Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Roller Skates

Today we feature a picture of a Roller Skater, circa 1905. Interesting that the skates are inline . . . this guy was clearly ahead of his time!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Calvin Coolidge Inaugural Parade

This picture shows the Calvin Coolidge inaugural parade, taken in 1925. It is amazing how much things have changed. You could never imagine a President traveling down a crowded street in an open car any more.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Crash

On this day, October 29, in the year 1929 the stock market crashed, and ushered in the Great Depression. This Dorothea Lange photograph captures the human cost of this tragedy. The crash followed the roaring 20's, a time of exuberant excess in the United States. Shortly before the crash several pundits predicted a new era of prosperity, in which the market could continue to appreciate indefinitely.

I some times wonder if such a tragedy could happen again. What do you think? Could we ever see this magnitude of poverty in the United States again?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Artillery Car

This picture dates back to the Civil War. It shows a small railroad car, transporting a mortar.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cowboys Branding Calves

This is a picture from 1888 showing cowboys branding a calf at a roundup.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Preparing for Balaclava

Today we show a most unusual photograph of a cavalry soldier preparing for the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. The Crimean war is perhaps most remembered for the famous cavalry battle at Balaclava known as The Charge of the Light Brigade. The Charge of the Light Brigade was a disastrous cavalry charge. This tragic charge was immortalized by the Lord Tennyson Poem, "Charge of the Light Brigade". During the charge, some 600 cavalrymen were sent on a bold charge against 20 battalions of entrenched Russian infantry. Only about 200 returned unharmed after the charge. This disastrous battle was a result of military tactics not keeping pace with advances in military hardware. It was a prelude to the carnage that would occur in the US Civil War in the following decade.
The Charge of the Light Brigade occurred on this day in the year 1854.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Race Car Driver

This is a picture of a Race Car Driver from the 1910's. The racer is Bob Burman, one of the early pioneers in auto racing. He raced in the first five Indianapolis 500 races. Bob was killed in an auto race accident in 1916. He was driving an open cockpit car, similar to the one pictured here. His death led to the adoption of roll cages in race cars.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sir T. Lipton

Yes there really was a Sir Lipton, and yes he really did develop Lipton Tea. I was fascinated to find this picture of him, taken around 1910. Quiet the dapper gentleman, don't you think?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Overland Trail

Today we have a picture of a team of horses pulling a wagon on the Overland Trail in Alaska. The photograph was taken in 1900. This is a great shot of a large team of working horses.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Texas Farmer

Today we feature a photograph of a Texas farmer. The picture was taken in 1939 in Weatherford, Texas. The picture was taken near the end of the Great Depression, which was a very tough time for everyone, especially farmers.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

MacArthur Returns

General Douglas MacArthur was the commander of the United States military operations in the Philippines. In 1941 and 1942 his headquarters were located on an Philippine island fortress of Corregidor. The Japanese were keenly interested in capturing or killing this key US commander. His location was known, and was the subject of intense Japanese bombing. President Roosevelt, concerned for MacArthur's security, ordered him to relocate to the safety of Australia. MacArthur obeyed, and issued his infamous quote, "I shall return".
He did return. On this date, October 20th, in the year 1944, MacArthur returned to the Philippines. The photograph above shows him as he lands on the beach of the Philippine Island of Leyte.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Soap Box Derby

Today's picture shows children playing in a Soap Box Derby car which they have built. The picture was taken in a New York City playground. Date of the picture is not recorded, but it was probably in the 1920's or early 1930's.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Native American Woman

This is a photograph of a Native American Woman. The photograph was taken in 1924 by Edward Curtis. The woman is not identified by name, but it is indicated that she is part of the Desert Cahuilla tribe.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Albert Einstein

Normally when we think of emigrants, we think of weary souls unloading at Ellis Island, or we think of desperate people making a run across the Texas/Mexico border. Sometimes we forget some of the other emigrants.

So, today we show a picture of Albert Einstein, who emigrated to this country on this day, October 17, in the year 1933. He moved to escape the horror of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mata Hari

Today we feature a photograph of the original Femme Fatale . . . Mata Hari. Mata Hari was a famed entertainer and exotic dancer of the early 1900's. She was an international celebrity, and was rumored to have had liaisons with many powerful men across Europe. In 1917 she was accused of being a German spy by the French. She was convicted, and was executed by firing squad on this day, October 15, in the year 1917. Rumor has it that she blew a kiss to the men of the firing squad prior to her execution.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The General

Today we feature a nice portrait of General Robert E. Lee. This time around I don't want to focus on his military legacy, but on his legacy as a Father. There is an interesting story of Lee as a young man. The story occurs long prior to the unpleasantness of 1861. Early one winter morning Robert E. Lee went out for a walk, as was his custom. A light snow had fallen the night before and had left a blanket of snow covering his path. As he walked along the path, he could hear the faint sound of small footsteps behind him. He turned around to find out what it was, and he saw his small child, Custis, following behind him. Custis was imitating his every step, and struggling to ensure that with each step his foot landed in a footprint of his father. "When I saw this," Lee told one of his friends long afterwards, "I said to myself, ’it behooves me to walk very straight when this fellow is already following in my tracks.’ "
Robert E. Lee died on this day, October 12, in the year 1870.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Photography Wagon

Thanks to Mathew Brady and his team of photographers, there is an excellent photographic record of the Civil War. It is interesting to note, however, that the American Civil War was not the first war to be photographed. The first war to be photographed was the Crimean war in the 1850's. The photographs were typically portraits in camp, and did not show the graphic battle scenes found in the Mathew Brady collection. The photograph above was taken in 1855, and shows one of the Crimean War photographers with his photography wagon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Women Auto Mechanics

This picture is from 1927, and shows girls learning car repair. The picture was taken at Central High School in Washington DC.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Today's picture shows a prospector panning for gold. The man can be seen next to his dog. The picture was taken in 1916.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sutlers Tent near Petersburg

Today we show a picture of a Sutler's Tent during the Civil War. The picture was taken during the siege of Petersburg in 1865. During the war, these Sutlers would follow the troops, and set up shop, selling the soldiers needful things like tobacco, paper, sweets, and so forth, at outrageous prices, of course.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mail Truck

This photograph shows one of the earliest examples of a motorized mail truck. There is no date on the photograph, but it looks to be from the early 1910's.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


This picture was taken in 1910, and shows Native American Tipis by the water's edge. A small group can be seen sitting in front of the dwellings. This is a Piegan Indian camp.