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100 Years on a Dirty Dog

“Greyhound has become generic for bus travel,” says Robert Gabrick, author of Going The Greyhound Way. “Like Kleenex for tissues.”
posted by ellieBOA on Jun 27, 2014 - 18 comments

From New York to Mars with the Chairman of the Board

The Grammy nominated, golden record album from Frank Sinatra that nobody has heard of. Despite featuring one of Frank Sinatra's more iconic songs, this little known three part concept album known as the Trilogy: Past, Present, and Future was meant to be a reflection of Frank Sinatra's career, starting with the Past which included many of his classic numbers, and then going into the Present, which mostly consisted of covers like those of The Beatles and Elvis, but where it gets really interesting is in the Future. [more inside]
posted by KernalM on Jun 26, 2014 - 13 comments

"It’s easy to take glamour for granted."

Black Glamour Power - a Collectors Weekly interview with Nichelle Gainer of Vintage Black Glamour (previously): "A lot of people think of vintage black pictures as either civil-rights photos or black ladies at church, or maybe sharecroppers picking in the cotton fields and sweating from the hard work. That’s fine. Those are our pictures. But that shouldn’t be the only image of us. It’s nice to see a black woman who is not sweating in the field, but glistening from all this bling, like Josephine Baker, dripping in diamonds. Sometimes you want to see that. Why not? It’s easy to take glamour for granted. You can be a white woman, and you can care less about Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich, and that’s fine. But you know what? Black women haven’t had the same option." [more inside]
posted by flex on Jun 26, 2014 - 12 comments

Did black people own slaves?

"One of the most vexing questions in African-American history is whether free African Americans themselves owned slaves. The short answer to this question, as you might suspect, is yes, of course … For me, the really fascinating questions about black slave-owning are how many black "masters" were involved, how many slaves did they own and why did they own slaves?" Henry Louis Gates Jr. on black slave owners.
posted by klangklangston on Jun 26, 2014 - 56 comments

A Photographic Look at the Birth of Gay Pride

A Photographic Look at the Birth of Gay Pride
posted by scody on Jun 26, 2014 - 9 comments

The Call Is Coming From Inside The Grave

"If the phone rang and you were in another room, you had to come running: in that immediate sense, and in a way that now seems comical, your phone controlled you. And before the ‘90s, there was no caller ID, an inconvenience which ensured, for that benighted first century-plus of the instrument’s analog existence, the first premise of phone horror—that you could never know for certain whose voice, or what sound, would issue from the other end of that raised receiver." - HiLoBrow is in the middle of a series exploring the tropes and history of Phone Horror. Of particular note is the brief historical connection between the telephone and the world of occult crypto-science - The Atlantic explains further.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 25, 2014 - 53 comments

"A pantry full of ingredients"

My goal here -- beyond the selfish utilitarian aspect of organizing my research -- is much in parallel with that of sites like the Medieval People of Color blog, or Kameron Hurley's award-nominated essay "We Have Always Fought". I want to help change the unexamined assumptions about the place and nature of lesbian-like characters in historic fact, literature, art, and imagination. I want to do it to help other authors find inspiration and support for the stories they want to tell. And I want to do it to affect the reception of my own writing. My project will be flawed in that it will privilege topics and interpretations of personal interest to me. (A geographic focus on Europe and it's neighbors. A temporal focus that ends before the 20th century and focuses strongly on the pre-modern. An examination of the data through a lesbian lens even when other lenses, such as transgender ones, are equally valid.) This is a caveat but not an apology. If I weren't doing it for selfish reasons, I wouldn't be doing it at all.
The Lesbian Historica Motif Project is a series of posts at The Rose Garden looking at source material about lesbian women throughout history.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 22, 2014 - 14 comments

Those Three Are On My Mind

James Chaney. Andrew Goodman. Michael Schwerner. Murdered by the KKK 50 years ago today, in one of the galvanizing events of the struggle for civil rights in the South. (previously 1, 2, 3) [more inside]
posted by scody on Jun 21, 2014 - 32 comments

