Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jane Lathrop Stanford Leland Stanford

By Charles Sedgwick Aiken

Jane Lathrop Stanford
Ten millions of dollars in stocks, bonds and real estate were given away within the past few months by a woman who, a little over forty years ago, was doing her own housework and taking boarders, in order to help herself and husband to pros­perity. Here is a lesson of success gained by woman as a helpmate, if ever there was such a lesson taught. Industry and econ­omy, enterprise and opportunity built the colossal fortune of Leland Stanford. But the homely virtues of her New England ancestry were the capital that his wife sup­plied him. Men know of him and his work in winning the West by railroad building, of his career as Governor of California during the Civil War, of his life in the United States Senate; but of the woman who helped and guided him, who since his death has shown her individuality in carrying out vast bequests, little has been told. And lit­tle would be told, if Mrs. Stanford had her way, for a modest shrinking from publicity is one of her marked characteristics.

It is interesting to note at the outset that the fact that Mrs. Stanford possesses de­cided individuality came as a rude shock to certain friends of her husband shortly after his death in 1893. Her life had been so sunk in his, and his was so strong a men­tality, that none but most intimate friends realized that she possessed a woman's will in well-developed form. But his death left her to fulfill the work of maintaining and carrying forward the great university at Palo Alto, and soon there came unavoidable conflicts with certain of the trustees who had been friends of her late husband. One was his nephew. Others had shown frater­nal feelings toward enemies of the Stanford interests in the Southern Pacific Company. Their resignations were asked for promptly, and as promptly accepted by their associates who were duly instructed by Mrs. Stanford as to the action she desired. People who had thought to hypnotize this woman, whose previous life had been apparently one of ex­treme self-abnegation, rolled eyebrows up­ward in shocked surprise. And then she went further. She let this beheading be widely known as a sort of horrible example to others, and figuratively displayed her trophies by this explanation, in an open let­ter to the trustees:

Claus Spreckels, Sugar King

By Victor H. O’Brien

Claus Spreckels
California has had her bonanza min­ing kings, her wheat kings and her cattle kings; other states and coun­tries have had their oil kings and their coffee kings and their iron kings and their cotton kings; but Claus Spreckels of Cali­fornia is another kind of a king, strictly sui generis. He made his money out of sugar —out of the actual manufacture of it, and not out of the speculation and trading in its stock, or out of the juggling of its prices. He is the sugar king by virtue of a veri­table conquest of the industry. He has mastered the craft of it, more than he has cared to exercise the tricks of it—and he has been the one man whom combinations of persons in the same business have been unable to dominate.

Claus Spreckels wanted "to be something and somebody" when he first came to America. That is why he ran away from Germany to avoid being drafted into the army. He had kicked along in wooden shoes behind his father's plow for nineteen years, barring the few years before he was old enough to walk, and had begun to feel, as the seed he sowed, like spreading out. Pa­rents, family parson and friends protested. But he had made up his mind. And his mind was then, as it has been ever since, un­changeable. That is to say, he weighed the prospect of three to five years in the army against three to five years spent in getting a foothold in the United States, and decided in favor of the latter. Then, having decided, he was not to be moved.

Mrs Potter Palmer of Chicago

Mrs Potter Palmer of Chicago
By Caroline Kirkland

Mrs. Potter Palmer
It is difficult to say with whom the idea originated that women should be officially recognized in the Columbian Exposition. When the National Commission was organ­ized, each of the commissioners (there were two from each state in the Union) was em­powered to appoint a woman from his state to the Board of Women Managers. In addi­tion, President Thomas B. Palmer, of the National Commission, appointed nine women from Chicago, among whom was Mrs. Potter Palmer. The only powers Congress had granted this Board of Women Managers was to be represented on the juries of awards. They met first in Chicago.

At this initial meeting the first of the dangers which were to beset the new under­taking hove in sight. A rather loud-voiced minority, champions of the Woman's Rights cause—Equal Suffrage is, I believe, the more acceptable term—saw an opportunity to ad­vance their cause, and sought with might and main to take advantage of it. But the energetic minority succeeded only in uniting the majority into one way of thinking. They did not want the board to fall under the sway of the equal suffragists. So they promptly selected as presidential candidate a woman of whom they knew little except that she was of charming address and was not a woman's suffragist. Excellent poli­ticians as women are, and seeing that they were outnum­bered, the un­daunted minor­ity wheeled around and supported the same candidate. They knew nothing of her except that she was inexperienced in public life. Therefore they hoped for great things from the union of her in­experience with their experi­ence. It was a leap in the dark that soon landed them on the hard pavement of disappoint­ment.

