Nov 30, 2009

How Heroic Was Churchill? Paul Johnson distills lessons from his life

(Jon Meacham, Slate) In November 1940, on learning of Franklin Roosevelt's defeat of Wendell Willkie, Winston Churchill composed one of his many flattering and importuning telegrams to the president in Washington. He had, he told FDR, prayed for the president's re-election. "Things are afoot which will be remembered as long as the English language is spoken in any quarter of the globe," Churchill wrote, "and in expressing the comfort I feel that the people of the United States have once again cast these great burdens upon you, I must avow my sure faith that the lights by which we steer will bring us all safely to anchor." It was a brilliant and lovely note—and Roosevelt never replied, an omission that bothered Churchill for years. Continued

Photos: Library of Congress

Maryland orchard on quest to restore American chestnut with aid of Chinese cousin

(Baltimore Sun) From the time before English colonization until the dawn of the 20th century, the American chestnut was one of the most magnificent and beneficial trees in Eastern North America. Capable of reaching immense height and thickness, it provided not only food in the form of its nuts but tannin for treating leather and a hardwood prized by furniture-makers and carvers for its straightness and strength. Then, in 1904, chestnuts in New York City were found to be infected by a deadly form of Asian fungus to which the native trees had little resistance. By midcentury, the resulting blight wiped out some 4 billion trees - more than 99 percent of the chestnuts in the Eastern United States, Carver said. Continued


Landmark status argued for carriage house

(Baltimore Sun) The 19th-century Farmlands Carriage House in Catonsville is at the center of a tug-of-war between pressing school needs and the wishes of preservationists. The solid stone building, one of the oldest in the county, served as a stable for a wealthy maritime merchant during the early 1800s. Today, the Baltimore County Board of Education owns it and uses it as a maintenance shed for Catonsville High School. Continued

Firpo Marberry

(Wikipedia) Frederick "Firpo" Marberry (November 30, 1898 – June 30, 1976) was an American right-handed starting and relief pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1923 to 1936, most notably with the Washington Senators. The sport's first prominent reliever, he has been retroactively credited as having been the first pitcher to record 20 saves in a season, the first to earn 100 career saves, the first to make 50 relief appearances in a season or 300 in a career, and the only pitcher to lead the major leagues in saves five times. Continued

Photo: "Yankees catcher Wally Schang slides safely into 3rd base in second game. Senators 3rd baseman is Ossie Bluege and pitcher backing up play is Firpo Marberry. Senators won 2nd game 7-2" of the 1924 World Series. (Library of Congress)

Nov 29, 2009

York Folk Artist Lewis Miller Elusive Character

(Universal York) Lewis Miller's drawings are widely known, but not a lot is known about the man himself. The drawings of nineteenth century life have been used widely to illustrate books, including textbooks, and many articles in newspapers and magazines. I often use them to accompany the items I post here.
Miller drew the people and places he knew and saw, at home in York and in his travels, during the first half of the nineteenth century even though, as I explain in my recent York Sunday News column, he seemed to have drawn them much later, after he had retired to live with nieces in Virginia in the late 1850s. Continued

Nov 28, 2009

The Contact Sheet Comes Out of the Closet: The photographer's secret rough draft is now on museum walls

(Slate) I miss contact sheets. I miss those grids of small photos that show you exactly what's on a roll of developed film. I miss them so much that now, when I take digital pictures, I don't delete any: I download everything from my camera to my computer to get lots of thumbnail-size images—some blurry, some not; some memorable, some not; some in series, some not. There they are, rows upon rows on my screen. A virtual contact sheet. And yet nothing like a contact sheet. Continued

Photo: 'Portrait of a baby girl' (National Media Museum's photostream at flickr)