A Triumph of the Wet-Plate, Among Other Things

The Photographic History of the Civil War (10 vols.; 1911) offered context for thousands of striking images from the American Civil War: 1 - The Opening Battles; 2 - Two Years of Grim War; 3 - The Decisive Battles; 4 - The Cavalry; 5 - Forts and Artillery; 6 - The Navies; 7 - Prisons and Hospitals; 8 - Soldier Life / Secret Service; 9 - Poetry and Eloquence of Blue and Gray; 10 - Armies and Leaders. It was also a capstone in the intriguing career of a little-known popular historian and silent era filmmaker. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jun 21, 2014 - 9 comments

Odd leaves from the life of a Louisiana "swamp doctor" (circa 1850)

One of the most intriguing personalities in Southern medical history of the nineteenth century is Dr. Henry Clay Lewis (1825-1850), whose fame rests not on his accomplishments in medicine, but upon his humorous writings published under the pseudonym "Madison Tensas, M.D., the Louisiana Swamp Doctor." Though Lewis was a practicing doctor, his true identity as the author of the "Southern grotesque" (previously) pieces was not known until after his death. His works pre-dated the Southern Gothic style (prev), and are unusual for their time in that "[Lewis] presents his black characters with as much pain and grotesqueness as his white characters, steering away from the time's usual stereotypes." You can read a longer biography and a summary of his style here, or just dive in and read his works, which available online in Odd leaves from the life of a Louisiana "swamp doctor", which was also published as The swamp doctor's adventures in the South-west (also available with fourteen illustrations) on Archive.org.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 20, 2014 - 6 comments

How an Austronesian Concept Became a Video Game Mechanic

"The concept is a staple of the global culture of fantasy novels and video games, many of which feature a blue bar of magical energy called 'mana.' "But how did this happen? How did a concept from Pago Pago become part of global gaming culture? How did an Austronesian spiritual force come on board the Exodar, and become part of the life of my draenei shaman?" A lengthy look at the history of "mana," from Pacific Islanders to RPGs and trading card games.
posted by jbickers on Jun 17, 2014 - 66 comments

Les Invisibles

Les Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride is a collection of found photographs by film-maker Sébastien Lifshitz showing (mostly anonymous) gay couples together in the early years of the 20th century. 'He found most of his collection in the US and western Europe, but none in the UK: “Maybe the British think such photographs have no value, or are too private to sell.”'. In 2012, Lifshitz released Les Invisibles, a related documentary exploring the lives of 11 gay and lesbian individuals over the age of 70. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jun 17, 2014 - 8 comments

National Greatness

Francis Fukuyama on 'The End of History?' twenty-five years later: "liberal democracy still doesn't have any real competitors," but to get there... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 15, 2014 - 29 comments

Give it 30 years and the overstuffed chair becomes hip and high brow...

Spread from a 1949 issue of LIFE magazine charts what is low-brow, high-brow and inbetween
posted by The Whelk on Jun 14, 2014 - 185 comments

We had to sell and no one in Europe wanted to buy

"Maybe Angola will colonise us now," says Vasco Lourenço, the head of Associação 25 de Abril, an organisation that is trying to preserve the spirit of the 1974 revolution. Forty years ago he was one of the young army officers who took up arms to end the Salazar dictatorship and colonial wars.
While Portugal is still in the throws of recession, Angola is booming and investing heavily in its old colonial ruler. Now Portugal is struggling with the effects of this investment and the implications it brings with it.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 13, 2014 - 17 comments

"We’re not beautiful, we’re not ugly, we’re angry"

