Monday, April 30, 2012

Wild Bill Hickock

By George Ward Nichols.

Several months after the ending of the civil war I visited the city of Springfield in Southwest Missouri. Springfield is not a burgh of extensive dimensions, yet it is the largest in that part of the State, and all roads lead to it - which is one reason why it was the point d'ap-pui, as well as the base of operations for all mil­itary movements during the war.

On a warm summer day I sat watching from the shadow of a broad awning the coming and going of the strange, half-civilized people who, from all the country round, make this a place for barter and trade. Men and women dressed in queer costumes; men with coats and trousers made of skin, but so thickly covered with dirt and grease as to have defied the identity of the animal when walking in the flesh. Oth­ers wore homespun gear, which oftentimes ap­peared to have seen lengthy service. Many of those people were mounted on horse-back or mule-back, while others urged forward the un­willing cattle attached to creaking, heavily-lad­en wagons, their drivers snapping their long whips with a report like that of a pistol-shot.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rocky Mountain Dick and His Wild Beast Farm


It is located at Monida, in Idaho. Mr. Richard W. Rock, an old scout, settled in this place over twenty miles from a station, and commenced to trap such animals as buffaloes, bears, mountain goats, elks, deer, etc. He now owns a huge wild beast ranch, and supplies private museums, zoos, etc. Our interviewer elicits from Mr. Rock all his adventures, methods of working, etc. The photographs will be found unusually striking.

Twenty-three miles from the picturesque town of Bozeman, in Idaho, near the little mining hamlet of Monida, in Fremont County, is situated one of the strangest cattle ranches in the world. Its livestock does not consist of cows, sheep, goats, horses, and the other familiar domestic animals of civilization; but instead is made up exclusively of some of the wildest, rarest, and most ferocious creatures which inhabit the boundless plains and mountain fastnesses of the great West.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Naval Flag Making Establishment – New York Navy Yard


Naval Flag Making Establishment – New York Navy Yard.
By Lillian E. Zeh.

Little known to the outside world, there is in the Brooklyn Navy Yard a picturesque and in­teresting department in which many skilled needlewomen are kept constantly at work - namely, the Naval Flag-Making Establishment. To supply the hundreds of vessels, ranging from the great battleships down to the tiny bunches, with their prescribed quota of bunting, requires the constant manu­facture of many thousands of flags. To cut out, sew, and complete these, Uncle Sam maintains an extensive plant going at full blast all the year round, and em­ploying nearly half a hundred skilled needlewomen and a few men. The Flag Room is on the third floor of the Bureau of Equipment Building. On entering the large room, the visitor's first impression is a blaze of color. Rolls of bright bunt­ing are heaped up, waiting to be cut, while long lines of electrically driven sewing-machines, with women operators, are reeling; off and putting the finishing touches to American and foreign ensigns of many different hues and patterns.

Harrow-on-the-Hill London England


Harrow-on-the-Hill.

T0 a reflective mind London is most delightful at that period of the year when society leaves it. As a rule, the leaders of the gay world pack their trunks for flight almost immediately after the schools' crick­et match at Lord's. While the universi­ty boat race in early spring may be said to inaugurate the London season, the Eton and Harrow cricket match at Lord's may be said to close it. Eton and Harrow are the two great English schools, as Oxford and Cambridge are the two great universi­ties. The Eton students took with them to the higher colleges the taste for boating which they had acquired on the Thames, and established the sport and pastime of rowing on the Cam and the Isis. Harrow and Eton together emulate in the English meadows the athletic prowess of Oxford and Cambridge on the waters. Eton Col­lege was founded by Henry VI in 1440. John Lyon, a yeoman who was an enthu­siastic promoter of the education of youth, established a grammar school at Harrow in 1571, from which sprung the present ed­ucational establishment. The old school­house of Harrow bears in its carved panels the names of Sir William Jones, Lord By­ron, Sheridan, Shendon, Percival, Peel, Palmerston, among its famous scholars. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Strange Maps Blog Adds A Bit of Fun To Cartography

Frank Jacobs has a hit here with the Strange Maps Blog.  It's a feature on BigThink, and a joy to read.

Some of the stories you may want to look at include:
  • Kaiser Eats the World.  It's a weird look at World War I, with the Kaiser holding the globe in his grubby hands, and getting ready to take a Big Munch.  Pass the Barbecue Sauce, please.
  • Taftography.  Picture a plan of the Republican Presidential Convention of 1908 outlined on the head of William Howard Taft.  It was published on the front page of the Chicago Examiner on June 8th, 1908.  Definitely worth a look.
  • The World's Largest Atlas.  Perhaps your thing is an Atlas as big as a man (6 foot high 4 1/2 foot wide - 9 foot wide when opened.  It's a limited edition of 31, weighs around 300 pounds, and - oh yeah! Comes with a somewhat hefty price tag - around $100,000.
It's a fun read, with a different perspective on maps and the world.  Here are a few other articles you may want to peruse - a map of the lower 48 states in the shape of a pig, a map showing the positions of the Gangs of Los Angeles, and last, but not least, the Fool's Head Map of the Financial Bubble of 1720.
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Review of Philatelic Database Blog

Ran across a real cool blog today for anyone interested in the history of philately (stamp collecting).  Philatelic Database, a site based out of Australia, offers hundreds of great articles covering - history of individual stamps, post offices, and the issues of various countries.  You will also find archives of articles focusing on:  Airmail, Railway, and shipping services.

