by JD Thomas | Sep 30, 2015
Jeannette Pickering Rankin was the first woman to hold high government office in the United States when she won a seat in the United States Congress in 1916.
Rankin, born 1880, was the eldest daughter of a rancher and a schoolteacher near Missoula, Montana, on June 11, 1880. She graduated from Montana State University in 1902 and moved on to the New York School of Philanthropy (later the Columbia University School of Social Work). After working briefly as a social worker in Spokane, Washington, she entered the University of Washington in Seattle.
Rep. Jeanette Rankin of Montana, right with muff, reading The Suffragist (1917)
It was there that Rankin joined the local woman suffrage movement that achieved its goal in Washington State in 1910. She eventually became a professional lobbyist for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Her speaking and organizing efforts helped Montana women gain the vote in 1914.
Rankin decided in 1916 to run for a House seat from Montana. Some woman suffrage leaders feared she would lose the race and hurt the cause nationally, but Rankin secures a GOP nomination for one of Montana’s two At-Large House seats on August 29, 1916.
She campaigned as a progressive, pledging to work for a woman suffrage amendment and emphasizing social welfare issues. A long time pacifist, Miss Rankin did not shy away from letting voters know how she felt about U.S. participation in the European war that had, by then, been raging for two years: “If they are going to have war, they ought to take the old men and leave the young to propagate the race.”
Rankin came in second place statewide so won one of Montana’s seats.
by JD Thomas | Sep 27, 2015
The Denver Public Library has an extensive digitized archive of photos and other materials. They have done a better job than many other archives in terms of making the resources easy to explore.
They have added galleries within the collection. They can be easily located through the tag cloud at https://history.denverlibrary.org/browse-galleries.
A few of my favorites are:
- Hipster Or History? – Fashion is cyclical, and contemporary fashion seems to mirror fashions of the past. Scroll these historic photos to find inspiration for your favorite fashions of today whether it be mustaches, high waisted shorts, chokers, thick rimmed glasses, brimmed hats, or plaid.
- Notable Moustaches Of The West – Some of these are really great, but some guys look like they would have made awesome silent movie villains.
- Lakeside Amusement Park – This set includes some gorgeous night photos of the park as well as a roller coaster car full of a small orchestra.
- Costume Ideas Our Grandparents Taught Us – From circus performers to stage shows – these outfits are fabulous. The collection curator posted about it with: “Halloween was a minor event until it came of age in the 1950s, and only in the last 10 or 15 years has it become the all-out extravaganza it is, now, in the 2010s.” This gallery includes a photo of a Ku Klux Klan Ladies Auxiliary.
- Ladies’ Hairstyles of the 1920s – This has great examples of both hair and outfits.
- Happy Mother’s Day – This collection covers about a century and includes mother and child photos from among both Native Americans and European settler families.
- Beer And The Old West – “Since the first weary Colorado miners came down from the hills into Denver with gold to spend and a hankering for beer, enterprising immigrants with the know how filled that need with a wide selection of lagers, stouts, ales and pilsners etc. Big names like Coors, Zang, Tivoli, are but a few among the almost countless small breweries that flourished in Colorado’s many boom towns. (Source)”
- The Parks Album – “The “Parks Album” was acquired by the Western History Department in the 1930’s, with no documentation or other information. It appears to be an inventory of buildings and facilities in the Denver City & Mountain Parks network. There are many interesting “small architecture” examples that will interest builders or “tiny house” aficionados.” (Source)
- Works Progress Administration Photographs – “The Work Projects Administration or “WPA,” was the largest and most ambitious of the American New Deal agencies. It employed millions of unskilled workers, mostly men, in all kinds of public works projects, building bridges, schools, dams, and public venues.” (Source)
- Camp Nizhoni – “Camp Nizhoni”, whose name was derived from the Navajo word for “beautiful,” was established by the Phillis Wheatley branch of the YMCA. Due to segregation, African-American women and girls were prohibited from attending the YMCA girl’s camp at Lookout Mountain in Colorado. With the help of the Lincoln Hills Development Corporation, the YMCA was able to permanently establish Camp Nizhoni at Lincoln Hills. The integration of the YMCA’s Camp Lookout in 1945 closed the formal chapter on the history of Camp Nizhoni but its impact remains to this day.