The Miss World contest of 1970, of course, isn’t famous for its motley crew of judges but for the feminist protest that took place in the middle of the show. While the judges were putting women in order of beauty, Bob Hope the London-born compere, came on stage to go through a comedy routine. All of a sudden about fifty women and a few men started throwing flour bombs, stink bombs, ink bombs and leaflets at the stage wile yelling “we are liberationists!”, “We’re not beautiful, we’re not ugly, we’re angry” and “ban this disgraceful cattle market!”. The worldwide live television audience couldn’t fail to notice what was happening. Bob Hope certainly noticed and he quickly tried to flee the stage as the missiles flew by. Julia Morley, the wife of the organiser Eric Morley, grabbed hold of his ankle in a desperate attempt to stop him leaving. It only took a few minutes for the police to restore order but ‘Women’s Lib’ had in one fell swoop established itself as part of the seventies.
The Anorak looks back at (the judges) of the 1970 miss world competition.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 11, 2014 - 25 comments

The theatre appeared in the crime section more than the arts section ...

Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Jun 11, 2014 - 4 comments

Avant-Garde in a Different Key: Karl Kraus’s The Last Days of Mankind

Act 1, scene 1. "The stage directions read, “Vienna. The Ringstrasse promenade at Sirk Corner. Flags wave from the buildings. Soldiers marching by are cheered by the onlookers. General excitement. The crowd breaks up into small groups.”[2] The newsboys with their “Extra Extra,” announcing the outbreak of war, are interrupted by a drunk demonstrator who shouts “Down with Serbia! Hurrah for the Hapsburgs! Hurrah! For S-e-r-bia!” and is immediately kicked in the pants for his mistake (LTM, p. 69). A crook and a prostitute exchange insults, even as two army contractors, talking of possible bribes the rich will use to avoid the draft, cite Bismarck’s words, in Neue Freie Presse (Vienna’s major newspaper at the time of the assassination of the archduke in Serbia), to the effect that the Austrians deserve kissing. One officer tells another that war is “unanwendbar” (of no use) when he really means, as his friend points out, “unabwendbar” (unavoidable) (LTM, pp. 70–71). A patriotic citizen praises the coming conflict as a holy war of defense against “encirclement” by hostile forces, and the crowd responds by making up rhymes (in Viennese dialect) denigrating the enemy (LTM, p. 72)." [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 10, 2014 - 9 comments

Knowledge as Politics by Other Means: An Interview with Wael Hallaq

Throughout the last three decades, Wael Hallaq has emerged as one of the leading scholars of Islamic law in Western academia. He has made major contributions not only to the study of the theory and practice of Islamic law, but to the development of a methodology through which Islamic scholars have been able to confront challenges facing the Islamic legal tradition. Hallaq is thus uniquely placed to address broader questions concerning the moral and intellectual foundations of competing modern projects. With his most recent work, The Impossible State, Hallaq lays bare the power dynamics and political processes at the root of phenomena that are otherwise often examined purely through the lens of the legal. In this interview, the first of a two-part series with him, Hallaq expands upon some of the implications of those arguments and the challenges they pose for the future of intellectual engagements across various traditions. In particular, he addresses the failure of Western intellectuals to engage with scholars in Islamic societies as well as the intellectual and structural challenges facing Muslim scholars. Hallaq also critiques the underlying hegemonic project of Western liberalism and the uncritical adoption of it by some Muslim thinkers. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 9, 2014 - 6 comments

For them, every valley and desert was home.

Travel was always desirable to them / And they visited every continent … They considered travel and homeland synonymous / For them, every valley and desert was home. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 8, 2014 - 7 comments

Project Mogul

You may have heard how sounds travel farther during a temperature inversion, when air near the ground is cooler than the air above. But do you know how this phenomenon is related to the 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico? [more inside]
posted by mbrubeck on Jun 8, 2014 - 14 comments

German Rocket Cats: A Meditation

On March 5th, the Associated Press asked: “What are seemingly jet-propelled cats and birds doing in a 16th century German artillery manual?” It was a good question. [...] European History People sent burning pigs stampeding toward their neighbors regularly and would put a rooster on trial for real actually with a lawyer and everything if someone said it laid an egg without a yolk. If someone like that was soberly strapping a rocket to a cat and you interrupted them in their cat-to-rocket-strapping-room they’d look up like “Yeah?” and they would have this big pinky white person expression on their face like it wasn’t even a little bit weird. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Jun 6, 2014 - 34 comments

70ème anniversaire de la libération de Paris

50 photos de la Libération de Paris se fondent dans le présent. [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 6, 2014 - 16 comments

“Rangers, Lead The Way!”

