Koreshan Unity at Estero, Florida

21 April 2014
Photo Credit: Florida Memory

Hattie L. Englert, a Koreshan, posing at the beach on Estero Island, Florida around 1910. Photo Credit: Florida Memory

The Koreshan Unity was a religious utopian community founded by Cyrus Teed in the 1870s. It first started in New York before Teed moved the headquarters to Chicago and then tried his hand at expanding to San Francisco as well as other smaller cities.

Koreshan Unity button.

Koreshan Unity button. Photo Credit: Florida Memory

Eventually, Teed and over 250 Koreshan followers moved to Estero, Florida where they established and incorporated a 320-acre tract they called “New Jerusalem” in 1894. They lived by the theory of cellular cosmogony, according to the Koreshan State Historic Site, “the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere.” Koreshans also believed in a biune God (one that was both male and female), reincarnation and gender equality. Often they mixed religion and science which garnered than a bit of attention – even from Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

Teed’s death in late 1908 just about crippled the community. Membership sharply decreased, however, loyal followers and members kept it afloat through the early 1960s. Their land was then given to the state of Florida to be preserved. In 1982, Hedwig Michel (known as “The Last Koreshan”) died. He was the last official person admitted to Koreshan membership and the last to live on the “New Jerusalem” site.

Unidentified Koreshan Unity members with toys.

Unidentified Koreshan Unity members with toys in the late 1800s. Photo Credit: Florida Memory

White House Easter Egg Roll

20 April 2014
The prize basket at the Easter egg rolling at the White House, April 2, 1923.

The prize basket at the Easter egg rolling at the White House, April 2, 1923. Photo Credit: Library of Congress

The White House Egg Roll has been a Easter tradition since the 1870s. According to The White House: “[It] is one of the oldest and most unique traditions in presidential history.” Some historians have attributed Dolley Madison with suggesting the idea of an egg roll. Reportedly, the first egg rolls occurred earlier during President Andrew Johnson’s administration (in office from 1865 to 1869), although that was thought to have involved mainly family members. Years later, a small group of egg rollers were seen on the grounds while President Ulysses S. Grant was president (1869–1877).

In 1958 Bunny, Hazel, Fred (Skippy), and Darlene Johansen attend the Eisenhowers' White House Easter Egg Roll.

In 1958 Bunny, Hazel, Fred (Skippy), and Darlene Johansen attend the Eisenhowers’ White House Easter Egg Roll. Photo Credit: National Archives

The difference between the egg rolls then and now is not just the increase in participation but in its location. It originally took place on the west grounds of the U.S. Captiol not at The White House. In 1876, Congress passed the Turf Protection Law in part because of the damage the egg rolls had on the grounds. The law stated that it became the “duty of the Capitol police hereafter to prevent any portion of the Capitol grounds and terraces from being used as playgrounds or otherwise.” It was signed into law by President Grant. When children and their parents came to roll eggs in 1878, they were swiftly kicked off by Capitol Hill police.

The exact details of how the festivities ended up at the White House are not known. However, President Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) was the first President to officially allow the egg roll to take place on White House grounds. Stories have been told of informal egg rolling gatherings at the White House during President Lincoln’s presidency. From then on, with only a few interruptions, the Easter egg roll took place on the South Lawn of the White House. The interruptions occurred during World War I when the egg roll was canceled (from 1917-1920) because of the national campaign to end food waste. Additionally, President Truman (1945-1953) canceled it during his administration due to post-World War II issues. President Eisenhower revived the tradition when he took office in 1953. It has been an annual event ever since.

Some fun facts about the White House Easter egg roll from the National Archives:

  • Lou Hoover dyed a large number of eggs herself to give to the children.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, in 1933, organized games to be included with the egg roll. She also greeted the public by radio so that people around the country to listen in on the event.
  • Pat Nixon and her staff introduced the White House Easter Bunny in 1969. Additionally, she initiated certifications of participation. Betty Ford and Rosalynn Carter followed suit with the latter including a printed note from herself folded inside ten thousand plastic eggs in 1980.
  • An organized egg-rolling races were introduced in 1874.
  • The Carters included a three-ring circus and petting zoo into the event.
  • Nancy Reagan was at the helm of the 1981 festivities and, as a girl, she attended President Coolidge’s egg roll.
  • In 1998, the Clintons opened the fun up to children around the world by broadcasting it over the Internet.