Where Ghost Passengers Await Very Late Trains

(NYTimes) ... THE Bronx stations of the old New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad are like a string of pearls — a very broken string. Some have been lost, and others are being slowly crushed by the boot of time.
Built in 1908 and designed by Cass Gilbert, those that have not been demolished are near collapse, like the Westchester Avenue station. It is a sublime glazed terra-cotta temple, its little tragedy now exposed on all four sides with the opening of the new Concrete Plant Park. Continued

Photo: Westchester Avenue station Jim.henderson/Wikipedia

Morris Louis

(Wikipedia) Morris Louis (Morris Louis Bernstein) (November 28, 1912 - September 7, 1962) is a United States abstract expressionist painter, one of the many such painters to emerge in the 1950s. From 1929 to 1933, he studied at the Maryland Institute of Fine and Applied Arts (now Maryland Institute College of Art) on a scholarship, but left shortly before completing the program. He worked at various odd jobs to support himself while painting and in 1935 was president of the Baltimore Artists’ Association. From 1936 to 1940, he lived in New York and worked in the easel division of the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project. Continued

Photo: Wikipedia

Nov 27, 2009

Amateur’s treasure trove valued at $5.5 million

(Reuters) The largest haul of Anglo-Saxon gold ever discovered, unearthed by a metal-detector enthusiast in a farmer's field, has been valued at 3.28 million pounds ($5.5 million) by a committee of experts.
The Staffordshire Hoard, found by Terry Herbert in central England in July, comprises more than 1,500 mainly gold and silver items thought to date back to the 7th century. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

The last Kodachrome film lab

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

(Today) ... “When you woke up one day and found you were the last of the last, what did you think?” I ask.
“It’s kind of pride mixed with sadness, because Kodak isn’t making Kodachrome any more,” Grant says.
After 74 years, it has shut down production of a product so iconic Utah named a state park after it, the only one in the country named for a brand of film.
Customers around the world are scrambling to develop their last rolls before Dwayne’s stops processing Kodachrome at the end of 2010. A thousand rolls a day tumble into this town of 10,000 on the Kansas prairie. Continued

The National Day of Listening

(StoryCorps) On the day after Thanksgiving, set aside one hour to record a conversation with someone important to you. You can interview anyone you choose: an older relative, a friend, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood.
You can preserve the interview using recording equipment readily available in most homes, such as cell phones, tape recorders, computers, or even pen and paper. Our free Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide is easy to use and will prepare you and your interview partner to record a memorable conversation, no matter which recording method you choose.
Make a yearly tradition of listening to and preserving a loved one’s story. The stories you collect will become treasured keepsakes that grow more valuable with each passing generation. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

A Brief History of Black Friday

(Mental Floss) ... It’s hard to say when the day after Thanksgiving turned into a retail behemoth, but it probably dates back to the late 19th century. At that time, store-sponsored Thanksgiving parades were common, and once Santa Claus showed up at the end of the parade, the holiday shopping season had officially started. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

Clement Studebaker

(Wikipedia) Clement Studebaker (March 12, 1831 – November 27, 1901) was an American carriage manufacturer. With his brothers, he founded H & C Studebaker Company, which built Pennsylvania-German conestoga wagons and carriages during his lifetime, and automobiles after his death, in South Bend, Indiana.
Clement Studebaker was born on March 12, 1831, in Pinetown, Pennsylvania. By the age of 14 he had learned to work as a blacksmith in his father's shop. He later worked as a teacher. Continued

Photo: Conestoga Wagon (1883) by Newbold Hough Trotter (1827-1898). Painting in the State Museum of Pennsylvania (AdMeskens)

Nov 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving gallery from the Library of Congress

