was now.
Senator Mark Hanna put it best to the Republican bosses saying.."You have put one life between the Presidency and that damned cowboy".

McKinley had no plans to make Roosevelt a part of his inner circle. Roosevelt had embarrassed and insulted McKinley many times in the press. Saying when it came to war, McKinley had the backbone of a Chocolate eclair.
The thing that Roosevelt failed to grasp was that McKinley knew war, Roosevelt had his fantasies of what it was.
Also McKinley had more class than Roosevelt. But that did not stop Roosevelt from making a fool of himself and once again embarrassing the President. But McKinley when told that Roosevelt would be his running mate was as kind as he always was. He was like a kid in a candy shop. He was shocked when he saw McKinley's modest home in Canton. Roosevelt could not have that, he was as Harry S. Truman put it. More bull than moose. I am sure that McKinley's scotch consumption went up, knowing that he had Roosevelt with him for 4 years. But once again fate laid out its icy hand.

In September, 1901 McKinley was assassinated and Roosevelt was President. If Hobart had lived how different the history of the United States may have been.

If you get the chance visit the mausoleum of Hobart. No one comes by anymore, nor does anyone know who he was, or what he was, which is sad and what prompted me to write this.

I was glad to drop and wish the former Vice President well, and to ask him to give my best to his friend President McKinley as well.

McKinley and his running mate. There are very few of them together.