Possible Silent Movie Villain
Girls at Camp Nizhoni
KKK Ladies Auxilliary
Orchestra on Roller Coaster
by JD Thomas | Sep 26, 2015
When it came to forcing labor from enslaved people, American slave owners were frighteningly creative in coming up with methods to compel obedience from the slaves they controlled. Because of the economics involved, slave owners and their hired overseers had to work out threats and punishments that would frighten the slaves into submission but not completely incapacitate the person and so devalue them as property.
I was reading a letter in The Liberator from a traveler who claimed to have witnessed the tortuous events shown below. That letter introduced me to the term “cat-hauling.” It was a new one to me so I started looking around and found it mentioned in multiple sources where punishment techniques were itemized like the one below:
“A Typical Slave” – Harper’s Weekly, 1863
The ordinary mode of punishing the slaves is both cruel and barbarous. The masters seldom, if ever, try to govern their slaves by moral influence, but by whipping, kicking, beating, starving, branding, cat-hauling, loading with irons, imprisoning, or by some other cruel mode of torturing. They often boast of having invented some new mode of torture, by which they have “tamed the rascals.” What is called a moderate flogging at the south is horribly cruel.
Should we whip our horses for any offence as they whip their slaves for small offences, we should expose ourselves to the penalty of the law.
—American Slavery as it is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses
by JD Thomas | Sep 25, 2015
Leonardo Torres y Quevedo started to develop the idea of a remote control around 1901 or 1902, as a way of testing his airships without risking human lives.
In 1903, he presented the Telekino at the Paris Academy of Science with an experimental demonstration. At the same time he obtained a patent for it in France, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States.
In 1906, in the presence of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria* of Spain, Torres successfully demonstrated the invention in the port of Bilbao, guiding a boat over 1.25 miles away from the shore based on Queen Victoria’s instructions. Later, he would try to apply the Telekino to projectiles and torpedoes, but had to abandon the project for lack of financing.
by JD Thomas | Sep 24, 2015
Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952) created a systematic record of early American buildings and gardens called the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South (CSAS). This collection includes more than 7,100 images of an estimated 1,700 structures and sites in rural and urban areas of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana, and to a lesser extent Florida, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
Frances Benjamin Johnston in 1950
Frances was born during the American Civil War. Her 60-year career as a photographer began with portrait, news, and documentary work. Over time she began to focus on contemporary architecture and gardens, culminating in a survey of historic buildings in the southern United States.
She counted presidents, diplomats, and other government officials among her portrait clients, while in her personal life she traveled in more Bohemian circles.
In 1945 she moved to New Orleans and settled by 1946 at 1132 Bourbon St., in the French Quarter. That same year she became an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects “for her notable achievement in recording photographically the early architecture of the United States.” In 1947 she had a final exhibition at the Library of Congress.
Frances died in New Orleans on May 16, 1953 at the age of 88. She is buried in Rock Creek Park Cemetery, Washington, DC.
Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South
The survey began with a privately funded project to document the Chatham estate and nearby Fredericksburg and Old Falmouth, Virginia, in 1927-29. Johnston then dedicated herself to pursuing a larger project to help preserve historic buildings and inspire interest in American architectural history.
Frances Benjamin Johnston working on the CSAS in 1935.
Johnston produced vivid portrayals of the exteriors and interiors of houses, mills, and churches as well as mansions, plantations, and outbuildings. She traveled thousands of miles by car to build this collection of photographs.
The Carnegie Corporation provided here with six grants during the 1930s on condition that the negatives be deposited with the Library of Congress. The LoC formally acquired the negatives from her estate in 1953 along with about 20,000 other photographs.
The Library of Congress, with funding from ARTstor, digitized her negatives in 2008.
The CSAS collection is fully indexed so you can browse it by subject.
While much of the collection contains photos of stately manors and public buildings, a few of the locations she surveyed had the remains of slave quarters that she was able to record for posterity.