Experience D-Day like your grandparents did, if they weren't in the military on June 6, 1944. Archive.org has the the complete D-Day broadcast from CBS radio.
posted by COD on Jun 6, 2014 - 31 comments

"Let's go get 'em, boys," he said, arming himself with a fungo bat....

The 1974 Cleveland Indians baseball team "were a smorgasbord of mediocre and forgettable talent playing in an open-air mausoleum" where 85% of the seats at home games went unsold. So the Indians tried to drum up business with a "10-Cent Beer Night" promotion. What could possibly go wrong? The final tally, 40 years ago this evening: 25,134 fans in attendance. 60,000 Genesee beers at 10¢ each. 50 cops. 19 streakers. 7 emergency room injuries. 9 arrests. 2 bare moons. 2 bouncing breasts and 1 sportswriter, punched in the jaw. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 4, 2014 - 28 comments

Vroom aww

My Mom's Motorcycle "This is a short film about how my mom became the owner of a motorcycle ... more deeply it is about how people use objects to connect with times, ideas, and people."
posted by pwally on Jun 4, 2014 - 9 comments

"You Crazy Bastards. What Have You Done? Now I Have To Rebuild!"

In 2003, Andy "waxpancake" Baio created Upcoming, "a collaborative event calendar focused on interesting arts and tech events around the world, curated by its community. It surfaced weird and wonderful events that usually fell under the radar of traditional event listings from newspapers and local weeklies." In 2005, it was acquired by Yahoo!, who killed the site last April with little warning, and no way to back up events. Fortunately, the complete site was saved by the Internet Archive. But Upcoming isn't dead yet! Two months ago, Yahoo! offered to sell the domain back to Baio. And now, with a fully-funded kickstarter, he's planning on "rebuilding it for the modern era using tools and platforms that weren't available when it was first designed." Welcome to the brilliant life, stupid death, and improbable return of Upcoming.org. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 3, 2014 - 22 comments

Bread riots were as rare as the prized Semper Augustus tulip

The Austerity Kitchen (previously) on the Dutch abundance of the 17th Century
posted by The Whelk on May 31, 2014 - 7 comments

The Hidden Paintings of Angkor Wat

Hidden Paintings Revealed at Ancient Temple of Angkor Wat. "New, digitally enhanced images reveal detailed murals at Angkor Wat showing elephants, deities, boats, orchestral ensembles and people riding horses — all invisible to the naked eye." [Via]
posted by homunculus on May 29, 2014 - 7 comments

Ambassadors from Mars

The strange, tragic story of the Brothers Muse. The sideshow called them Eko and Iko, cannibal savages from Borneo, sheep-headed men, ambassadors from Mars, highlighting their signature white dreadlocks in every poster. In reality, they were George and Willie Muse, taken from their parents in 1899 in rural Roanoke, Virginia by bounty hunters working for sideshow producers fascinated by their albinism. [more inside]
posted by Gucky on May 29, 2014 - 7 comments

