Berlin, May 1915. Three feminists on an historical mission — Jane Addams and New York native Alice Hamilton from the United States, and Aletta Jacobs from the Netherlands — meet Wilbur H. Durborough. The American photographer and filmmaker had traveled to Berlin with his cameraman, Irving G. Ries, to shoot footage for his war documentary On the Firing Line with the Germans (1915). [Read more…] about Jane Addams, Alice Hamilton & The Hague Women’s Congress
New Book About Politics, Gambling and Horse Racing History
Chicago in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was second only to New York as a center of both thoroughbred racing and off-track gambling. Its complicated history is one of political influence and class; the business of racing; the cultural and social significance of racing; and the impact widespread opposition to gambling in Illinois had on the sport.
A new book considers these topics and looks at the nexus between horse racing, politics, and syndicate crime, as well as the emergence of neighborhood bookmaking, and the role of the national racing wire in Chicago. [Read more…] about New Book About Politics, Gambling and Horse Racing History
Architect Adolf Loos and the American Legacy in Vienna
A chronology of cultural interactions between Europe and the United States tends to be a narrative about identity formation. It concerns the transfer of the American artist from a pilgrim to the shrines of European achievement to an active participant in redefining the boundaries of art and literature.
European modernism was the spontaneous expression of gifted but rebellious youngsters. It was rooted in urban settings and the post-war influx of young American writers fleeing the puritanical spirit at home added energy to the avant-garde. The presence of African-American performers and musicians boosted the raucous mood amongst the cosmopolitan mix of artists in Paris and Berlin.
Modernism had started with joyful artistic irreverence, it suffered in the trenches and, under the repression of the 1930s, was forced to seek asylum in New York. As war in Europe became inevitable, most cultural exiles returned to America, bringing with them a bounty of experience to fructify the cultural landscape at home (the term “lost generation” is a misnomer).
Such an account however obscures the fact that young and curious visitors to the United States – unlike their elders who resented the prospect of “Americanization” – returned home inspired by what they had experienced whilst questioning Europe’s haughty pretension of cultural superiority. [Read more…] about Architect Adolf Loos and the American Legacy in Vienna
Florenz Ziegfeld: The Incarnation of Broadway
Impresario Florenz (Flo) Ziegfeld Jr. was an American icon who developed the modern Broadway revue and established its global leadership in entertainment. He invented show business.
Florenz hit his stride with the Follies of 1907. A combination of European refinement, the signing of high quality performers (chorus girls), choreographers and lyricists, a relatively short show of forty minutes presented with lightning speed and precision, created an unprecedented sense of theatrical excitement. [Read more…] about Florenz Ziegfeld: The Incarnation of Broadway
Crimes Against Butter: The Oleomargarine Controversy
The butter trade was once so important to dairy farmers in Orange County, NY that the bank in Goshen, the county seat, printed its currency on yellow paper. Popularly known as “butter money,” this currency symbolized how significant the trade in butter was to dairy farmers in dairy regions across the state prior to the introduction of refrigerated railroad cars to ship raw milk, first using blocks of ice and then mechanical cooling.
The original shipment of milk from Orange County to New York City is believed to have taken place in the spring of 1842 via the New York & Erie Railroad. Prior to this raw milk could be transported only short distances by farm wagon.
Butter, however, could be transported to markets many miles from the farm or factory where it was produced. As symbolized by “butter money,” blocks of butter were once as good as gold. [Read more…] about Crimes Against Butter: The Oleomargarine Controversy
George Deem, Bulldozers and Stalinist Suppression
Manhattan artist George Deem is remembered for referencing the history of painting by re-imagining Old Masters in a contemporary context. He re-configured iconic pictorial images through visual ploys such as repetition and erasure, or through the addition of components of contemporary life and art. [Read more…] about George Deem, Bulldozers and Stalinist Suppression
Sol Bloom: A Manhattan Leader In American WWII Foreign Policy
Sol Bloom (March 9, 1870 – March 7, 1949) was a song-writer and Congressman from New York who began his career as a sheet music publisher in Chicago. He served fourteen terms in the House of Representatives from the West Side of Manhattan, from 1923 until his death in 1949.
Bloom was the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee from 1939 to 1947 and again in 1949, an important period in the history of American foreign policy. [Read more…] about Sol Bloom: A Manhattan Leader In American WWII Foreign Policy