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Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States

"Untold History of the United States challenges the basic narrative of the U.S. history that most Americans have been taught.... [Such history] is consoling; it is comforting. But it only tells a small part of the story." Instead of clips of modern people pondering the past, Oliver Stone's ten-part series relies heavily on archival footage and clips from old Hollywood films, with narration by Stone. Towards the end, he gets into the assassination of JFK, "but that should not detract from a series that sets out to be a counterweight to the patriotic cheerleading and myth-making." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 23, 2013 - 66 comments

In the Wild with President Roosevelt

Go camping with President Roosevelt John Burroughs received a personal invite from President Theodore Roosevelt to go camping with him in 1903. Though what they call 'camping' we would probably call an 'expedition' today. What follows is an interesting look at the President out in the wild, exploring and reveling in the beauty of Yellowstone Park though the eyes of an invited guest.
posted by chambers on Sep 5, 2013 - 8 comments

TP-AJAX

In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times in 2000. Timeline. However, they refused to release them to the public. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 19, 2013 - 33 comments

Shall the artist survive?

In 1934, the Public Works of Art Project was born. It served to offer employment to many artists, and produced thousands of works of art, including 2000 posters and 1100 murals, primarily in post offices, across the United States. [more inside]
posted by frimble on Feb 7, 2013 - 15 comments

Hellbent For Election - a Chuck Jones joint, in part, from 1944

Hellbent For Election
via Crooked timber [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Oct 30, 2012 - 13 comments

Buying useful things, like roads and universities and health care and solar energy and spaceships, should be better stimulus than fighting wars.

"Liberals have not always been very good at communicating why liberalism works. There’s many reasons for this, but part of it is that it can be hard to defend the obvious from an absurd and deceptive attack. For half a century you had to be a crank to oppose what Roosevelt accomplished; liberals got out of the habit of arguing for their beliefs. I hope this page will help. Liberals don’t need to apologize for their vision of how American society should work. Liberalism saved American capitalism and democracy, defeated Naziism, created a prosperous middle class, and benefited every sector of society, from the back streets to Wall Street. " Mefi's own Zompist (previously) on Why Liberalism Works.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 30, 2012 - 109 comments

The Only Winning Move is to Watch This

Most of us reading on the blue lived through at least a portion of it. Forty-plus years of tension between the world's two superpowers and their allies. That's right: The Cold War. Then, they made a documentary. Aired on CNN in 1998, and never released on DVD, the 24 episode, 20 hour series features tons of archival footage, along with many interviews with individuals directly involved at some of the highest levels. You might not be able to see it on DVD, but you can watch the full series on Youtube, starting with Part 1: Comrades (1917-1945).
posted by symbioid on Mar 27, 2012 - 78 comments

The 108 year-old mystery of 3,000 missing Steiff bears

It started with a little girl who had polio, who later became a seamstress and made clothing and little things, like little pin cushion elephants. They were popular, not as sewing accessories, but as children's toys. The elephants would be joined by a menagerie of stuffed animals, including tigers and pigs. Some animals were set on iron wheels, including bears. But it wasn't until US political cartoon featuring President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a small black bear in November 1902 that "teddy" bears became popular, first in 1902 in the United States, made and sold by Jewish Russian immigrants, Rose and Morris Michtom (who would ride the success of Teddy's Bear to form the Ideal Toy Company). Back in Germany, Margarete Steiff's array of toy animals expanded to include a jointed, plush bear, 55 cm tall: 55 PB (German Wikipedia page). Margarete's nephew, who came up with the design, took some samples to a German toy fair in the Spring of 1903, where there was no interest in the bears until a representative from a New York toy company saw the mobile bears and ordered 3,000. A new factory had to be built, and bears were made, most likely shipped across the ocean, but their fate is a mystery.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 28, 2011 - 25 comments

