Recovering from Wounds, 1950

25 January 2015
Photo Credit: U.S. Army

Photo Credit: U.S. Army

Sfc. Louis F. Walz (left), a member of Co. E, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and Pfc. Raymond M. Szukla, a member of Co. G, 5th Regimental Combat Team, 24th Infantry Division, receive medical aid at the 8063rd Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, attached to I Corps in Korea on November 4, 1950. Sfc. Walz is recovering from a head wound, and Pfc. Szukla suffered a wound in the right leg while engaged in action against the Communist-led North Korean forces.

Eating Ice Cream at Fort Bragg, 1942

24 January 2015

Sergeant Williams eating ice cream with a friend in the service club at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in March 1942.

Distributing Hand Bills for Suffrage Parade, 1913

23 January 2015
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Suffragists distributing hand bills in January 1913 that advertise the suffrage parade that would take place on March 3, 1913.

Rigging a Pulley System, 1969

22 January 2015

Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment rig a pulley system to ferry their packs and gear across a stream on April 23, 1969.

Last Words: Henry Ford

21 January 2015

[Zim’s Note: This is a new series on the last words of famous historic figures. They will range from funny to profound to even odd or random. Some focus on their faith while others are about other people or even their thoughts of death.]

henry ford

WWI Y.M.C.A. Eagle Hut

20 January 2015

Photograph shows the interior of the Y.M.C.A. Eagle Hut in London, England.

When the United States entered the First World War, U.S. Commander-in-Chief General John Pershing signed General Order #26-II-1 which established servicemen’s centers in Europe. The General Order, published on August 28, 1917, stated that the Y.M.C.A. would “provide for the amusement and recreation of the troops by means of its usual programme of social, physical, educational, and religious services.” The Eagle Hut in London opened on September 3, 1917 and was staffed by around 800 volunteers.

Review: The Battle of the Bulge

19 January 2015

The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944-1945
Minneapolis, MN: Zenith Press
104 pp. $19.99/Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-7603-4622-8

botbTo some, history is a mundane, stagnant discipline. While we know that to be false, there are still those who think that history is just about dates and names. If you are like me, you still have those important – but probably dusty – history tomes on your shelves which dryly contain facts and figures along with names and dates. They hold vital information but, at the same time, reiterate the long held notion of history as dry and boring. Wayne Vansant’s The Battle of the Bulge symbolizes what history really is – a multifaceted subject that continues to share stories in new and exciting ways.

Graphic novels are very popular. As a librarian, I have seen firsthand how in-demand they are as well as the extensive subject matters covered. Graphic novels have pushed away from only dealing with superheros and comic book characters and into serious topics. For example, graphic novels have discussed such as social issues like race and class in the justice system, bullying, and politics. There is even a graphic novel biography on noted physicist Richard Feynman. Additionally, there is a wide assortment of graphic novels covering a large number of history topics. Vansant, specifically, has penned a handful of other graphic novels on the various American wars.

The Battle of the Bulge

The Battle of the Bulge is a visual thrill. With impressive illustrations that captures the struggle over the Hurtgen Forest, the horrifying Malmedy Massacre, and the desperation brought on by wintry conditions, brutal fighting, and low supplies, the book tackles the Battle of the Bulge in an riveting format. The graphics were well done and convey the differing emotions by all involved. The battle scenes were also compelling. Vansant does not shy away from depicting blood but does so tastefully – as tastefully as bloodshed can be – in the form of red dot clusters.

One thing in particular I really enjoyed was the interesting related notes throughout the story. For example, after discussing the struggle to capture the Hurtgen Forest, Vansant mentioned that many of those troops were able to take R&R south of the fighting line. It was in those little towns that J.D. Salinger worked on his famous book, The Catcher in the Rye. Besides these tidbits, I also came across certain events I had not heard of before, such as the Wereth 11 Massacre. After reading The Battle of the Bulge, I have taken away new information about this brutal battle. This, in my opinion and taking the entire piece into consideration, is a successful historic graphic novel.

Book Structure & Content

The book is a shorter book (as many graphic novels are), it comes in a little over a hundred pages. The Battle of the Bulge is separated by chapters, which easily transports the reader to all the different parts and key players of the battle. The chapters are the following, Watch on the Rhine, Opening Moves, Breakthrough, Battle Group Peiper, The Race for Bastogne, The Fog of War, The Fight for St. Vith, Siege Bastogne, Points of Resistance, High-Water Mark, and Death Rattle.

Additionally, there are a few appendices at the end of the book that offer the readers more insight. One list the various Allied and Axis divisions discussed throughout the graphic novel. This is especially helpful as there were many different divisions involved in the Battle of the Bulge. I really enjoyed looking over the appendices about the various U.S. and German tanks. Knowing very little about tanks, this addition is a nice inclusion. Besides just illustrating the variety of tanks, Vansant also notes how many crew members a particular tank holds, its weight, and the main gun used by the tank. At the very end, the author also includes selected books for further reading on the overall topic.

Overall Impression

The Battle of the Bulge: The Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944-1945 is an imaginative and engaging graphic novel that recounts this historic event in an exciting way. I would recommend this book to just about anyone. It is a good way to interest youth or non-history readers into trying something new. Additionally, history and World War II buffs would also find it engrossing and insightful.