When Mrs. Potter Palmer was unanimous­ly elected presi­dent of the board, she had never presided at a meeting of any kind in her life. She was utterly inexperienced in managing bodies of women. The Board of Women Managers was a new departure—a collection of untried women in a fresh field without either precedent definite direction or object, and further, it was a gathering of many different kinds of women with widely varying aims and views. To weld this chaotic mass into a harmonious whole, to turn it along a path of credit to the board and to the country at large, was a task to try a woman of the widest executive experience.

Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico

By Henry Harrison Lewis

Porfirio Diaz
There is a significance beyond ordi­nary comprehension in the fact that General Porfirio Diaz, the Presi­dent of Mexico, ends his fifth term in that office with the present year, and has been re-nominated as a candidate, with a practical certainty of election, for the sixth term. For almost a quar­ter of a century he has been the ruler of a turbulent and restive people, and in that time has seen the republic grow under his master hand from a condition of anarchy and brigandage into what is considered the most compact and unified nation in the new world.

The American people—those of the United States—have been so occupied with their own affairs during the past two decades that the wonderful trans­formation undergone by Mexico in that period has attracted comparatively lit­tle attention. From time to time arti­cles have appeared in print describing the onward progress of the sister repub­lic, but they have been so mixed with strange and contradictory tales of the alleged despotism and dictatorial ac­tions of President Diaz that they have gained little credence.

Mexico's progress is as marvelous as it is true, nevertheless. Under the Diaz rule she has acquired not only a government which really is a political model for other nations, but, what is far better, her people have learned how to be ruled. The importance of this lat­ter fact can be appreciated by those who have visited Latin American coun­tries or have studied them.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Great American Game of Baseball in 1901

By Joseph Vila
J. J. Kelly, Kid Nichols, and Griffith
of the Chicago American League
It has been contended that the palmy days of baseball were back in the eighties, and it is probably true that from 1882 to 1890, when two big pro­fessional leagues were in existence, more enthusiasm was developed in the cities where these flourished than has been known since. But the game is more ex­tensively played now than ever before. It is estimated that at least a million persons saw it played on Memorial Day. It is truly our national sport, and too popular ever to die out.

While professional baseball has had many ups and downs—chiefly the latter, of late years—there is no reason why the same big crowds and fervent "rooting" by excited partisans should not again attend the matches. Winning teams have seldom lacked support. New York furnishes an excellent illustration. Po­tentially the best baseball city in the country, for the past four or five years interest has been dead. This season its team started well, and on Memorial Day thirty one thousand people paid to see the games. Two days later, on Satur­day, eighteen thousand were inside the grounds.

College Clubs in New York University Club Harvard Club Yale Club

 By Edward T. Noble
Grill Room of Yale Club
The imposing new home of the Yale Club, on Forty Fourth Street, al­most opposite the beautiful and costly Harvard Club, has opened the eyes of the public to the tremendous strides the college organizations have made in New York in the last few years, and has aroused comments upon the place these clubs fill in the varied social life of a big city.

The enormous growth in the popula­tion of the American metropolis during the past ten years has multiplied its ho­tels and apartment houses, so that not only the stranger, but the old resident of New York, is amazed at their number and magnificence. This same increase in population has brought into being no fewer than thirty five college and fraternity clubs with established quarters, which vary in point of size and scale from the finest club house in the city, the University, down to a modest suite of rooms.     

As yet, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are the only colleges maintaining fully equipped club houses in New York. These three compare with the first es­tablishments of the kind in the country; but there are many other college clubs, and particularly the fraternities, which have attractively furnished quarters. Among them are the Delta Kappa Ep­silon, in West Thirty First Street, short­ly to move to the new Bryant Park Stu­dio Building on West Fortieth Street; the Alpha Delta Phi, in West Thirty Third Street; the Psi Upsilon, in West Forty Fourth Street; the Zeta Psi, in West Thirty Fourth Street; the Delta Psi, in East Twenty Eighth Street; the Delta Phi, in East Forty Ninth Street; the Phi Gamma Delta, in West Thirty First Street, and others, not to mention the local fraternity houses and clubs of the colleges in the city. The colleges which have permanent organizations, and which in, the near future will have quarters, are Amherst, Brown, Dart­mouth, Trinity, Williams, Union, and the University of Virginia. Cornell, Barnard, and the City College have rooms in which their alumni meet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Western Artist Charles Schreyvogel

By Gustav Boehm

Charles Schreyvogel
The story of Charles Schreyvogel's career from an apprentice in a lithographing establishment to the winner of the most sought for prize in the American art world is an interesting one. The son of parents in barely moderate circumstances, he has won his way, step by step, by pure force of talent and sincere work.  He is the most talked of painter in the United States today, since he won the Thomas B. Clarke prize in January at the American Academy of Design, although a year ago he was well known only among a little coterie of artists.

