On November 18, 1928, Universal’s Colony Theatre at 1681 Broadway (near 53rd Street in Manhattan) showed a short animated film in which a mischievous rogue named Mickey Mouse takes Captain Pete’s steamboat on a joyride to impress Minnie – Steamboat Willie made cinema history and transformed Walt Disney’s fortunes. [Read more…] about Mickey Mouse: A Tale of Migration
As millions of Irish immigrants and their descendants created community in the United States over the centuries, they neither remained Irish nor simply became American. Instead, they created a culture and defined an identity that was unique to their circumstances, a new people that they would continually reinvent: Irish Americans. [Read more…] about Becoming Irish American: Making and Remaking a People
In June of 1893, young and old alike came out in droves to see a strange-looking craft as it made its way westward along the Erie Canal. What had brought them out on those summer days was a replica of a Viking ship that had recently crossed the Atlantic on an epic journey whose story had begun one thousand years before.
Sometime around the year 900 a Norse ruler died and was buried in a king mound that over the hundreds of years that followed became known as Gokstadhaugen outside of Sandefjord, Norway. Though the name of the king was lost over the ages, legends concerning the site were passed down from generation to generation. [Read more…] about When Vikings Traveled The Hudson River & Erie Canal
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Diane Hunter and John Bickers join us to investigate the history and culture of one of the Myaamia (Miami) people, one of the at least 1,000 Algonquian speaking Indigenous tribes and nations living in different areas of North America before the Spanish and other European empires arrived on the continent’s shores. [Read more…] about Some History of the Myaamia People
Daniel Folger Bigelow, the nationally known landscape painter, was born on a farm in Peru, Clinton County, NY, on July 20 1823. As a child, Daniel stood on a chair and studied a wall painting. Between farm chores, he would sit on a fence and look across Lake Champlain, watching the magnificent change of colors on Mount Mansfield.
His pencil sketches pleased his parents, but they did not take his talent seriously, believing it was an impractical way to make a living. [Read more…] about Northern New York Landscape Artist Daniel Folger Bigelow
On the latest episode of Crossroads of Rockland History, the new documentary, “The Murals,” which delves into the art of Henry Varnum Poor, formerly of New City, NY. The film features his New Deal era post office murals in Chicago. Filmmaker TG Jamroz spoke about how and why these murals were made by Poor; why they feature writer Carl Sandburg and architect Louis Sullivan; and how they inspire people today. [Read more…] about Post Office Murals of Henry Varnum Poor
In 1955, my father traveled from New York City to Mississippi, where he was born and where his own father had been a newspaper publisher, to cover the trial of the two white men who had been indicted for the lynching of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy visiting from Chicago. [Read more…] about 1955: A New Yorker Covers The Emmett Till Murder Trial
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
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
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