"The first Thanksgiving 1621 / J.L.G. Ferris, c1932." I think this scene, or one very much like it, hung in my first grade classroom.
"Harper's Bazaar--Thanksgiving 1894 / Louis J. Rhead." This looks like Thanksgiving at the Lady of the Lake's house, or maybe at Jane Burden's.
"Thanksgiving - taking home turkies from raffle. 1912 Nov. 22. George Grantham Bain Collection."
"A Swell Gent. John T. McCutcheon, Dec 1916, Chicago Tribune."
"Castle Garden--their first Thanksgiving dinner / W. St. John Harper, 1884" Castle Garden is where immigrants arrived in the New York region before Ellis Island opened.
"Neffsville, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Earle Landis taking Thanksgiving pies from the oven. November 1942" Neffsville is just above Lancaster. (Jack Delano/FSA/OWI)

Dawn of the Dead Mall

(Change Observer) ... Good riddance to bad rubbish, some say. In the comment thread to the November 12, 2008, Newsweek article, “Is the Mall Dead?,” a reader writes, “The end of temples of consumerism and irresponsibility? Sweet. The demise of a culture of greed? No problem.”
But wait, my Inner Marxist wonders: isn’t that the voice of bobo privilege talking? Teens marooned in decentered developments didn’t ask to live there; for many of them, the local mall is the closest thing to a commons, be it ever so ersatz. And malls are employment engines. Sure, in many cases the jobs they generate are low-skill and low-wage, but From Each According to His Ability, etc. Continued

Photo of the Hunt Valley Mall courtesy of

Nov 25, 2009

Turkey in the yard

(Newsweek) ... In 1881 a volume called Los Angeles Cookery urged readers to "get your turkey six weeks before you need it; put him in a small yard; give him walnuts—one the first day, and increase every day one until he has nine; then go back to one and up to nine until you kill him, stuffing him twice with corn meal each day, in which you put a little chopped onion and celery if you have it." Continued

Photo: Turkey in the yard of a Harford County home, circa 1935 (Library of Congress).

You Say Potato, I Say Yam

(NYTimes) ... The yam, a large hairy tuber that bears no botanical relationship to the sweet potato, grows mainly in tropical and subtropical climates and is of primary importance to many West African societies. From Ghana to Nigeria, yam festivals celebrate the desire for a bounteous harvest and the continuity of life. In languages of the West African coast, including Wolof in Senegal and Umbundu in Angola, the tuber is so popular that some variant of the word “yam” simply means “to eat.”
Slavers transporting captives from those areas on the Middle Passage provisioned themselves with yams sufficient for the voyages. But once ashore in more temperate America, the slaves found that the African tuber was unavailable, and thus substituted it with the sweet potato — leading to centuries of botanical and gastronomic confusion. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

A short history of the dreaded green bean casserole

(Slate) ... My guess is that we've got the Campbell Soup Company to thank for the limp bean's promotion from occasional guest to bona fide Thanksgiving mainstay. As is fairly well-known, the Campbell test kitchen (under the leadership of Dorcas Reilly) invented the green bean casserole in 1955. This near-instant meal consists of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, fried onions, and—of course—canned green beans. Although Campbell did not initially market the recipe as a holiday special per se, it became one by the 1960s. Now we can't get rid of it. This Thanksgiving, the soup giant estimates that 20 percent to 30 percent of American families will prepare the green bean casserole. Continued

Photo: Rick Kimpel

Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin dies at age 85

(ESPN) Abe Pollin, the Washington Wizards owner who brought an NBA championship to the nation's capital and later had the mettle to stand up to Michael Jordan, died Tuesday.
... Pollin was the NBA's longest-tenured owner. With his death, a group led by longtime AOL executive Ted Leonsis is poised to take ownership of a Washington-area sports empire that began when Pollin purchased the Baltimore Bullets in 1964. Continued

Baltimore Opera Theatre shows promise in its first production

(Baltimore Sun) ... Described in the program book as "a new opera company with an aesthetic view of the arts ... not based on frivolous budgets and grandiosity," the enterprise offered a production of Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" that contained roughly equal portions of professionalism and provincialism. It would have been unrealistic, of course, to expect an operatic savior to emerge so soon after the Baltimore Opera Company's liquidation. And it is entirely possible that the next Baltimore Opera Theatre production - Verdi's "Rigoletto" in March - will be much sturdier and more consistent. Continued