Schreyvogel studied the technique of his art in this country and in Germany; his subjects are all American and all of the present day life on the frontier. He has observed this life in Colorado and Dakota, and has had many interesting experiences with his Indian models and with the troopers whom he delights to reproduce on canvas.

When the judges of the Clarke competition at the National Academy of Design, New York, award­ed the great art prize of the year to Charles Schreyvogel's "My Bunkie," they did something interesting from two diverse points of view. In its broader significance, the choice of this picture, full of action, realistic, and yet thrill­ing in its realism as mere idealism never is, was a tribute to the spirit which is daily growing more dominant in American art in all its branches.

This is the spirit of the West—not merely the West of Bret Harte, of the miners and the gamblers, and the subtly simple daughters of rudely simple set­tlements, but the West of "all out­doors," of broad spaces, of air more ex­hilarating than wine, of colors burning through the mist less atmosphere more brilliantly than jewels; the West of Er­nest Seton Thompson's "Wild Ani­mals," and the equally vivid, wonderful West of Charles Schreyvogel's pictures.

Stonehenge Friar's Heel Great Trilithon

By Henry Bates

Stones of Stonehenge

In southern central England, on Salisbury Plain, stand a number of huge, rough-hewn stones, which have stood there since before the dawn of English history; but who set them there, why they were set there, when they were set there, is wholly unknown. Some of them must have been brought from a distance of a hundred miles or more.

They are so arranged that on midsummer day the sun rises directly above an outlying monolith known as the Friar's Heel, and its first rays pass through one of the great triliths and fall upon a central slab called the Altar Stone. Hence it is conjectured that they formed a temple built by some vanished tribe of sun worshipers, who perhaps offered human sacrifices to their deity; but conjecture is all that we have to tell us the origin and history of this, one of the most singular and striking of ruins.

This is an age of the solving of mys­teries, when the past is giving up its long hidden secrets, and when the history of generations living anterior to the flood is being written. The do­mestic life of the cave men on the banks of the Seine or Thames, and of the lake dwellers of Switzerland, are almost as well known to us as are the modern habits of the Australian aboriginal. Egypt, Assyria, and India are as an open book, only some few pages here or there being closed, and that merely for lack of inclination or of funds to carry on the work of exploration.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Millionaire Homes Vanderbilt Whitney Tiffany Fish

By Katharine Hoffman

William C. Whitney house, 5th Avenue, New York

It would be discouraging to national pride, if America considered orig­inality in architectural and decorative matters of moment, to realize how com­plete is our dependence upon the old world whenever we wish to make a brave show or to erect a worthy and enduring building. It is better, of course, to copy the good than to achieve originality only through atrocities; but there are times when one not neces­sarily a jingo could wish to hear that Mr. Croesus was putting up an American house instead of reproducing a Ve­netian palace; or that some decorative artist had made a mantel so beautiful and so perfect that it was not neces­sary for the latest millionaire to ran­sack an old French chateau to discover something to his liking.

But this time seems as far off as ever, possibly because there have been no master builders whose commanding de­signs could force admiration, but more probably because the millionaires, prop­erly distrustful of their own taste, would be also distrustful of that which had not the seal of many generations' approval upon it. So the millions con­tinue to be spent in rummaging the old world for models, with results that are sometimes grotesque and generally discouraging.

Arlington National Cemetery Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Temple of Fame

By Catharine Frances Cavanagh
The Temple of Fame


When the millions go forth, on Me­morial Day, to pay the yearly tribute of honor to the hundreds of thou­sands who fought and died under the flag, none of the eighty two cemeteries where the soldiers of the nation are buried commands so deep an interest as Arlington, in Virginia, on the shores of the Potomac opposite Washington. Some twenty thousand fighting men are buried there, most of whom fell in the Civil War, though the Spanish War add­ed many to the list.

Splendid memorial gates mark the en­trance to the city of the dead. Stately monuments crown the graves of men whose names are household words. En­der the giant oaks and beneath the green lawns are the resting places of thou­sands whose only mark is a plain white stone bearing the soldier's name, the company and regiment in which he served, and his number in the nation's roll of honor, which is among the sacred records of the War Department. There is row after row of these graves on a plateau that stretches away until it is lost in the shadows of the dense oak woods. And there is the great tomb of the Unknown Dead, and the Temple of Fame almost side by side with it—as it should be.

Historic American Churches

By  Katherine Hoffman.