Just a few of the articles I enjoyed were -
  • America's Smallest Post Office., Wheeler Springs, California.  It's just a picture, but it reminds me a lot of one of those drive up coffee places you see sprouting up everywhere.
  • By Rail in Japan in 1898.  The article was originally published in 1898, and gives an interesting narrative of rail travel in early Japan:  "The native of Japan arrives at the station two or three hours before the train is due. If he be a rustic, or unused to travelling, and he intends to take a morning train, he will probably make a point of taking up a strong position at the station the night before his prospective journey and camping on the platform. To this practice the railway officials make no sort of objection: the ingrained honesty and scrupulous cleanliness of the people put it out of the power of the authorities to find any reason why travellers should not be allowed to insure themselves–after their own unique method–against any chance of being left behind by the train."
  • Story of Quantas Empire Airlines.  Tells the story of the beginnings of Quantas Airlines by P. J. McGinness and Hudson Fysh.
Are you familiar with other history blogs we need to review?  Let us know.




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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hypnotism – The Weird Art By Professor Donato

By Professor Donato.

Among the curious phenomena of the latter part of this century so noted for scientific progress there must hereafter be counted the definite revival of mesmerism.  The flitting and indistinct glimpses which were had of this curious subject form century to century in the world’s history have culminated in experiments which have definitely revealed the leading principles of this art.  Expelled for many centuries from the realm of scientific investigation, it has finally become a leading subject of inquiry and has attracted many of the brightest minds of the medical profession as a most fascinating subject.  To the humdrum plodder that one human being by merely looking intently or raising his finger or suggesting an idea, may entirely and completely upset the mental equilibrium of a fellow being and cause him to follow his behests as would a trained spaniel, seems outrageous.

Very curiously the remarkable development which has taken place in this subject is more largely due to the professional magnetizers and mesmerists who have made it a source of income than to the medical profession itself. Without the exhibitions from town to town and from country to country, of pro­fessors of the art like the Du Potets, the Lafontaines, the Regazzounis, Hausens and many others, mesmerism would still be sleeping in the obscurity in which the Academy of Medicine had buried it. Without these energetic propagandists, without their example and their lessons, neither Doctor Charcot, Doctor Bernheim, Doctor Braid, Doctor Lie­beault, nor Doctor Hegnden­hain would ever have writ­ten their remarkable works, and the question might have remained in oblivion. Unfor­tunately the mesmerism which is today triumphing over the obstacles that had accumulated in its route dur­ing the past century, stands a strong chance of perishing between Charybdis and Scylla; for if, not long ago the savants denied the most evident phenomena, they now affirm the least proved facts. In trying to overreach each other in the pursuit of their chimeras, they fall into exaggerations. 

Sorosis Women's Club Alice Cary

By Margaret M. Merrill.

Sorosis is the mother of women's clubs, and, although but twenty-five years old, she has in various countries of the world more than two hundred prosperous and flourish­ing children. Some of them live in houses of their own, which Sorosis does not - yet. But no one of them feels that it has quite attained the dig­nity and strength of the mother club.

The organization of Sorosis, in March, 1868, was consid­ered a bold step. No club had ever existed, composed exclus­ively of women and officered by them. Nor had women taken any active part in business or public affairs. Very few women were doing professional work. The only step in the direction of club life for women had been taken by a New England organization, formed about a month before Sorosis was organized, to which women were admitted as members and were allowed to vote but not to hold office. The ladies who first suggest­ed the organizing of a woman's club were moved to do so because of action on the part of the New York Press club, which they considered a discourtesy. Mrs. Croly, "Jen­nie June," and Mrs. James Parton, "Fannie Fern," who were, at that time, almost the only women doing journalistic work, asked for tickets to a banquet which was to be given to Charles Dickens, at Delmonico's. The affair was in the hands of the New York Press club, and Horace Greeley, then the editor of the Tribune, had consented to preside. The ladies thought they had the right to be represented with the press people of New York and assist in doing honor to a distinguished member of their own profession.  The majority of the committee, how­ever, thought differently, and would have uncompromisingly refused to ad­mit the ladies had not Horace Greeley declared that if they did he would have nothing to do with the affair.

Joseph Balsamo, Count de Cagliostro – Necromancer, Hypnotist, and Charlatan.

By Henry Ridgely Evans.

In the summer of 1893, a conjurer calling himself "Cagliostro" was astonishing Paris with his feats of fin­de-siecle magic. Being a student of occultism generally, but more particularly of natural magic and legerdemain, I went to see the nineteenth-century necromancer exhibit his marvels. I saw clever illusions performed dur­ing the even­ing, but noth­ing that excited my especial in­terest as a devo­tee of the weird and wonderful, until the presti­digitator came to his piece de resistance—the Mask of Bal­samo. That aroused my flagging atten­tion. The fan­taisiste brought forward a small table, undraped, which he placed in the center aisle of the the­ater; and then passed around for examination the mask of a man, very much resembling a death-mask, but unlike that ghastly memento mori in the particulars that it was exquisitely masqueraded under modeled in wax and artistically colored.

"Messieurs et mesdames," said the professor of magic and mystery, "this mask is a perfect likeness of Joseph Balsamo, Count de Cagliostro, the famous sorcerer of the eighteenth century. It is a reproduction of a death-mask which is contained in the secret museum of the Vatican at Rome. Behold! I lay the mask upon this table in your midst. Ask any question you will of Balsamo, and he will respond."