Photo: Bibliothèque nationale de France ; from Le Hanneton, a satirical magazine of Rossini's era. (Via Wikipedia)

60 Years Later, Everyone's Still Loving the AK-47

(Fast Company) Designed for soldiers wearing gloves in arctic cold, 60 years later the AK-47 is the brand of choice in deserts, the tropics, and urban jungles, too. It's one of the best tools ever manufactured, a masterpiece of the Industrial Age. My nephew, just back from a tour with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan, tells me you can back a truck over one, then pick it up and use it. Continued

The Confederate Army of Manhattan

(Wikipedia) The Confederate Army of Manhattan was a group of eight Southern operatives who attempted to burn New York City on November 25, 1864, during the final stages of the American Civil War.
In a plot orchestrated by Jacob Thompson, the operatives infiltrated Union territory from Canada and made their way to New York. On Friday night, November 25, beginning around 8:45pm, the group attempted to simultaneously start fires in 19 hotels, a theater, and P.T. Barnum's museum. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

Nov 24, 2009

Pixel peepers

"There's a dead pixel somewhere in here and I haven't found it!" A friend who pixel peeps is a friend in need.

Via The Online Photographer

New dinosaur park yields fossil for 9-year-old girl

(Baltimore Sun) Maryland's new dinosaur park near Laurel has been opened for public prospecting on just two Saturday afternoons so far, and already one of the visitors' finds is headed to the Smithsonian Institution. On Saturday, a 9-year-old girl from Annandale, Va., picked up a small fossil bone that experienced dinosaur hunters say probably was a vertebra from near the end of a meat-eating "raptor's" tail. Continued

Photo: WPA

York-made Manley radio a mystery

(Universal York) A friend recently shared these photos of a radio he picked up at a public sale. The Manley Manufacturing Company of York, PA made garage and shop equipment, as it says on the brass label of the radio case. They started out in the 1920s and manufactured items such as hydraulic lifts and jacks. The company eventually became part of American Chain and Cable.
So why does this radio have a plate that says it was manufactured by Manley and is machine no. 1008? Continued

Photo: Detail from a vintage Atwater Kent radio ad.

Nov 23, 2009

Recent book beckons to Hutzler's fans

(Baltimore Sun) ... Michael J. Lisicky's recently published book, "Hutzler's: Where Baltimore Shops," will bring back shopping bags full of memories. Those who weren't born then will wonder at what happened to such an elegant shopping destination. If this doesn't become the hottest local holiday gift this year, I'll be very surprised. It's beautifully written, obviously by someone who has an affinity for department stores, and lavishly illustrated with photographs and advertisements that recall a more genteel time, when such stores were destinations, not a place where you simply roared in for a minute, flashed your credit card and vanished into your car in the mall parking lot. Continued