The Alamo

Churches where gentleman ad­venturers married Indian maid­ens; churches where ardent young pa­triots inflamed one another to heroic love for freedom and equality; churches where grim Puritans sat in judgment upon witches, and showed that con­science unallied with tolerance was even less lovely than tolerance unallied with conscience; churches where, to wonder­ing Indians, cassocked priests or frocked ministers preached a gospel of peace which their brethren, with firearms and fire water, soon proved to be a myth; churches that were emergency forts where courageous handfuls withstood great odds; churches where famous com­manders laid aside the sword and be­came merely good men, wardens, vestry­men, and the like—surely romance is written large upon I he old churches of America.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

French Artists Village at Barbizon Jean Francois Millet

Jean Francois Millet
French Artists Village at Barbizon Jean Francois Millet
 By Charles DeKay

On the edge of the forest of Fontaine­bleau, looking towards Paris, lies a hamlet that might well be a Mecca of pilgrimage for French artists, did they realize what was done there for French art during the third quarter of the last century. It was there that Millet, Rousseau—yes, Dupre and Diaz, too, and Corot as an occasional visitor, broke all the traditions of modern art, and for a time produced work that was not an imitation of the art of Italy. They felt, they reasoned, they threw off the shackles of official art. They unwittingly made a school of landscape that belonged entirely to France, and as such rose superior to what has been done be­fore and since their day.

Millet, the Norman peasant, after trial of paintings of the nude that make one think of Correggio, but of Correggio with a rich, warm brush and a surface to his fingers not so cloying sweet and smooth, discovered that his career was a failure, and that his path led to the morass where French painting still flounders today. It was not the duty of a painter to compose historical subjects. That he had known as a student; of that his friends and fellows had been vociferously certain back in 1830; nor to paint sensuous figures of women, nor to make the groundlings cry "Ah! " over the dexterity of his hand when imitating figures or landscapes. He felt that he must express the lives of the people with whom he was brought up, not satirically or with Gallic wit dis­covering their weaknesses, but simply and seriously, showing them from the side where they tally with all other peasant­ries and farming folk, divesting them of the ribbons given to their travesties of peasants by Watteau and Fragonard, and of the sentimentalities of Greuze and weaker followers of Greuze; then going farther and rejecting the bour­geois view of peasants, kindly but still false, until he reached the rudimentary peasant, unlettered and somber, who works like the ox and the ass—patient, uncomplaining, and profoundly sad.

1902 Race Cars Vanderbilt Fournier Aquidneck Park

By George B Waldron

French racing champion Henri Fournier

The automobile fever has broken out in America with a violence that threatens to spread it broadcast over the country. It seems only yesterday that we began to see the electric cab, swift and noiseless, going about our streets, and now we are growing used to run­away motors that try to climb statues and knock down buildings. In our trav­els on quiet country roads our nerves are becoming steeled to the sudden advent of rushing, snorting demons that leave behind them a trail of noise and smell. We can even read with equanimity of exploding gasoline tanks and burning machines. In a word, we are becoming reconciled to this new fad of the "idle rich." We may even permit ourselves the hive that someday these Machines may be purchasable for less than a couple of thousand dollars a ton, and that repairs will be reduced below the price of a good horse every month. Then we also may enjoy this sport.

Even the up to date American can scarcely keep pace with the develop­ments of the. automobile. Disquieting stories have come from France, the birthplace of the craze, that machines on country-roads are rivaling the speed of express trains and carrying their occupants along at more than a mile a minute. We hear stories of thousand mile contests and international races until, like Rip Van Winkle, we rub our eyes and wonder into what strange times we have fallen.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Game of Ping Pong in 1902

By Henry Essex

This winter Ping-Pong will doubtless reach the greatest point of popularity that a game has ever attained.

In the last twenty years, there have been three great furors in games. These were Tiddledy Winks, flippant and foolish but still fascinating; Pillow Dex, the immensely popular game played with inflated Pillow Dex balloons, (which are struck to and fro across a dividing line) and Ping-Pong:

And the greatest of these is Ping-Pong.

It is a notable and significant fact that all three of these games are games in which the element of physical skill enters. It is also a notable fact that all three of them are purely of English derivation, although the American game publishing house of Parker Brothers is responsible for the last two furors, and is the sole maker of both Ping-Pong and Pillow Dex in the United States.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Don Luis Terrazas Mexican Cattle Kings

By S. Glen Andrus

Don Luis Terrazas
King of all cattle kings of the world, the largest single land owner on the American continent, and the most modest, simple hearted millionaire in Christendom."

This is what one of the best known bankers in the Republic of Mexico said to me when I asked him to present me to Don Luis Terrazas, of the city of Chihuahua. The statement, I learned later, came very near being literally true. A man who owns in fee simple 8,000,000 acres of the finest grazing land in Mexico and whose brand marks more than 1,000, 000 head of cattle, half as many sheep and several hundred thousand horses, can be called the king of cattle kings without stretching a point. When this same man can read his title clear to be­tween 20,000,000 and 30,000,000 acres of land all told, his right to the distinction of being the largest individual land owner on the American continent is not in danger of being seriously questioned. Furthermore, when he resides in a home so severely plain and unassuming that the passerby would not dignify it by a second glance, and shuns society and pomp and show and notoriety as eagerly as many American millionaires seek them, you will agree that he is possibly the most modest and simple hearted millionaire in all Christendom.