An Egg-centric White House Tradition,” National Archives, April 25, 2011.
History of the Easter Egg Roll,” Bush Administration White House website.
The White House Easter Egg Roll,” The White House Historical Association.
C. L. Arbelbide, “With Easter Monday You Get Egg Roll at the White House,” Prologue Magazine 32, No. 1 (Spring 2000).

In Their Words: Gabriel García Márquez

18 April 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez quote

Easter Eggs for Hitler, 1945

17 April 2014

Technical Sergeant William E. Thomas and Private First Class Joesph Jackson prepared a special ‘gift’ on March 10, 1945 – Easter morning. With the words “EASTER EGGS FOR HITLER” and “HAPPY EASTER ADOLPH” scrawled on artillery shells, these two U.S. Army soldiers know just where they want these shells to land – on Hitler’s lawn.

Cotton Candy, a Dentist & the 1904 World’s Fair

16 April 2014
Children at cotton candy booth, possibly at Westview Park, 1945.

Children at cotton candy booth, possibly at Westview Park, 1945. [Zim's Note: My face is the exactly the same as the middle boy when I see cotton candy.] Photo Credit: Charles “Teenie” Harris/Heinz Family Fund/Carnegie Museum of Art

A cotton candy vendor waits for customers at the 1991 Chicago Air and Water Show, December 26, 1991.

A cotton candy vendor waits for customers at the 1991 Chicago Air and Water Show, December 26, 1991. Photo Credit: National Archives

The cotton candy machine was invented by William James Morrison and John C. Warton in 1897. Warton was a Nashville candy-maker and Morrison was, ironically, a dentist. While cotton candy was said to have been around for centuries, Morrison and Warton are credited with inventing the first cotton candy machine.

Their cotton candy machine melted the sugar, spun it into slim threats and pressed it through a wire screen. In their U.S. Patent application, filed on December 23, 1897, the gentlemen said: “The object of our invention is to obtain an edible product consisting of the said filaments of melted and ‘spun’ sugar or candy.” It was accepted on January 31, 1899 and is U.S. Patent #618,428.

The machine was introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. However, Morrison did not call it “Cotton Candy” but rather “Fairy Floss.” It was very successful at the fair. They sold the cotton candy in colorful wood boxes for 25¢ per box (about $6 by today’s standards). They sold 68,655 boxes for a total of $17,163.75 in sales during the 184 days the fair took place. It also took the prize of “Novelty of Invention.”

Dr. Morrison later became the President of the Tennessee State Dental Association. There is no mention on whether his patient numbers went up after his invention. . . . And the cotton candy itself? Well, it’s still delicious!

I can't help myself...

I can’t help myself…

Other cotton candy facts: 

    • In addition to cotton candy, the 1904 World’s Fair debuted many other food items such as Dr. Pepper, Ice Cream cones and Cracker Jack.
    • In the 1920s, the name “cotton candy” caught on for the airy sugary snack.
    • The world’s largest cotton candy manufacturer is Tootsie Roll of Canada Ltd. They produce a bagged version of the sweet treat called “Fluffy Stuff.”
    • The United States celebrates National Cotton Candy Day on December 7.
    • A 1 ounce serving of cotton candy contains 105 calories and 26 grams of sugar. It has no fat, sodium or carbohydrates and actually contains less sugar than one can of pop.
    • Because cotton candy is just colored sugar and air, it tastes the same today as it did when Morrison and Warton invented the machine.
This is how I eat cotton candy. Just. Like. This.

This is how I eat cotton candy. Just. Like. This.

Historic Hudson Valley, “Cotton Candy: The toothy history of a classic circus treat,” May 24, 2012.
Emily Wallace, “Where cotton candy comes from,” Indy Week, October 17, 2012.

Easter Flower Stand, 1943

15 April 2014

The following photographs were taken at Easter flower stands in Washington, D.C. in April 1943.