I have a real knack for picking up strays, signing onto lost causes, and boarding sinking ships, so of course I worked for Hutzler's (Towson), in the mid-eighties. It was a sad time to work there and rumors abounded: "the store has been sold," "the pension fund's disappeared," "the pension fund's reappeared," "we can't get anything on consignment," "we're all getting fired tomorrow!" It wasn't fun. I felt sorry for the old timers, some of whom had worked there since FDR was president. I felt sorry for the long time customers too, I was constantly chatting up old folks with historic last names like Calvert and Gilmor, who told me some great stories. They roamed the floors, looking for something to purchase ("to support the store"), but by that time, there wasn't much worth buying.
Some of the retail tactics from that era were just flat-out weird. I remember walking onto a sales floor one morning to find all the mannequins dressed in very skimpy red lingerie. Our average female customer, at the time, could remember when camiknickers were racy. Some of those old ladies still appeared to be wearing whalebone corsets - they were Victorian not Victoria's. Sales continued to decline.
Not all the thinking was excruciatingly bad, however, the introduction of "Bawlmer Bear" brought a lot of people into the store that Christmas Season. But little Bawlmer couldn't carry the weight of the entire chain on his fuzzy shoulders. The company was also very active in finding "lease departments," outside vendors that filled in the gaps of Hutzler's ever shrinking inventory. When I was there, books, consumer electronics, stamps & coins, rugs, and maybe the bakery were all lease departments.
I'm not sure what killed Hutzler's in the end. Some say it was a classic "rags to riches to rags in three generations" story. Others say the disastrous opening of the new "Palace" store, on Howard Street, in Baltimore, doomed the entire chain. I have a feeling the simple fact that today's busy families have little time to deal with the bewildering floor plans and elusive cashiers of most traditional department stores, had a lot to do with it.
After all, the majority of regional department stores in America have either gone under or consolidated, first under the May Company or Federated, and now, just under Macy's. Like the Postal Service, it's likely just a matter of time before they all go under. Stewart's (1901 - 1983) and Hochschild Kohn (1897 - 1983) were the first two Baltimore chains to go, then Hutzler's (1858 - 1990), and finally, Hecht's (1857 - 2006).
My time with Hutzler's ended when I went to put in for my vacation: "You can't take a vacation," my boss said, "we're too busy." (The last thing we were, was busy.) "O.k.," I said, "then I'm giving my two weeks notice." A little later, the boss told me that there was, after all, room on the schedule for my vacation. "Fine," I said, "but I'm still quitting." Regardless of that episode, I still remember Hutzler's with some affection, and our Bawlmer Bear still sits on the rocking chair in the den. After leaving Hutzler's, and after my vacation (a short motorcycle trip to Georgia), I took a job in a factory - another great American lost cause. - Falmanac

Photos: Department Store History, eBay.

Owner seeks to remove 'historical' tag from house: Preservationists fear move could start 'chain reaction'

(Towson Times) The Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission on Nov. 12 voted to charge the owner of a vacant Victorian house in Lutherville with "demolition by neglect," an allegation that could lead to the owner being fined -- and ordered to bring the historic house up to code.
The commission's claim will be reviewed by an administrative hearing officer for Baltimore County Code Enforcement.
Located at 302 North Avenue on a 1-acre property on the northeast corner of North and Franke avenues, the Weisbrod-Carroll House was built in 1892, according to county records. Continued

Photo: An example of the "Carpenter Gothic" style of house (Library of Congress).

Daniel Brewster

(Wikipedia) Daniel Baugh Brewster (November 23, 1923–August 19, 2007) was a Democratic member of the United States Senate, representing the State of Maryland from 1963 until 1969. He was also a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1950-1958, and a representative from the 2nd congressional district of Maryland in the United States House of Representatives from 1959-1963. Daniel Baugh Brewster, Jr. was born on November 23, 1923, in Baltimore County, Maryland, in the Green Spring Valley Region. Continued

Nov 22, 2009

Gettysburg details early plans for 150th battle anniversary

(YDR) It might be almost four years away, but Gettysburg needs all the time it can get to prepare for its 150th Anniversary National Civil War Re-enactment.
... Pending permits and agreements, the event will be at Redding Farm, Phiel said. He's hoping to have 1,000 acres available -- more than was used during the 145th anniversary -- because organizers expect 15,000 re-enactors. Registration has not yet started, but the number was capped at 15,000 because of resources, logistics and battlefield safety. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

William Walker Atkinson

(Wikipedia) William Walker Atkinson (December 5, 1862 – November 22, 1932) was an attorney, merchant, publisher, and author, as well as an occultist and an American pioneer of the New Thought movement. He is also known to have been the author of the pseudonymous works attributed to Theron Q. Dumont and Yogi Ramacharaka.
... William Walker Atkinson was born in Baltimore, Maryland on December 5, 1862, to William and Emma Atkinson. He began his working life as a grocer at 15 years old, probably helping his father. Continued

