The Art of War Gardening

The Art of War Gardening

War Gardens or Victory Gardens were planted at private residences and public parks during both world wars. They were promoted as a way to reduce pressure on the public food supply and also as “morale boosters.” Gardeners could feel their contribution of labor helped the war effort in addition to rewarding them with the produce they grew. They were adopted in Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand in addition to here in the United States.

Demonstration Garden, Bryant Park, NYC

Demonstration Garden, Bryant Park, NYC

Charles Lathrop Pack organized the US National War Garden Commission in March 1917. Pack, a third-generation timberman, was one of the five wealthiest men in America prior to World War I. He came up with the idea to increase the food supply without increasing the “use of land already cultivated, of labor already engaged in agricultural work, of time devoted to other necessary occupations, and of transportation facilities which were already inadequate to the demands made upon them.”

The commission publicized the gardens with pamphlets, printed material for newspaper distribution, and colorful posters. The Commission claimed that the majority of the 30,000,000 WWI soldiers had been farmers before they went to war. The reduction in farm labor here and in Europe along with farmland devastated by warfare had many people worried about food supplies.

In addition to home gardens, the Commission also helped with the United States Bureau of Education’s mobilization of school children in the food production effort. Through the United States School Garden Army program, millions of children were taught the value of gardening as a patriotic effort during war-time. They learned the importance of food production through practical work in school based gardens.

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Jeannette Bates on ‘A Woman’s Place’

Jeannette Bates on ‘A Woman’s Place’

I was flipping through some older newspapers and saw a suffrage cartoon that gave me the idea of searching for old news items with the phrase “woman’s place is.”

Boy!  There is a lot to pick from.  I will have to revisit this set of documents from time to time, but this item jumped out at me and introduced me to a woman I had never heard of by the name of Jeannette Bates.

It was in the Chicago based The Day Book in 1917:

Jeanette BatesChicago, January 10, 1917: Bosh! It was Jeannette Bates, woman lawyer, just appointed assistant attorney general of Illinois, who “boshed” a smiling “bosh” across a paper-Uttered desk in answer to the question: “Do you agree in the argument that woman will never attain an important place in law?”

Miss Bates has just taken a place
beside Congressman Jeannette Rankin in the political procession.

“Woman’s place is wherever she makes good,” said Miss Bates. “Some women will make good in the court; some in the kitchen.

“I know Clarence Darrow has just said the woman lawyer may not make a living in the law. Well, I know some, men lawyers whose living – made in the law is rather lean.

“Mr. Darrow said, ‘Women are too kind to succeed as corporation lawyers, they cannot fight the soulless trusts.

“But women have fought trusts,” declared Miss Bates. “Ida Tarbell’s heart never weakened her fighting qualities.

“To go back to this matter of making a living in the law. When I was teaching I made $1,200 a year. The first year I practiced law I made more than $1,200. Since I have been practicing I have acquired a comfortable, seven-room bungalow, a garden and chickens.

“As women are gaining more political power,” continued the woman who has the state of Illinois for a client, “the law rather than medicine or teaching is attracting women. We used to be told the ‘legal mind’ was a man monopoly. Women seem to be proving there are no monopolies in the professions.”

via The Day Book, January 9, 1917

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The Peak and Decline of Spelling Reform

The Peak and Decline of Spelling Reform

Carnegie Support

The New York Times, March 12, 1906

With the new financial support of Andrew Carnegie and the ongoing support by leading scholars (see: The Rise of the Spelling Reform Movement), the movement made some immediate gains.

The formation of the Simplified Spelling Board was announced on March 11, 1906. Andrew Carnegie provided virtually all of the initial funding for the New York City based organization. The New York Times described Carnegie’s support as being based on his believe that “English might be made the world language of the future” and “an influence leading to universal peace”, but that this role was obstructed by its “contradictory and difficult spelling”. His financial support included a commitment of $15,000 per year for five years. That would be a commitment of over $350,000 a year in 2010 dollars.

The Board

The inaugural board of the Board was a diverse and well-respected set of luminaries. Among the early board members were:

Chancellor Andrews of the University of Nebraska, Justice Brewer of the United States Supreme Court, President Butler of Columbia University, O. C. Blackmer of Chicago, Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, Dr. Melvil Dewey (of Dewey Decimal Fame), Dr. Isaac K. Funk, editor and publisher of The Standard Dictionary; Lyman J. Gage, ex-Secretary of the Treasury; Richard Watson Gilder, editor of The Century Magazine; Dr. William T. Harris, United States Commissioner of Education and editor of Webster’s International Dictionary; Prof. George Hempel of the University of Michigan, Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Holt, Prof. William James of Harvard, President Jordan of Leland Stanford University, Prof. Thomas R. Lounsbury of Yale, Prof. Francis A. March of Lafayette, Prof. Brander Matthews of Columbia, Dr. Benjamin E. Smith, editor, and Dr. Charles P. G. Scott, etymological editor, of The Century Dictionary; President H. H. Seedley of the Iowa State Normal School, Cedar Falls; Col. Charles E. Sprague, President of the Union Dime Savings Institution; Prof. Calvin Thomas of Columbia, Dr. William Hayes Ward, editor of The Independent, and President Woodward of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. (more…)

Exit Art’s Reactions – 9/11 Responses

Exit Art’s Reactions – 9/11 Responses

Exit Art was founded in 1982 by artist Papo Colo and curator Jeanette Ingberman during the alternative space movement. The founders saw a lack of exposure for artists whose work challenged social, political, or sexual norms and raised difficult questions of race, ethnicity, gender and equality.

Exit Art has had, as its goal, the mission of connecting beyond the art world through thematic exhibitions exploring critical issues in contemporary society.

One themed exhibit in 2002 called Reactions presented over 2,500 responses to how 9/11 changed public and private behavior. The exhibit was acquired by the Library of Congress for its American Memory project.

A few of the items are shown below.

Many of these were part of the Exit Art Gallery "Reactions Collection: A Global Response to the 9/11 Attacks". It was acquired on all of our behalf by the Library of Congress in 2002.

Posted by Words From Us on Friday, September 11, 2015

Martha Graham Snubbed Nazi Germany

Martha Graham Snubbed Nazi Germany

Art competitions were part of each Olympic program between 1912 to 1948. In 1949 the IOC made the decision to hole art exhibitions instead of contests with prizes based on the reasoning that only amateurs could compete in the athletic events while professional artists were winning the medals in the art categories.

For the 1936 games in Berlin, the German government sponsored an “International Dance Tournament” to precede the games. The United States and several Western European countries did not compete. (Source: The Journal of Health and Physical Education Volume 7, Issue 9, 1936)

Martha Graham was invited by German officials to represent the United States at the tournament.

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