Famous Caves

Feeling like you need something to balance the scent of sandalwood and musk after reading this list of famous man caves (including Jefferson's study, Douglass' office, Edison's library, and Roosevelt's trophy room)? If so, you may be interested in seeing the inner sanctums of some of history's most influential women. Check out Eleanor Roosevelt's living room (picture/info), Marie Curie's laboratory (picture/info), Margaret Mead's room in Samoa (picture/info), Maya Angelou's parlor (picture/info), Susan B. Anthony's study and bedroom (more pictures and info), Georgia O'Keefe's sitting room (picture, info), Helen Keller's childhood bedroom (picture, info), and Frida Kahlo's studio (picture 1, picture 2/info). [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 on Jul 28, 2010 - 23 comments

December 5, 1933: The Good Old Days are Back Again

He was elected at the nadir of the worst depression in history; 25% of the workforce was unemployed, two million were homeless. Yet in the face of this, he made us an optimistic and far-reaching New Deal, creating among other programs a federal minimum wage, social security, and the FDIC. He pulled us out of dire financial straits and, when our country was called upon to fight in World War II, he brought us to the cusp of victory. In his unprecedented thirteen years in office, he cemented his undisputed legacy as one of the greatest presidents in American history. But before he could achieve any of this, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a promise to keep — a promise to the "wet vote," whose indispensable support he had called upon in 1932 during his first presidential campaign when he promised to repeal the 18th Amendment and end Prohibition. And thus, as legend has it, immediately after his first fireside chat from the White House in March 1933, Roosevelt turned to his two top aides and said, "I think it's time for a beer." And yes, indeed, it was. [more inside]
posted by churl on Dec 5, 2009 - 32 comments

"Our greatest primary task is to put people to work."

Bridge to Somewhere: Lessons from the New Deal, an American RadioWorks documentary, chronicles Roosevelt's recovery-through-work programs (the CCC, the WPA, and the PWA) and their lasting impact on America's infrastructure. Rich with oral histories and actualities.
posted by Miko on Sep 8, 2009 - 18 comments

The (illustrated) doctrine of the strenuous life

Motivational posters inspired by Theodore Roosevelt.
posted by jbickers on May 18, 2009 - 58 comments

Nothing To Do With Wonder Woman

"Percy Harrison Fawcett ... convinced himself, based on a mix of archival research, deduction and clairvoyance, that a large undiscovered city lay hidden somewhere in the Amazon" Greg Grandin of The Nation talks about the allure of the Amazon in history and the repeated attempts made to domesticate, colonize, control, or explore it. previous discussion of failed Amazon ventures here ( via )
posted by The Whelk on Mar 31, 2009 - 21 comments

Universal Newsreels

More than 600 Universal Newsreels at Internet Archive, both whole and partial reels (the same collection, with a few more newsreels is also on YouTube but it's in lower quality). Newsreels were short collections of current events that ran before feature films. They ran from the start of the film era up into the 1960s. This collection goes from the early 30s through the mid 60s. Here are a few interesting ones: Eleanor Roosevelt tells a joke, 1935 car industry workers strike, Australian who was orphaned in China and raised by Chinese parents returns to Australia, FDR inaugurated, Enos the chimpanzee goes into space and returns to Earth, Vietnam War protest marches in New York, San Francisco and Rome, Busby Babes plane crash, Gagarin hugged by Kruschev, Truman brings the funny, Seattle be-in and Nuremberg trials.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 20, 2009 - 19 comments

A few words from a beloved U.S. President on the banking crisis

On the Oct. 7th Daily Show, Sarah Vowell mentioned that she is so desperate for Presidential leadership that she listened to FDR's Fireside Chats (from the Great Depression of the 1930s) and felt a little better. Beginning March 4th, 1933, and running through March 1st, 1945 FDR's fireside chats were a staple in American Homes. The news of the day, brought to you directly from the commander in chief himself. These are those broadcasts. (#2 is his first, on the banking crisis.)
posted by spock on Oct 9, 2008 - 57 comments

Caricatures from the late 19th Century and early 20th

900 caricatures of noted Victorian and Edwardian personages from British society magazine Vanity Fair which ran from 1868 to 1914. Among those pictured are Oscar Wilde, Benjamin Disraeli, Herman Melville, Alfred Dreyfus, Teddy Roosevelt, Gustave Eiffel and Charles Boycott (from whose name comes the word). A couple are mildly not safe for work, a few quite racist, as was the prevalent attitude of the time, and at least one is both.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 21, 2008 - 30 comments