Nov 21, 2009

A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the Conquest of the American Continent

(NYTBR) President James K. Polk has languished in obscurity long enough to have become the subject of an amusing — and remarkably accurate — rock ’n’ roll song. “In four short years he met his every goal,” the alt-rock band They Might Be Giants sings in “James K. Polk,” which the group first released on an EP in 1990. The man secured the Oregon Territory, slashed tariffs, reformed the national banking system and seized “the whole Southwest from Mexico.” And yet, the song concludes, “precious few have mourned the passing of / Mr. James K. Polk, our 11th president / Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump.” Continued

Photos: Library of Congress

Negro League baseball museum proposed for Baltimore

(Baltimore Sun) Baltimore would become home to the first East Coast museum devoted to Negro League baseball teams and players, under a $4.1 million plan that has been approved by the Dixon administration. The plan calls for redeveloping Pennsylvania Avenue's historic Sphinx Club and adjacent properties with a sports-themed museum, entertainment and dining complex designed to draw tourists and help rejuvenate the corridor. Continued

Nov 20, 2009

Crawling Around with Baltimore Street Rats

( ... Glass has been following the secret lives of wild Norway rats – otherwise known as brown rats, wharf rats, or, most evocatively, sewer rats -- for more than two decades now, but Baltimore has been a national hotspot for rat studies for well over half a century. The research push began during World War II, when thousands of troops in the South Pacific came down with the rat-carried tsutsugamushi disease, and the Allies also feared that the Germans and Japanese would release rats to spread the plague. Rats were wreaking havoc on the home front, too, as Christine Keiner notes in her 2005 article in the academic journal Endeavor. Rats can chew through wire and even steel, obliterating infrastructure. Rodent-related damage cost the country an estimated $200 million in 1942 alone. Rat bites were reaching record highs in some areas. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

Wrightsville "Farthest East" Monument Dedicated on July 4, 1900

(Cannonball) This impressive old Civil War memorial has stood for more than a century at the intersection of Hellam Street (once the famed Lincoln Highway) and Fourth Street in downtown Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. It commemorates the town as the point farthest east reached by the Confederate army during the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign. Union militia burned the mile-and-a-quarter long wooden covered bridge over the Susquehanna River to prevent the Rebels from marching into Lancaster County. [Conveniently enough, as the "Rebels" were out to burn it anyway.] Continued

Photo: Nightening

The Essex

(Wikipedia) ... The Essex left Nantucket in 1819 on a two-and-a-half-year voyage to the whaling grounds of the South Pacific. On November 20, 1820, the Essex encountered a Sperm Whale that was much larger than normal, which rammed the ship twice and sank it while the men were pursuing and killing other members of the whale's pod. The ship sank 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) west of the western coast of South America. The twenty-one sailors set out in three small whaleboats, with wholly inadequate supplies of food and water, and landed on uninhabited Henderson Island, within the modern-day British territory of the Pitcairn Islands. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

Nov 19, 2009

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate...we can not consecrate...we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Photo: Lincoln at Gettysburg, November 19th, 1863 (Library of Congress).

Nov 18, 2009

The Easy Rider Road Trip: Retracing the Path of the Iconic Movie on Its 40th Anniversary

(Slate) ... Film enthusiasts my age had warned me to expect a film with long, often dull, experimental patches and stoner vagaries. When I finally got around to watching Easy Rider, I discovered those warnings weren't entirely unfounded. But I also discovered a more complex and sour movie than the one I'd imagined. More an elegy for a generation that never got where it wanted to go than a celebration of that generation's superiority, it pits hopefulness against resignation and sets the battle on a lovingly photographed stretch of the United States. Easy Rider hit theaters with a memorable tag line: "A man who went looking for America. And couldn't find it anywhere." Star, producer, and co-writer Peter Fonda hated that line, and rightly so. It's really the story of two men—Wyatt and Billy, played by Fonda and co-writer and director Dennis Hopper—who went looking for America and found it everywhere. They just didn't find a place for themselves. Continued