A painting, a smile, a director. Dido Elizabeth Belle; Amma Asante

The enigma of Mona Lisa's smile? Who cares? The mystery of Dido Belle is much more intriguing. The double portrait Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, once attributed to Johann Zoffany and now hanging in Scone Palace in Perth, depicts two elegant 18th-century women in silks and pearls at Kenwood House in London. Beyond them, you can just glimpse St Paul's and the rest of the Georgian cityscape. Nothing unusual about any of that, but for one detail – Dido is mixed race. Belle is about slavery and follows on the heels of Steve McQueen's Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave. An impossible act to follow, you might suppose. Yet the two films could hardly be more different. "I wouldn't want audiences to come to Belle and think they were about to see '12 Years a Slave Mark 2'," Asante says. Based in Britain and rooted in fact, Belle is an extraordinary story, she tells me: Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761-1804) was the daughter of John Lindsay, a British admiral, and an African slave. She grew up in Kenwood House, Hampstead, under the guardianship of Lord Chief Justice Mansfield. One delicately speculative Guardian article about a painting and its context leads to a fascinating portait of a Ghanaian/British filmmaker and the circumstances that formed her. Asante has always had an "extra eye" and sees herself as an insider and outsider (all directors, she believes, need to be emotionally ambidextrous).
posted by glasseyes on May 28, 2014 - 12 comments

"on the lands recently abandoned by rebel leaders"

To enforce his orders—and to make Arlington uninhabitable for the Lees—Meigs evicted officers from the mansion, installed a military chaplain and a loyal lieutenant to oversee cemetery operations, and proceeded with new burials, encircling Mrs. Lee's garden with the tombstones of prominent Union officers. The first of these was Capt. Albert H. Packard of the 31st Maine Infantry. Shot in the head during the Battle of the Second Wilderness, Packard had miraculously survived his journey from the Virginia front to Washington's Columbian College Hospital, only to die there. On May 17, 1864, he was laid to rest where Mary Lee had enjoyed reading in warm weather, surrounded by the scent of honeysuckle and jasmine. By the end of 1864, some 40 officers' graves had joined his.
So what's more fitting after Memorial Weekend to read about than how the US government took over Robert E. Lee's very own mansion and turned it into the nation's foremost military cemetery to honour the Union's war death?
posted by MartinWisse on May 27, 2014 - 168 comments

One plus one is equal to two - calculus in text is left as an excercise

I was surprised to learn that few people knew that almost all maths was written rhetorically before the 16th century, often in metered poetry. Even our wonderful symbol for equality – you know, those two parallel lines – was not used in print before 1575.
posted by sammyo on May 24, 2014 - 39 comments

The Songs of Summer

To kick off (in the U.S.) the long Memorial Day weekend (traditionally the unofficial start of summer!) the Boston Globe presents an interactive chart of iconic songs of summer from each of the last 100 years! No word yet on the 2014 earworm to be.
posted by Curious Artificer on May 24, 2014 - 60 comments

“Where do left and right meet? At the truth.”

Politically Incorrect was an American late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002, first on Comedy Central and then on ABC. Four guests (usually including at least one comedian) would debate topics across the political spectrum in what Maher once described as “The McLaughlin Group on acid.” Of the 1300+ episodes produced, 190 can be viewed on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 23, 2014 - 66 comments

Illustration Is Story-Telling

Longtime veteran courtroom sketch artist Gary Myrick gives us a look inside his profession.
posted by gman on May 22, 2014 - 5 comments

"By our unpaid labor and suffering..."

"To celebrate freedom and democracy while forgetting America’s origins in a slavery economy is patriotism à la carte." Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation both de jure and de facto--Ta-Nehisi Coates on The Case for Reparations.
posted by ilicet on May 21, 2014 - 153 comments

Thug: A Life of Caravaggio in Sixty-Nine Paragraphs

Thug: A Life of Caravaggio in Sixty-Nine Paragraphs
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse on May 20, 2014 - 14 comments

The Brewstorian

"With over 200 breweries, Oregon is often considered the craft beer capital of America. Beer geeks and casual drinkers across the country can also thank the state’s farmers for their brews: hops, the essential ingredient that gives beer its bitter flavor, is a rare crop throughout the U.S. but not in Oregon. Last year, Oregon State University established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives (OHBA), the first archive in the U.S., dedicated to preserving and telling the intertwined story of hop and beer production and the craft brewing movement. They're posting materials from their collection to Tumblr, Flickr and Zotero.
posted by zarq on May 20, 2014 - 31 comments

