There was a typewriter repairman in North Hollywood, California. He couldn’t believe it when all of a sudden someone deposited 24 vintage typewriters on his doorstep and said, “Make them look new.” He probably hadn’t had that much work in the last 25 years. He was probably just about ready to hang up the “Going out of business” sign and cursing the arrival of the laptop computer when all of a sudden here I come with 24 typewriters. The Collectors Weekly interviews Scott Buckwald, propmaster for Mad Men.
PDX History is a veritable treasure trove of information about (and pictures and postcards of) the history of Portland (Oregon). Department stores, streetcars, long-dead amusement parks (yes, Jantzen Beach was once much more than a dying mall surrounded by big-box stores) and more. The web design leaves a bit to be desired, but the site is wonderful nonetheless.
The Torture Colony. In a remote part of Chile, an evil German evangelist built a utopia whose members helped the Pinochet regime perform its foulest deeds... [i]nvestigations by Amnesty International and the governments of Chile, Germany, and France, as well as the testimony of former colonos who, over the years, managed to escape the colony, have revealed evidence of terrible crimes: child molestation, forced labor, weapons trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping, torture, and murder. It may sound like the farfetched plot of Saw VII (or something out of Kafka) but it's horrifyingly true. [Previously]
In Our Own Backyard: Resisting Nazi Propaganda In Southern California 1933 - 1945, a digital exhibition from the Oviatt Library at Cal State Northridge. "The Nazi Propaganda period, 1933 to 1945, chronicles a crucial twelve years in American history. This exhibit's story about the local threat to American ideals demonstrates how European events reached across the ocean and affected people in Southern California -- in our own backyard." Magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, stickers and more. [more inside]
The Willa Cather Archive is an incredible resource provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, including biographies, letters, photos, and even full (often annotated) text of much of her writing, including scholarly editions of two of her greatest (and most famous) works, My Antonia and O Pioneers. About the archive.
Cats in Wartime on land, at sea, and memorialized. (With discussion of some of the most famous-- like Simon and Oscar.) Also, What Cats Know About War, previously on metafilter. [more inside]
The great Seattle Fire. "The spring of 1889 in Seattle had been beautiful....Unfortunately, the unusually good weather proved to be disastrous, as the dry conditions conspired with a handful of other elements to allow for the worst fire in city history...the fire burned until 3:00 am. When it was done, the damage was enormous. 120 acres (25 city blocks) had been destroyed, as was every wharf and Mill from Union to Jackson Streets. Although the loss of human life was evidently low (no statistics were kept on that) it was estimated that 1 million rats were killed...." Photo gallery. A roughly contemporaneous account. A Historylink essay on the fire. How the fire changed Seattle's architecture.
"The “Monuments Men” [wiki] were a group of ... men and women from thirteen nations who comprised the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section during World War II....Together they worked to protect monuments and other cultural treasures from the destruction of World War II. ...They tracked, located, and ultimately returned more than 5 million artistic and cultural items stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. Their role in preserving cultural treasures was without precedent. "
Want to live for free (sort of) in a historic home? Maryland, Delaware, and Massachusetts all have resident curatorship programs, in which you can live rent-free in a historic home, provided you spend your own time and money renovating it. Contact your state's historic preservation office to see if there's a program like this near you...
Almost 1700 Carnegie Libraries (wikipedia) were built in the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from Pennsylvania to California, from Florida to Oregon, and almost every other single place in between . (Scotland, too!) Some of them are still in use as libraries. Others aren't. This person is trying to collect post cards of as many of them as possible.