Walt Disney’s “The Story of Menstruation”

14 April 2014

If you have followed History By Zim long enough you know that I love a good random bit of history. Today’s post seems to epitomize the word “random.”

Just saying the word “Disney” often times evokes childhood memories of watching favorite Disney characters on a unending loop. Disney has enthralled generations of youth with its music, “Happily Ever Afters” and victorious heroes. These fanciful stories were not the only films they produced.

In 1946, the Walt Disney Studios thought they could help explain a delicate issue to young girls. So they created the following short Sex Ed film about menstruation.

The film was sponsored by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation (advertising the Kotex brand) and was one of the first corporately sponsored films distributed to high schools. In these cases, the companies often sent along free promotional materials and supplements. Kimberly-Clark was no different. Along with the teaching material, the young girls received the booklet Very Personally Yours that encouraged girls to use Kotex and not tampons (a market dominated by rivals Procter & Gamble’s Tampax brand).

With The Story of Menstruation, Girls around the country were told that “once you stop feeling sorry for yourself and accept menstruation as routine, you’ll find it easier to keep smiling and even-tempered.” It is no surprise that some took issue with the film. In 1950, historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg wrote:

In the Disney world, the menstrual flow is not blood red but snow white. The vaginal drawings look more like a cross section of a kitchen sink than the outside and inside of a woman’s body. There are no hymen, no clitoris, no labia; all focus is on the little nest and its potentially lush lining, Although Disney and Kimberly-Clark advise exercise during the period, the exercising cartoon girls (who look like Disney’s Cinderella) are drawn without feet; bicycles magically propel themselves down the street without any muscular or mental direction from the cyclist. The film ends happily ever after, with a shot of a lipsticked bride followed immediately by a shot of a lipsticked mother and baby.

The Story of Menstruation, was used for over 35 years and seen by more than 100 million high school students. It was shown in schools, Parent Teacher Associations, YWCAs and nurses’ hospitals. Good Housekeeping even gave it their famous seal of approval. Because of the success, Disney continued to produce these educational films aimed at schools through the early 1950s.

Sean Griffin, Tinker Belles and Evil Queens: The Walt Disney Company from the Inside Out,” New York: NYU Press, 2000.
Thomas Heinrich and Bob Batchelor, Kotex, Kleenex, Huggies: Kimberly-Clark and the Consumer Revolution in American Business, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 2004.

Mamie Eisenhower with an Ice Cream Bar

13 April 2014

First Lady Mamie Eisenhower enjoying a Good Humor ice cream bar in 1955.

Lauretta Schimmoler: Aviation Pioneer

11 April 2014
Lauretta Schimmoler, aviation pioneer. Photo Credit: Source

Lauretta Schimmoler, aviation pioneer. Photo Credit: Source

Lauretta Schimmoler was an aviation pioneer. Born on September 17, 1900 in Fort Jennings, Ohio, Lauretta was different from most ‘pioneers.’ She did not grow up with airplanes nor did she even have anything to do with them until years after college. With that said, her impact on aviation helped save countless lives.

Lauretta Schimmoler standing next to a training plane in Sycamore, Ohio.

Lauretta Schimmoler standing next to a training plane in Sycamore, Ohio. Photo Credit: International Women’s Air and Space Museum

After graduating with honors at Columbus’ Bliss Business College, Lauretta went straight into the workplace. She found a job as Crawford County’s court stenographer assistant. Law almost drew Lauretta in but she decided against pursuing a career in it. She took a rather unusual turn professionally. Bacyrus Hatchery needed a secretary. Lauretta decided to apply. Not only did she get the job but decided she wanted to run her own business – a poultry business to be exact.

So, by now you are probably wondering how a women who graduated from college, worked for a county court and owned a poultry business became a pioneer in aviation.

In 1919, Dayton was holding an altitude test flight. Lauretta went to watch and it changed her life. She was fascinated with the idea of flying. Ten years later, on August 10, 1929, she received her student pilot’s license and enrolled in flight school in Sycamore, Ohio. The owner of the flight school hired her as his advertising manager. Lauretta convinced him to move his airport from Sycamore to the bigger city of Bucyrus. He agreed with her and, within months, it was moved. Because of this, Lauretta became the first woman to establish and manage an airport.