1971 BE (Before Elmo)

The Year of Roosevelt Franklin. High on the list of forgotten Sesame Street characters is one Roosevelt Franklin, a reddish purple muppet with pointed black hair and a distinctly hep style of speech (provided by the late Matt Robinson, the show's original Gordon). Despite Roosevelt's funky musical sensibilities (demonstrated in an album called My Name is Roosevelt Franklin, later released as The Year of Roosevelt Franklin), the character's classroom behavior was, well, quite frankly, poison. His constant misbehavior in school might have been fun to watch, but was seen as representing a negative stereotype and a bad example, and so it was adieu Franklin.
posted by Astro Zombie on Jan 30, 2007 - 23 comments

Childrens Letters During the Great Depression

During the Great Depression, thousands of young people wrote to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for help. They asked for clothing, money, and other forms of assistance.
posted by jonson on Oct 4, 2006 - 20 comments

Teenage Hoboes in the Great Depression.

Teenage Hoboes in the Great Depression. During the Great Depression over 250,000 young people left home and began riding freight trains or hitchhiking across America. Most of them were between 16 and 25 years of age. Many finally found work and shelter through the Civilian Conservation Corps, a government relief project that Franklin D. Roosevelt established in 1933 as part of the New Deal. From 1933 to 1942, CCC enrollees built new roads, strung telephone wires, erected fire towers, and planted approximately 3 billion trees. By 1935, the program was providing employment for more than 500,000 young men.
posted by matteo on Jul 7, 2006 - 25 comments

1912

The presidential campaign of 1912. Historian James Chace talks about the campaign, its spirit of progressive reform, and how the Taft-Roosevelt schism led to the GOP turning right.
posted by homunculus on Jul 26, 2004 - 11 comments

Castro asked US president for $10

"If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green american, in the letter, because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green American and I would like to have one of them"
Your friend, Fidel Castro
[via Mahalanobis]
posted by MzB on Jun 24, 2004 - 17 comments

Happy Thanksgiving or Is It?

Happy Thanksgiving or Is It? In 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt responed to pressure from the National Retail Dry Goods Association to move the official date of Thanksgiving back one week to the next-to-last Thursday of the month. FDR hoped that this would enliven the economy by adding one week to the Christmas shopping season, but he received considerable political flak for tampering with what many viewed as a sacred religious holiday. (Thanksgiving is considered sacred even though it only became a national holiday due to lobbying by the editor of a 19th century woman's magazine.) New Deal-era Republicans were especially bothered by the calendar change and one essayist at the American Enterprise Institute still seems to carry a grudge. Congress later resolved the issue by passing a resolution in 1941 that designated Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of November.
posted by jonp72 on Nov 26, 2002 - 11 comments

So I'm watching Dog eat Dog tonight

So I'm watching Dog eat Dog tonight Mostly for the incredibly tasty Brooke Burns. And for the contestant to win, one of the losers had to miss the question "Which 32'd president said 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself?'". Now the guy said he was guessing and answered "Roosevelt", but he didn't clarify, Teddy? or FDR? They said he got it right so the contestant lost. Personally I think a retraction or apology is due.
posted by bitdamaged on Jul 29, 2002 - 20 comments

By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA.

By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA. From the website at the Library of Congress, the posters consist of 908 boldly colored and graphically diverse original posters produced from 1936 to 1943 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Of the 2,000 WPA posters known to exist, the Library of Congress's collection of more than 900 is the largest. These striking silkscreen, lithograph, and woodcut posters were designed to publicize health and safety programs; cultural programs including art exhibitions, theatrical, and musical performances; travel and tourism; educational programs; and community activities in seventeen states and the District of Columbia. For examples, see a poster on the health dangers of Syphilis and one for the play Alison's House: A Poetic Romance.
posted by moz on Dec 31, 2001 - 4 comments

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