Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Adelina Hagerup Knits, and Knits, and… Knits?

Posted by Penny in Articles

Adelina Werligh Hagerup was a celebrated Danish actress, and a relative of the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (his aunt, and also his mother-in-law; it was a complicated family). The Edvard Grieg photos in the Bergen Public Library uploads to Flickr Commons are full of family photos, portraits of colleagues, musicians and singers. So there are several images of Adelina Hagerup. Here’s one portrait:

Portrait of Adelina Hagerup, knitting
Bergen Public Library

She’s clearly holding her knitting, which is not so unusual in portraits of the time. Here’s another portrait of Adelina Hagerup:

Portrait of Adelina Hagerup, holding knitting
Bergen Public Library

It’s more subtle this time, but she’s definitely holding a piece of knitting in progress; the trailing wool down her gown is the giveaway. Now here, Adelina Hagerup appears in a group photo, from an 1896 gathering of Grieg family and friends to celebrate the composer’s birthday:

Edvard Grieg birthday at Lofthus
Bergen Public Library

Do you see her? Click through for a closer look. She’s sitting next to Edvard, and her hands are visible next to the head of the woman in front. And her hands are in the telltale position of… a knitter. I don’t see the needles or the wool, and maybe that was just her resting hand position, from habit; but from the other photographs, we know that Adelina Hagerup wasn’t one to put down a row for the sake of a photo.

Happy International Women’s Day 2011!

Posted by Penny in Articles

March 8 is International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day was first observed in the 1910s, in various countries, and 1911 has been chosen as the recognized starting year — which means this year is the centenary of the first widespread observance. Flickr Commons happens to be especially rich for public events of the 1910s, so here’s a suffragette slideshow with images from across the Commons, just for the occasion:

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Brady’s Ladies

Posted by Penny in Articles

The US National Archives on Flickr Commons currently has sixty-three sets of photographs by Mathew Brady. Brady is usually remembered as a Civil War photographer—maybe the Civil War photographer—but one set of his images on Flickr, over 200 images, is almost all of portraits of women in the 1860s. Now, before you imagine grim-faced widows in bonnets, high collars, and prim hair, meet Mrs. Chapin:

Mathew Brady
Mrs. Chapin, ca. 1860-ca. 1865
US National Archives: 111-B-1638

Not so prim, hm? The set contains actresses and doctors (Mary Walker and Clemence Lozier), a senator’s wife or two, and a lot of women who, like Mrs. Chapin, are Mrs. Somebody, and that’s all we know about them. The photographs are excellent for details of jewelry and dress construction; one of the images was analyzed at length in Joan L. Severa’s Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900 (Kent State University Press 1995): 335.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Articles

Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers, Commons-style … with old traditions, some lost …

Thanksgiving Maskers scramble for pennies (LOC)

Thanksgiving Maskers scramble for pennies (LOC)

… and some still enjoyed today.



President Truman receiving a Thanksgiving turkey (U.S. Nat. Arch.)


Turkey presentation for Thanksgiving, 11/18/1969 (U.S. Nat. Arch.)

… except, perhaps, by turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!

Calypsonians in the Commons

Posted by Penny in Articles

The Library of Congress uploads from the Gottlieb Jazz Photos collection are great to look at — and to listen to, with a little assist from Amazon or YouTube. Here’s an example:

Portrait of Calypso, between 1938 and 1948

Portrait of Calypso, between 1938 and 1948

The “Portrait of Calypso” series is actually a portrait of calypso’s biggest names in the 1940s, all performing together in New York City. It appears to be from the event that Alan Lomax recorded at New York City Town Hall in 1946, which is available as Calypso at Midnight and Calypso after Midnight from Rounder Select. Those recordings also feature Gerald Clark and his Caribbean Serenaders (visible in the backgrounds of the calypso photos in the Gottlieb set), including the distinctive calypso clarinet of Gregory Felix.

Turning to YouTube for individual performances: Second from the left in the photo above is Patrick MacDonald, aka “MacBeth the Great”; here he is performing “Buy Me a Zeppelin.” In the middle, that’s “The Duke of Iron,” Cecil Anderson (1906-1968); he was noted for his crisp diction, as evident in this recording of “Man Smart, Woman Smarter.” Next to the Duke of Iron, in a cummerbund of looping braid, is Wilmoth Houdini (born Frederick Wilmoth Hendricks, 1896-1973); here’s a 1931 recording of him singing “Black but Sweet.” And on the far right, that’s “Lord Invader,” Rupert Westmore Grant (1915-1961); now hear him singing his best-known composition, “Rum and Coca-Cola.”