A little over a year after she received her student pilot’s license, Lauretta earned her pilot’s license. She was only one of a few women to have it – both in Ohio and around the country. Due to her work with the Bucyrus airport, Lauretta was recognized and inducted into the Ninety-Nines, the international organization of licensed women pilots, in 1932. Some of the other women in the Ninety-Nines included Amelia Earhart, Jackie Cochran and Opal Kunz. Lauretta was very active in the organization being the first North Central Governor, second secretary and treasurer of the Ninety-Nines. (Zim’s Note: The Ninety-Nines is still an organization and has over 5,000 members from 30 countries.)

Photograph of Amelia Earhart and Loretta Schimmoler standing in front of an airplane, 1937

Photograph of Amelia Earhart (left) and Loretta Schimmoler standing in front of an monoplane, 1937. Photo Credit: University of Southern California

As if all of that was not notable enough, Lauretta turned her attention to the idea of using airplanes as ambulances. She understood the importance of having not only air ambulances – but to have deployable nursing units to care for the wounded when ground transportation was too difficult. This would be revolutionary on the battlefield during a time of war as well as in peacetime when patients needed to be transported  a distance.

In order to achieve her goal, Lauretta wanted to learn more about flying. She moved to California and worked with the U.S. Air Mail, Lockheed Aircraft and the U.S. Weather Bureau. Through these jobs, she received a better grasp on the way airplanes were being utilized.

In 1933, she formed the Emergency Flight Corps. Three years  and 78 nurses later, it developed into the Aerial Nurses Corps of America. The government initially resisted the idea of air ambulance, finding the whole idea of air evacuation tedious and unreliable. Lauretta spent almost 15 years creating the paramilitary nursing organization and trying to validate its existence to the government and military. She was asked in a 1938 article about the importance of air ambulances and evacuation units as well as women role’s in these organizations. “There are so few places in aviation open to women that I have seized on this one,” she asserted. “Aerial ambulances soon will be common in the United States, I believe. Already, in California, my staff is called on for one to a half dozen trips a week to speed ailing persons to distant cities for medical and surgical treatments.”

Original film poster

Original film poster for “Parachute Nurse” (1942). Photo Credit: Source

As war approached, Lauretta tried to convince the Red Cross of the need for registered nurses serving in air ambulances or on air transportation – basically the whole idea of her Aerial Nurses Corps. In 1940, they rejected her idea. Initially, the U.S. Army  thought little of Lauretta’s idea. World War II changed everything for the military. The Army Air Surgeon General started to see the importance of evacuation units comprised of registered nurses. On November 30, 1942, the U.S. Army asked female nurses to apply to volunteer in air evacuation units through the Army Nurse Corps.

In 1942, Hollywood also took interest in Lauretta and the idea of air evacuation nurses. The motion picture, Parachute Nurse, was created. The film focuses on American nurses who enlisted in the Aerial Nurses Corps. It follows the nurses from training to being dropped by parachute to help aid wounded soldiers. Lauretta was the technical adviser and appeared in the pivotal role as Capt. Jane Morgan, the commander of the Parachute Corps.

Additionally, during the war, Lauretta served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) where she served as a dispatcher at Travis Air Force Base. After the war, in 1946, she commanded an American Legion post – the first woman to do so.

While her Aerial Nurses Corps only lasted 15 years, its role in the early history of air ambulances and evacuation units in the United States is imperative. It became the model for the United States Air Force Flight Nurses Corps (still in existence). In 1966, the United States Air Force formally recognized Lauretta as a pioneer in aviation and medical air evacuation. They awarded her the gold wings of the flight nurse. Lauretta passed away on January 21, 1981 at the age of 80.

“Flying Nurse,” The Telegraph, February 12, 1938.
Jacqueline Jones Poyster, Profiles of Ohio Women, 1803-2003, Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2003.
Marian Schiefer Vance, Images of America: Bucyrus (OH), South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2006.
Nintey-Nines website

“Take the bull by the horns”

10 April 2014
Maidenform bra advertisement published in the April 1962 issue of Woman's Day magazine. Photo Credit: Maidenform Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Maidenform bra advertisement published in the April 1962 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. Photo Credit: Maidenform Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Definition: To confront a problem head on, right away, verses sitting back and waiting for it to resolve itself or for another person to tackle it. “Grab the bull by the horns” is also a very similar idiom commonly used.