Where to find The Battle of the Bulge: The Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944-1945

Quarto Publishing Group
Barnes & Noble

Outer Confederate Line, 1864

18 January 2015
Photo Credit: U.S. Army

Photo Credit: U.S. Army

Photograph of the outer line of Confederate fortifications, in front of Petersburg, Va., captured by 18th Army Corps on June 15, 1864.

Edwin Hubble at Work, 1937

17 January 2015

Astronomer Edwin Hubble peers though the eyepiece of the 100-inch Hooker telescope at California’s Mt. Wilson Observatory. Originally published in the November 8, 1937, issue of LIFE.

Helping on the Farm, 1942

16 January 2015
Photo Credit: National Archives

Photo Credit: National Archives

Miss Mildred Saums of Three Bridges, New Jersey helps her brother catch up with his spring work by running the John Deere tractor for him after her work as chief clerk in the Flemington Auction Market Cooperative Association in May 1942.

Idaho State Seal

15 January 2015

Seal_of_Idaho.svgIdaho has the only state seal in the United States created by a woman. Emma Edwards Green was a well educated woman and had spent time at an art school in New York. When she came to Boise, she began holding painting classes for the community. Not long after, Idaho was in search of a new state seal. Emma was invited to submit a design – the winner would receive one hundred dollars. Her design was chosen on March 5, 1891.

Emma Edwards Green wrote the following description of her design:


Emma Edwards Green. Photo Credit: Idaho State Website

Before designing the seal, I was careful to make a thorough study of the resources and future possibilities of the State. I invited the advice and counsel of every member of the Legislature and other citizens qualified to help in creating a Seal of State that really represented Idaho at that time. Idaho had been admitted into the Union on July 3rd, 1890. The first state Legislature met in Boise on December 8, 1890, and on March 14th, 1891, adopted my design for the Great Seal of the State of Idaho.

The question of Woman Suffrage was being agitated somewhat, and as leading men and politicians agreed that Idaho would eventually give women the right to vote, and as mining was the chief industry, and the mining man the largest financial factor of the state at that time, I made the figure of the man the most prominent in the design, while that of the woman, signifying justice, as noted by the scales; liberty, as denoted by the liberty cap on the end of the spear, and equality with man as denoted by her position at his side, also signifies freedom. The pick and shovel held by the miner, and the ledge of rock beside which he stands, as well as the pieces of ore scattered about his feet, all indicate the chief occupation of the State. The stamp mill in the distance, which you can see by using a magnifying glass, is also typical of the mining interest of Idaho. The shield between the man and woman is emblematic of the protection they unite in giving the state. The large fir or pine tree in the foreground in the shield refers to Idaho’s immense timber interests. The husbandman plowing on the left side of the shield, together with the sheaf of grain beneath the shield, are emblematic of Idaho’s agricultural resources, while the cornucopias, or horns of plenty, refer to the horticultural. Idaho has a game law, which protects the elk and moose. The elk’s head, therefore, rises above the shield. The state flower, the wild Syringa or Mock Orange, grows at the woman’s feet, while the ripened wheat grows as high as her shoulder. The star signifies a new light in the galaxy of states. . . . The river depicted in the shield is our mighty Snake or Shoshone River, a stream of great majesty.

In regard to the coloring of the emblems used in the making of the Great Seal of the State of Idaho, my principal desire was to use such colors as would typify pure Americanism and the history of the State. As Idaho was a virgin state, I robed my goddess in white and made the liberty cap on the end of the spear the same color. In representing the miner, I gave him the garb of the period suggested by such mining authorities as former United States Senator George Shoup, of Idaho, former Governor Norman B. Willey if Idaho, former Governor James H. Hawley of Idaho, and other mining men and early residents of the state who knew intimately the usual garb of the miner. Almost unanimously they said, “Do not put the miner in a red shirt.” “Make the shirt a grayish brown,” said Captain J.J. Wells, chairman of the Seal Committee. The “Light of the Mountains” is typified by the rosy glow which precedes the sunrise.

Green, Emma Edwards. “Description of the Idaho State Seal.”

In Their Words: Helen Keller

14 January 2015

Helen Keller

Tourist in the Statue of Liberty’s Crown, 1947

13 January 2015

Tourists gaze from the crown of the Statue of Liberty, 1947. Now, for safety reason, only groups of no more than 12-15 people can be in the crown at a time.


12 January 2015
View from an airplane of biplanes flying in formation, ca. 1914-18. Photo Credit: U.S. Army Signal Corps/Library of Congress

View from an airplane of biplanes flying in formation, ca. 1914-18. Photo Credit: U.S. Army Signal Corps/Library of Congress

Definition: “Dogfight” is an aerial battle between enemy aircrafts at close range.

Origin: The word “dogfight” originated during World War I. Often times, pilots had to turn off the plane’s engine while in the air to keep it from stalling when doing sharp turns. When the pilot would restart the engine, it was said to have sounded like dogs barking.

Sophia Loren in a ‘Barrel of Fun’, 1958

9 January 2015

Sophia Loren samples the thrills at Coney Island in 1958. The caption that accompanied this image when it was published in LIFE: “A really scared Sophia tries to go through a barrel of fun.”

Next Page »