Facts and accurate figures regarding Don Luis Terrazas and his interests are difficult to obtain. It has been the policy of the Terrazas family for generations not to talk of their affairs with a view to publicity. A still more cogent reason is to be found in the taxes imposed by the Mexican government upon the products of land. On all his vast land holdings this cattle king does not pay one penny of revenue to the government. Upon every product of his land he pays hearty tribute. The tax upon cattle is two per cent of their valuation. Add to this thirty per cent of the two per cent which is imposed for revenue stamps, and the burden falls somewhat heavily. As a rule, Mexicans think it no offense against morals or good breeding to conceal facts from the tax gatherers, and in this they are no whit better nor worse than the American tax dodger. Accordingly, it is an impossible task in Mexico to obtain anything like exact figures regarding the possessions of men of wealth. This ac­counts for the widely diverging stories which have been told about the wealth of the Terrazas family. One member of the family assured me that the entire land holding amounted to no more than 1,000 stitios or about 15,000 acres and evi­dently believed that I believed it. Good authorities assured me that the amount was fully 28,000.000 acres, while the best informed said: "No one outside the Terrazas family knows."

Millionaire Homes of St. Louis, Missouri

 By Edmund S. Hoch

Home of William F. Nolker on Lindell Boulevard
Insularity is a grievous word; it describes a grievous sin. Communi­ties, nations, individuals, resent its application. Egotism, ignorance, final stagnation are a few of the attributes it suggests; naturally all peoples and places oppose such invidious classification.

Yet, it is a fact that insularity is more common than we think; and it is more common in our own new country than we may care to admit. We readily accredit the colossal iron keys, eventide candles and latchless houses of Paris to insularity, as well as the dull newspapers, ugly houses and the grinding busses of London and the elaborate but awfully inadequate hotels of Latin Europe: but we rarely bring the word back with us across the water. It has a place here, however. We can use it quite readily and pertinently, as may be demonstrated without extended investigation.

"The palaces of St. Louis." "What palaces?" is asked. "Palaces—where? What St. Louis? St. Louis in France? Is there such a place? Certainly it can­not be that St. Louis—our St. Louis, in Missouri, is meant. There are no palaces there!"

Yet St. Louis, in Missouri, is meant, and the palaces of St. Louis, Missouri, are referred to by the title of this article. St. Louis, Missouri, has palaces. In­ deed, a great number of charming, most beautiful palaces—a greater number, in fact, than any other city in the world.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Farallon Islands of California San Francisco Bay Bird Rookeries

By Charles Nordhoff

Great Rookery
If you approach the harbor of San Fran­cisco from the west, your first sight of land will be a collection of picturesque rocks known as the Farallones, or, more fully, the Farallones de los Frayles. They are six rugged islets, whose peaks lift up their heads in picturesque masses out of the ocean, twenty-three and a half miles from the Golden Gate, the famous entrance of San Francisco Bay. Farallon is a Span­ish word, meaning a small pointed islet in the sea.

These rocks, probably of volcanic origin, and bare and desolate, lie in a line from southeast to northwest—curiously enough the same line in which the islands of the Hawaiian or Sandwich Island group have been thrown up. Geologists say they are the outcrop of an immense granite dike.

The southernmost island, which is the largest just as Hawaii, the southernmost of the Sandwich Island group, is also the biggest—extends for nearly a mile east and west, and is 340 feet high. It is composed of broken and water-worn rocks, forming nu­merous angular peaks, and having several caves; and the rock, mostly barren and bare, has here and there a few weeds and a little grass. At one point there is a small beach, and at another a depression; but the fury of the waves makes landing at all times dif­ficult, and for the most part impossible.

George Washington As A Colonial Magnate

By E. N. Vallandigham

George Washington
That great river, the Potomac, in its tidal course, seems fitly to typify the life and character of the majestic man Washington, who was born within sight of its banks, whose permanent home for most of his life over­looked many miles of its course, and whose tomb now dominates its waters. Irving says of Washington's birth­place on Bridges Creek, that it "com­manded the Potomac and the shores of Maryland opposite." If Irving visited the birthplace of the man whose biography he was to write with so much ability and charm, he must have found himself there on a fine day, for upon no other could he have seen "the shores of Maryland opposite." The slow-moving and majestic flood of the Potomac, in­deed, lies in full sight from the spot where Washington was born, and only three miles away; but the river at that point, fully forty miles above the mouth, is nearly fourteen miles wide, as it is for much of its course southeastward to the Chesapeake; and the left bank of the stream is much of the time invisible from the high, lone field in which once stood the Washington homestead. Be­tween the capes that mark its mouth the river is eighteen miles wide, and its tributaries of hardly more than local fame have the aspect of great rivers. Wherever one of those tribu­taries enters the larger stream, the latter looks like a great inland sea. It rolls toward the bay without haste or fret, in silent, tidal majesty, as Washington moved, quiet and self-assured, from end to end of a career which steadily widened with his in­creasing years.