Education pioneer Williams dies

(Aegis) ... Dr. Williams was one of 10 children of the late Hattie Brown and Vandellia Armitage Williams, a sharecropping farmer whose family was uprooted from the Perryman peninsula during the creation of Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1917 when Dr. Williams was just 3. The Williams children grew up in the era of segregation when black children in Harford County were not allowed to attend school with white children and were shunted into crowded, older buildings, where they were taught only by members of their own race and classes stopped at seventh grade. To earn a high school diploma, a black child had to leave the county to attend school in neighboring counties or Baltimore City, usually in a “colored only” school.
... The Harford County school system Dr. Williams left in 1962 was still segregated by race, even though the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down the so-called separate but equal doctrine in education eight years earlier. The Harford school system was not fully integrated until the 1965-66 school year and then, only after pressure from the state department of education, of which Dr. Williams was then a part. Continued

Photo: Federal Hill Colored School, Route 165, above Jarrettsville, Maryland (Falmanac).

Photograph of Rural Free Delivery wagon with horse

"The fancifully decorated horse-drawn wagon is marked "Rural Route No. 3, Osseo, Minn[esota]." Rural free delivery carriers did not more than just transport mail. This unidentified carrier would have offered a functioning post office on wheels to customers. The carrier would have brought along stamps and stamped envelopes, money orders and other postal products for sale along the route. National Postal Museum, Curatorial Photographic Collection Photographer: Unknown" Link


(LoC) On November 18, 1883, four standard time zones for the continental U.S.A. were introduced at the instigation of the railroads. At noon on this day the U.S. Naval Observatory changed its telegraphic signals to correspond to the change. Until the invention of the railway, it took such a long time to get from one place to another that local "sun time" could be used. When traveling to the east or to the west, a person would have to change his or her watch by one minute every twelve miles.
When people began traveling by train, sometimes hundreds of miles in a day, the calculation of time became a serious problem. Operators of the new railroad lines realized that a new time plan was needed in order to offer a uniform train schedule for departures and arrivals. Continued

Photo: Clock, Clifton Forge, Virginia (Falmanac).

Nov 17, 2009

Recognition for Dred Scott, wife

(Baltimore Sun) A bronze plaque honoring slave Dred Scott and his wife Harriet will be unveiled at ceremonies today in front of Frederick's City Hall. The plaque and granite pedestal is adjacent to an older monument to Roger Brooke Taney, the U.S. Supreme Court chief justice who lived in Frederick and whose controversial decision in the Dred Scott case of 1856 said that slaves had no rights under the U.S. Constitution. Historians have noted that the Dred Scott Decision put an end to the Missouri Compromise, which allowed slavery in some states and prohibited it in others, and exacerbated the divisions between the North and the South. Continued

Photos: Wikipedia, Library of Congress

National Art Week: American Art for American Homes

Hey, remember when it was patriotic to buy art? Well it was.

Photos: WPA/LoC

Elvin Hayes

(Wikipedia) Elvin Ernest Hayes (born November 17, 1945 in Rayville, Louisiana) is a retired American basketball player. He is a member of the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
... In 1972, Hayes was traded to the Baltimore Bullets, where he teamed with Hall-Of-Famer Wes Unseld to form a fierce and dominating frontcourt combination. The 18.1 rebounds per game Hayes averaged in 1974 is the third highest rebounding average of any NBA player since Wilt Chamberlain retired in 1973.
Hayes and Unseld later led the Washington Bullets to 3 NBA Finals (1975, 1978, and 1979), and an NBA title over The Seattle SuperSonics in 1978. He shined brightly, especially in the NBA playoffs. Continued

Photo: "Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld, the twin pillars of the championship Bullets teams of the 1970's." (Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.)