I haven’t worked out who the man on the far left is. But the event was well  documented, in audio and visuals, so his identity shouldn’t remain a mystery for long.

Happy Commonsversary to the Galt Museum & Archives!

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Articles

For a year now Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada’s Galt Museum & Archives has

opened up the great Canadian West …

One stage of construction on the High Level Bridge
seen the place of the local in the world …

First Train Load of World War One Troops from Lethbridge
celebrated the everyday life of the city …

Inside of the Piche & Miron Meat Market
remembered what came before …

Black Looking’s Teepee
and looked forward to what is to come.

McLinlock Tea Party

Thank you to the Galt for bringing Lethbridge to the world for the last year. We look forward to more to come, with or without caffeine!

When Maps Go Digital

Posted by Penny in Articles

I arrived at college in 1984 with my electric typewriter and a bit of BASIC learned in high school. I was a geography major, and learned to make maps in a cartography lab with vellum, ink, light tables, X-acto knives, and rub-on letters. I stopped using the electric typewriter within a year or two. Mapmaking was also changing rapidly. While making this gallery, I found a great pair of photos on the Commons to capture the moment of change:


Eunice ‘Biki’ Wilson, 1984

Geography Department, 1986

These photos were taken at the London School of Economics, two years apart. The photo on the left, taken in 1984, shows a cartographer in the Geography Department, Eunice Wilson, working on a map of Great Britain. She’s holding a pen, and two rotary phones are visible nearby. The photo on the right is taken in 1986, also in the Geography Department, but here the woman working on a map of France is using a handheld device (maybe a scanner), and a single-drive Macintosh computer is nearby. Another computer is behind her.

Are both women using the same model desk lamp? Maybe; some designs are classic.

WTC Rising, 1973

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Articles

On the anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center, a look back to near the end of construction, in Wil Blanche’s 1973 photographs.

Overlooking the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan, the Towers of the World Trade Center Soar Skyward to a Height of 1,350 Feet 05/1973

Overlooking the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan, the Towers of the World Trade Center Soar Skyward to a Height of 1,350 Feet 05/1973

Blanche photographed the WTC construction as part of the nationwide, multi-photographer Documerica project. See the rest of his WTC photographs in the U.S. National Archives collection in the Commons:

Senator Gore’s Hotel Room Scandal (1914 edition)

Posted by Penny in Articles

With its Bain Collection uploads to Flickr Commons, the Library of Congress continues to remind us that some news is perennial. Meet Bond, Minnie Bond:

Minnie Bond, from the Library of Congress

Portrait of young woman with a large plumed hat

Striking, beplumed Minnie E. Bond was in the news in early 1914, because she accused Thomas Pryor Gore, U.S. senator from Oklahoma, of attempted assault in a hotel room in Washington. She sued for $50,000, and the newspapers eagerly covered every aspect of the scandal.

Said Minnie, “When Senator Gore became unduly familiar, I told him I wasn’t the kind of woman he was seeking to associate with, and that if he had no respect for me he should have for his wife and children. Then he attacked me. In response to my screams, Mr. [James R.] Jacobs entered the room, accompaned by TE Roberts of Oklahoma and Kirby Fitzpatrick.” [New York Times, 13 February 1914] The apartment belonged to Jacobs, who happened to be a former Democratic National Committee member.

Gore’s version of events pointed to a set-up: Minnie’s husband, Julian, was hoping for a political appointment as a tax collector, and Gore assured him there was no chance of that happening. Minnie convinced Gore to stop by her hotel to discuss the matter further; then she led him up the elevator and into a room. Gore was blind, and had never been to this hotel before. He said that he did not realize Minnie Bond was taking him into a private apartment, nor did he realize that several political opponents were waiting nearby to catch him there. When Bond screamed, Gore understood that the situation looked bad.

Gore’s attorney, Moman Pruiett, claimed that Robertson had earlier asked for $25,000 in hush money. Pruiett also played up the senator’s blindness in his closing argument. Gore was exonerated by the jury after just ten minutes’ deliberation, and he stayed in the Senate until he was defeated at the polls in 1920. (He later served another six-year term, 1930-1936.)

And what became of Minnie Bond? Does anyone out there know the rest of her story?

Remembering Kodachrome

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Articles

David Bransby
Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif. Shown checking electrical assemblies, June 1942
Library of Congress: LC-USW36-273

As the last roll of Kodachrome is processed by Dwayne’s in Kansas, we bring you the glories of Kodachrome in the Commons.

Because history was also recorded in glorious colour …