Those who visit Mt. Vernon return perhaps with a quickened apprehen­sion, of Washington, the victorious captain and great President, Washington the world-hero; but to appre­hend Washington the British subject and colonial magnate, and thus better to understand the full flowering of his character and career, one must visit not only Mt. Vernon, but his other two homes in the Potomac country. Between the Potomac and the Rappahannock lies the North­ern Neck of Virginia, including the counties of King George, Westmore­land, Richmond, Northumberland, Lancaster and a part of Stafford—a peninsula perhaps seventy-five miles long, and at the narrowest point barely nine miles wide; or, more in­clusively, and as colonial Virginians looked at the region, the whole Pied­mont country between the Poto­mac and the Rappahannock. The peninsula alone now has a population of about 50,000, mostly Americans of long native descent.

Geraldine Farrar Opera Prima Donna

By Emily M. Burbank.

Miss Farrar as Zerlina in "Don Giovanni"
On the night of January 28, 1908, the town of Melrose, Massachusetts, was in a state of unprecedented excitement. It was the "home-coming" of Geraldine Farrar, who had left her birthplace at the age of sixteen—unknown, but highly gifted,—to re­turn at twenty-five, one of the world's great prima-donnas. This concert, arranged by her " home people," was given in the Town Hall; and in honor of "The Great American Prima-Donna," the national flag draped the railings of the two long balconies running the length of the building, and waved from every available projection. All Melrose had read of their young friend's triumphs in Berlin, Paris, Monte Carlo, Stock­holm, Warsaw and the principal cities of America; and, to do her honor, the Mayor went to Boston, to act as escort. At 7.3o P. M. the whole town ap­peared to be moving toward the hall, and at eight a motor carrying the prima-donna swung around corners and glided swiftly up to the rear en­trance, scattering groups of curious men and a crowd of small boys—some of them very small, with scant clothing and pinched faces. A big policeman cleared the way with difficulty.

No master of fiction could put more of the picturesque, dramatic and poetic into any fanciful "home-coming" of a prima-donna than animated that occasion. From the moment that the slender, dark-haired girl, with the handsome face, stepped out on the platform, until she had taken by the hand the last of her 1100 ad­mirers, at the close of the concert, not a single insincere or banal note was struck. Geraldine Farrar had come home, and she stood in the midst of her "home people," one of them. She was in perfect voice and sang with enthusiasm and art, but it was not a critical audience. At first, every man, woman and child was under the spell of a lovely vision—a veritable fairy princess in shimmering, clinging satin and gauze of gold from beneath which peeped gold slippers, while a gold fillet held back her black hair. The spray of mauve orchids she wore added to the impression of unreality. Their exotic grace was a hall-mark of that magic art-world now hers. Sev­eral minutes elapsed before the ear gained ascendency over the eye. Then, gradually, the admiring audience found itself, and entered into the spirit of the music; but unques­tionably it was the magnetic vitality, the steady gaze of the frank blue eyes, the laughing mouth and, later, the hearty handshake of their old friend "Gerry" Farrar, which made the abiding impression.

Rudyard Kipling Playing the Banjo

from Putnam's Magazine - 1908
Just had to show everyone this picture of Rudyard Kipling.  Most all of his pictures I've seen are sitting, standing, or in some sort of serious position.  I do have one picture of him curling in Canada, and another of him in Chinese Robes - drawn by a Chinese artist.  But, Rudyard Kipling playing the Banjo! or is it a ukele? Anyway, it's a great fun look at Kipling.

Hope everyone enjoys it.

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Winston Churchill Speaking in Parliament

from Putnam's Magazine - 1908.
Just had to share this 1908 caricature of Winston Churchill.  it's a great picture of him speaking in the House of Commons.  1908 was also the year Churchill married Clementine Hozier.  That same year he became President of the Board of Trade - a position he held until 1910.

Note the stern expression on Churchill's face, and his fists on the trunk.  One can only guess what subject he was addressing.

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With your help we can turn this site into a real look at History - Past, Present, and Future.

