In 1915, there were many ways to drive across and around in the United States (though trans-continental routes were mostly dirt, with some improved sections). So why did a group meet that same year to develop another cross-country road, one that would take 15 years to complete, rather than tying together existing segments? Tourism to their communities, mostly, but their* Old Spanish Trail also boasted of being the shortest route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Today, you can still find remnants of that road, and there's a group of people who are trying to revive this historic highway. [more inside]
AIGA, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, is celebrating its centennial year in 2014 with a microsite called 100 Years of Design. It highlights the intersections of design and society through exemplary works from the AIGA Design Archives, interviews with living masters, quotes from leading designers and significant moments from the organization’s history. Together, these elements form a narrative about the impact of design; how it connects, delights, influences and assists us.Via
On July 1, 1913, a group of automobile enthusiasts and industry officials established the Lincoln Highway Association "to procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all description without toll charges," and to be a lasting memorial to Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Highway efforts started about three years before the first federal road act would provide funding to states to improve the broad network of roads. Never officially finished, the first transcontinental highway eventually became renumbered as various interstate and US routes. To celebrate its centennial, there was a cross-country tour in June. [more inside]
Tomorrow would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. To celebrate, PBS Digital Studios offers: Julia Child Remixed. They also have created a celebration page, complete with an infographic, recipes, quotes, videos and more. [more inside]
In 1876, the US celebrated the centennial with an International Exposition. The centerpiece of Machinery Hall, and the source of power for all the machinery therein, was the world's largest steam engine. A beam engine (previously), it produced 1400 horsepower and was built in a mere 7 months when other bids to provide motive power proved inadequate. [more inside]
The Centennial Project. During the 100th Anniversary of Oklahoma's statehood, MeFi'er Brittanie is serializing two personal first-person accounts of her family's journey into the Sooner State, including both her great-great-grandfather's efforts to make the 1891 Land Run and another relative's meticulous biographical history which extends as far back as the Civil War. [via mefi projects]
On May 26, 1907, a 13 pound baby boy named Marion Morrison was born in Winterset, Iowa. Nicknamed "Little Duke" after his childhood dog, he grew up to become the most famous icon of American patriotism in the world. When he was a football player at USC, Western filmstar Tom Mix got him a summer job at Fox in exchange for game tickets. After two years working as a prop man for $75 a week, his first acting role was in The Big Trail in 1930. "Marion Morrison" didn't sound like the right name for a trail scout though, so the studio took the last name from a Revolutionary War general and replaced "Anthony" with "John." Voila! A working actor from 1930 through the 1970s, this year John Wayne placed third among America's favorite film stars, the only deceased star on the list and the only one who has appeared every year. He was an opinionated patriot who, surprisingly, called himself a liberal... bigger than life, the consummate cowboy star, and the ultimate symbol of heroic action and the Code of the West. In the end, acting actually took his life indirectly thanks to radiation poisoning during a movie shoot in Utah (of the 220 persons on set, 91 had contracted cancer by the early 1980s), and almost three decades after his death, his family continues to carry on his legacy. He has an an airport, an elementary school, and various Cancer Foundations named after him, and while he wasn't much of a singer or dancer, he remains the ultimate symbol of American manliness to this day. Apparently there are hundreds of reasons to love the guy.
And for the record... no, he wasn't gay.
And for the record... no, he wasn't gay.
Forever Greene. One hundred years after Graham Greene’s birth, the literary mosaic of books like Our Man in Havana and Brighton Rock is still riveting. But the author "carried anguish” with him: a moralist and, therefore, controversial, Greene’s clearly-worded works of suspenseful, or ethical ambivalence, border on a delicate balance — of both gloom and salvation. His novels are replete with a sense of foreboding, and scrutinise self-deception, sin, failure. George Orwell sneered that Greene thinks "there is something rather distingué in being damned; Hell is a sort of high-class nightclub, entry to which is reserved for Catholics only". And what remains is also, of course, the -- de riguer -- problem of the biographies: caring father, fervent brothelgoer, helluva guy? Anyway, among the institutions celebrating Greene's centenary: the British Library, the Barbican Centre (scroll down the page). And the Guardian just re-printed "The funeral of Graham Greene", reported in the Guardian, April 9 1991. (more inside, with Shirley Temple)