Origins: The exact origins of this phrase is unknown. Christine Ammer stated that it originated in bullfighting around 1800. The “term most likely alludes to grasping a safely tethered bull, not one the metador is fighting in the ring.” However, Tim Bowen argued that the idiom’s origins is actually from the American West. Instead of bullfighting, it found its roots in rodeos where it was common for ranchers and cowhands to attempt their luck at steer wrestling. Bowen asserts that the only way to control and bring down a steer (young bull) was to grab it by the horns. If a person tried to grab anywhere else, they stood the risk of getting bashed by the horns. Regardless of the exact origins, there is one thing I know for sure. It is a bad idea to grab a bull by its horns in just your bra . . . even in a Maidenform bra!

Tim Bowen, “Phrase of the week: to take the bull by the horns,” onestopenglish.com.
Ammer, Christine. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997, 639.

Nurses Returning Home, 1945

9 April 2014
Nurses in Europe preparing to return to the US at the end of WWII

Photo Credit: Army Medicine

Nurses in Europe preparing to return to the United States at the end of World War II.

Votes For Women Postcard, 1915

8 April 2014

A popular anti-suffrage argument claimed that entering the supposedly masculine world of politics would take away from women’s femininity. This postcard directly refutes that argument by giving examples of other tasks women commonly performed that, while by no means feminine, were not considered to take away from their “womanliness” in the same way that voting would not change a woman’s fundamental character.

The National American Woman Suffrage Association began a postcard campaign in 1910, partly to raise awareness of the cause and partly as a fundraiser. The cards could be funny, serious, or sentimental. Some employed powerful patriotic symbols and logical arguments to make their case for woman’s right to vote.

Veterinarian Treating War Dog, 1968

7 April 2014
Veterinarian Capt. William T. Watson prepares the transfusion of dextran to be given intravenously to "Gunn", a scout dog wounded by shrapnel, at the 936th Vet Det War Dog Hospital, located at Tan Son Nhut Air Base on November 30, 1968.

Photo Credit: Army Medicine

Veterinarian Capt. William T. Watson (right) prepares the transfusion of dextran to be given intravenously to “Gunn”, a scout dog wounded by shrapnel, at the 936th Vet Det War Dog Hospital, located at Tan Son Nhut Air Base on November 30, 1968.

Reagan Photobombed by Boy, 1987

6 April 2014

During a photo op with Congressman Curt Weldon and his family in the oval office, President Ronald Reagan is ‘photobombed’ by Weldon’s youngest son on September 14, 1987. Weldon was a ten-year member of the United States House of Representatives representing Pennsylvania.

Odd Ads: Chubbettes Clothing, 1956

5 April 2014
Od Ads: Chubbettes Fashion, 1956

Photo Credit: LIFE

This advertisement for Chubbettes appeared in the August 20, 1956 issue of LIFE. I’m sure this clothing line DEFINITELY helped with a young girl’s body image. “She can have a tummy . . . and still look yummy!” I’m not sure what girl really wants to look “yummy” but, according to the advertisement, Chubbettes could do just that. And so much more!

Is your daughter on the plump side? She can and should look as pretty as her slim friends. And she will . . . if you dress her in Chubbettes. Send her back to school in the slenderizing magic of a Chubbette wardrobe . . . dresses, skirts, blouses and slacks cleverly designed to minimize extra pounds.

They would also include “Pounds and Personality” with a requested catalog. Wow what a great bonus! How else would a parent know how to parent ‘chubby girls’ without the free booklet on advice “about nicknames, her place in the home, active play, diet, appearance, etc.”? AND “Pounds and Personality” was written by a female doctor too so it must have included sound advice.

After a quick search, there were very few results for Chubbettes so, it would seem, it did not last too long. Which is a shame since the brand “designed to make girls 6 to 16 look slimmer.” What did society and ‘chubby girls’ do without such a demoralizing brand?!

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