Perhaps Wikipedia is the ideal venue

I call on historians to dedicate their precious few hours of spare time to improving Wikipedia; as an incentive, I call on ­administrators to integrate Wikipedia contributions into the publication requirements for tenure.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on May 17, 2014 - 71 comments

Within Sight And Gunshot

This indignant map exposes the seamy underbelly of 1890s Washington, D.C., naming and locating “saloons” and “bawdy-houses” in the so-called Murder Bay neighborhood, located east of the White House. The Library of Congress, which holds the map, tells us that it’s a newspaper clipping from the 1890s, without a known author or publisher. (Slate.com)
posted by The Whelk on May 15, 2014 - 14 comments

You scream, I scream, we all scream...

The song "Turkey In The Straw" is one known to millions of Americans as well as many, many others around the world. Here's a National Public Radio article that shines some light on the virulently racist lyrics that attended that familiar old melody in its earlier incarnation. WARNING: Do not go to the link if you wish to avoid racist imagery and slurs.
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 14, 2014 - 117 comments

The Santa Maria found?

"More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeological investigators think they may have discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains – lying at the bottom of the sea off the north coast of Haiti."
posted by brundlefly on May 13, 2014 - 61 comments

"This Phineas was proud, well-dressed, and disarmingly handsome."

On Sept. 13, 1848, at around 4:30 p.m., the time of day when the mind might start wandering, a railroad foreman named Phineas Gage filled a drill hole with gunpowder and turned his head to check on his men. It was the last normal moment of his life. Other victims in the annals of medicine are almost always referred to by initials or pseudonyms. Not Gage: His is the most famous name in neuroscience. How ironic, then, that we know so little else about the man—and that much of what we think we know, especially about his life unraveling after his accident, is probably bunk.
Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient by Sam Kean.
posted by Kattullus on May 13, 2014 - 36 comments

Long Player

Long Player is a fortnightly show presented by [British music journalist] Pete Paphides. Conducted in a relaxed setting, these interviews see some of Petes favourite artists revisiting the highs and lows of their careers. Interviewees include Allen Toussaint, Linda Thompson, Neil Finn and Jimmy Webb. [more inside]
posted by jack_mo on May 11, 2014 - 7 comments

The Evolution of London, mapped through its roadways

In seven minutes, you can see the evolution of London, as seen in its road network, from the Roman port city of Londonium through the Anglo-Saxon, Tudor, Stuart, Early Georgian and Late Georgian, Early Victorian and Late Victorian, Early 20th Century and Postwar London, set to the scale of the 600 square miles of modern London, though the original city core is a very dense square mile. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 10, 2014 - 15 comments

Dragons are totally real tho

The uncommonly well-moderated and researched Ask Historians subreddit answers the question: What common medieval fantasy tropes have little-to-no basis in real medieval European history?
posted by The Whelk on May 8, 2014 - 54 comments

By 1909, the hatpin was considered an international threat

In March 1910, Chicago’s city council ran with that idea, debating an ordinance that would ban hatpins longer than nine inches; any woman caught in violation would be arrested and fined $50. The proceedings were packed with curious spectators, men and women, and acrimonious from the start. “If women care to wear carrots and roosters on their heads, that is a matter for their own concern, but when it comes to wearing swords they must be stopped,” a supporter said. Cries of “Bravo!” from the men; hisses from the women. Nan Davis, there to represent several women’s clubs, asked for permission to address the committee. “If the men of Chicago want to take the hatpins away from us, let them make the streets safe,” she said. “No man has a right to tell me how I shall dress and what I shall wear.” [more inside]
posted by JujuB on May 8, 2014 - 50 comments

A maze of twisty little borders, all alike

The world's most complex borders. Bonus: a closer look at Baarle, the Belgian Dutch Belgian enclave in the south of the Netherlands.
posted by MartinWisse on May 6, 2014 - 29 comments

40 Maps of the Middle East

Forty maps that explain the Middle East. Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light." [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on May 6, 2014 - 8 comments

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