All donations over $100 will be acknowledged on our Donor Thank-you page, unless we are specifically notified not to list you.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Jamaica in 1861 Port Royal Hamilton Kingston Port Royal

By W. E. Sewel

Naval Hospital from Port Royal
The title that I have given to this chapter of woe is a metaphorical one. I was not, like Columbus, exactly wrecked upon the coast of Jamaica. I was simply banished there by an Esculapian ukase, and forbidden, under penalty of death, to leave the island for six months. In this light, then, I was cast away, and—may Heaven be thanked for all its mercies I—I live to record the fact.

We are told of a snake that fascinates the bird it is making preparations to devour. I can im­agine the feelings of a bird in this dilemma, for I experienced similar sensations when I first saw Jamaica. The passage from New York in a ninety-ton schooner had not been a pleasant one. It was the stormiest season of the year, and, for a fortnight, I had not been able to use my legs; not from sea-sickness, for I'm never sea-sick, but I found it impossible to stand, like a fly, on the side of a wall. The four square feet of deck, to which my movements were limited, never lost their perpendicular during the voyage except when the larboard was changed for the starboard tack, or vice versa, and the base suddenly be­came the summit of the wall. Our cabin, about the size of a church pew, was frequently half full of water, and our fare of salt pork, varied by salt codfish, was eaten thrice a day on the floor. Night brought me no relief. My bunk was too wide—I believe the captain and his mate slept in it when there were no passengers —and I floundered from side to side like a live trout in a pannier. My bones ached and my hips were black and blue. On one occasion I dragged my trunks into bed, and wedged myself into a small coffin-like space. I'll never try that dodge again. I slept for five minutes—enduring in my dreams many, many centuries of torture—and awoke with six cubic feet of luggage on my stomach. To these grievances I may add another. The skipper had on board two ferocious British bull­dogs, whose partiality for human calves made me exceedingly timid and nervous. I tried, un­successfully, to poison them. They watched me so intently in the morning, as I slowly perform­ed the very difficult acrobatic feat of emerging from the schooner's bunk, that I sometimes lay in agonizing doubt for an hour before I dared get up. When we took our black pilot off Mo­rant Point, the female animal, who was called "Elizabeth," advanced as quietly as though she were going to a legitimate meal, and, without a growl or note of warning, carved a large slice from the poor man's leg. It was the first time, the skipper apologetically observed, that "Eliz­abeth" ever tasted African flesh.

Friday, September 7, 2012

American Historical Trees

By Benson J. Lossing

There have been no Methuselahs since the flood. Man's maximum of life is a centu­ry. Only the elephant and the tortoise feebly imitate the longevity of the antediluvians. But there are living things that outlive them all, things statelier far than the tallest man or the largest quadruped—living things that were com­panions of the gray-beards before Noah, from birth to death, and lived to bless their hoary-headed grandchildren. Such are now the only living links between us and the remote Past. They are TREES—grand old trees, about which memories cluster like the trailing vines. They are not numerous, and are therefore more pre­cious. In the shadows of the dark forest—in the light of the lofty hills—in the warmth and beauty of the broad plains of the great globe, they stand in matchless dignity as exceptions. They are Patriarchs in the society of the vege­table kingdom, receiving the homage of myriads of children—Priests, who have ministered long and nobly at Nature's altar—Kings, before whom vast multitudes have fallen prostrate—Chroni­clers, within whose invisible archives are record­ed the deeds of many generations of men who have risen and fallen since the ancestral seeds of the ancient trees were planted. With what mute eloquence do they address us! With what moving pathos do the trees of Olivet discourse of Jesus, his beautiful life and sublime death! How the cedars of Lebanon talk of Solomon, and Hiram, and the great Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem! How the presence of "those green-robed senators of mighty woods" stirs the spirit of worship in the human soul!

"The groves were God's first temples. Ere man learned
To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave,
And spread the roof above them—ere he framed
The lofty vault, to gather and roll back
The sound of anthems, in the darkling wood,
Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down,
And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks
And supplication."

In our own country, and in our own time, there have been, and still are, ancient trees inti­mately connected with our history as colonists and as a nation, and which command the rever­ence of every American. In my journeys over most of the States during the last fifteen years I have seen many of them, learned the tradi­tions that have made them famous, and placed sketches of them in my portfolio. From these I have chosen some of the most remarkable as the subject of this paper.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fur Seal Harvest on Pribylov Islands Behring Sea

By Henry W. Elliott

Small family of fur seals
Up in the heart, as it were, of Behring  Sea lies a small group of islands, to the rocky shores of which annually repair millions of highly organized animals to breed and shed their hair and fur. Insig­nificant landmarks are these, the Pribylov Islands, but the sixty square miles of their area support more available wealth to-day than all the rest of the five hundred thou­sand belonging to Alaska—a strange stock­yard of amphibious beasts, which are uni­versally deemed wild and wary, but among millions of which the agents of the govern­ment walk on their tours of inspection with­out giving or experiencing serious alarm.

It is remarkable that while thousands of men and millions of dollars have been em­ployed in capturing, dressing, and selling fur seal skins during the last hundred years, yet since the time of Steller, in 1751, up, to the beginning of the last decade, even the scientific world knew nothing definitely in regard to the habits of this valuable animal, although the truth connected with the life of this seal of the Pribylov Islands is far stranger than fiction.

With the exception of our seal islands, there are none others of much importance elsewhere in the world, the vast breeding grounds in the Antarctic having been, by the united efforts of all nationalities, mis­guided, short-sighted, and greedy of gain, entirely depopulated. Only a few thousand unhappy stragglers are now to be seen on the Falkland Islands and contiguous islets, where millions once were found, and small rookeries are protected and fostered by the government of Buenos Ayres north and south of the mouth of the Rio de la Plata; but the seal life on the Pribylov Islands, thanks to the fwesight of the Russians, has been pre­served to the present day in all of its orig­inal integrity and wonder.

John Rarey, Horse Tamer

By T. B. Thorpe

Cruiser bridled
The world is indebted to Mr. Rarey, not only for applying old experiences and making new discoveries with regard to the manner of break­ing horses, but also for the greater discovery, that kindness is a universal and imperative law for their successful management; that the horse is constituted by the Creator an intellectual being, with no malignant spirit to control; but being too ignorant to reason, and learning nothing except from experience, he becomes in the hands of his master precisely what he is made—kindly and in­telligent, or savage and intractable, by example. That kindness and intelligent treatment, almost as much so as is demanded by our children, operate in harmony with the original design of his existence; and for this Mr. Rarey justly ranks among the benefactors of his race, and deserves the wonderful consideration he has received among the representatives of the enlightened Christianized nations of Europe and this coun­try.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

United States Naval Observatory and West Point Observatory

by J. E Nourse

United States Naval Observatory
The history of this observatory is no little remarkable. It shares with our other government scientific institutions in strange records as to its birth and name. The Military Academy was at first known only as the "School for Engineers," unorgan­ized, and sheltered for its very existence under the wing of the War Department; and the "Naval School" at Philadelphia, and afterward at Annapolis, was for years little more than a rendezvous from which restless midshipmen could escape from study, or the Navy Department could pick them up for sea service. To this day, having no legislative organization, it has Congres­sional authority by the successive appro­priations granted to the Navy Department and by such legislation as our Congress­men have made when giving to themselves the nomination of candidates to the acad­emy.

Of the Naval Observatory it may be still more strikingly shown that, although, like the two institutions we have named, it is now firmly fixed in the ideas of the country, its origin and growth have been very strange­ly secured. Holding the enviable position accorded to it by the much older European observatories, it has to look back upon a very humble birth, and was christened, as one may say, under a false name.

Rothschild Family in Frankfort Germany Nathan Rothschild

By Junius Henri Browne

Nathan Rothschild
Few men speak disrespectfully of money who are able to make it. Nobody can afford to condemn it, since it visits contempt with manifold evils. Neither to love nor to hate money, but to give it rational apprecia­tion, is the province of wisdom. This, above every other, is a monetary age. Cash is es­sential to civilization, at once its cause and consequence, the measure of its breadth and the plummet of its profundity. Every true ideal must rest on the real, and the real to­day is the coinage of the mint.

Some money is a necessity; much money is a luxury—the luxury of selfishness, of benevolence or power, as the possessor may determine. The number of mortals is very small who value money for its own sake, and very large who prize it for its capac­ity of purchase. The proportion of Har­pagons to Jourdaius is as one to a thou­sand; and the Jourdains, in the comedies of life, revere gold as the purveyors to their pleasure, their vanity, or their ambition. Through the glitter of coin all possibilities are seen, and though many disappoint, the possibility of power supports expectation. In this commercial era money is power more than knowledge is, for that will buy this, but this will not insure that. The holder of a long purse may not gain love or esteem, but he is pretty certain to command outward respect. Man is inclined to be satisfied with symbols. They are the shows of things, and the general mind is so occupied with shows that it has no time for deeper consideration.

Love of money beyond certain bounds is the passion for power financially disguised. What we call avarice is usually ambition. The whole world wants cash, must have it, and he who gets it in sufficient sums masters persons, controls communities, governs na­tions. Money-making is the science of the practical. It requires genius of a high order —genius that is creative, composite, compre­hensive. The gift is rare, and so little un­derstood that the earner of great wealth is a curiosity, an object of interest, to the mul­titude. The least acquisitive are fond of hearing of men who have amassed colossal fortune, and of the means of its amassing.