Filling Ice Cream Cartons, 1939

24 October 2014

Filling cartons with ice cream mix at a creamery in San Angelo, Texas in November 1939.

Mug Shots: Pep the Dog

23 October 2014

Mug shot: A photograph of someone’s face especially one made for police records. The word ”mug shots” comes from the British slang word “mug” meaning “face.”

Pep “The Cat-Murdering Dog” was a black Labrador Retriever admitted to Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania on August 12, 1924.

According to prison legend, Pep was sentenced to life without parole after killing Governor Gifford Pinchot’s wife’s cat. The governor used his executive powers to hand down this unusual sentence. The legend seems to hold some truth as prison records list Pep’s inmate number as C-2559.

However, the governor’s son tells a different story of Pep’s time in the prison. Pep was a gift to the governor’s family by a nephew. The family enjoyed their time with Pep but it was overshadowed by his instance on ripping up cushions. The governor thought there could be another use for Pep that was not so destructive. So, he took the dog to the prison to be used as a therapy dog.

Regardless of the actual reasoning behind Pep’s time at Eastern State Penitentiary, he was loved and treated well by the prisoners. After about a decade, Pep died of natural causes and was buried at the prison.

Whether guilty of cat-killing or acting as a therapy dog, Pep’s mug shot shows him to be guilty of something – stealing our hearts!

In Their Words: Confucius

22 October 2014

Confucius QUote

Public School 88 War Garden, 1918

21 October 2014
School children holding one of the large heads of cabbage raised in the war garden of Public School 88, Borough of Queens, New York City. The garden covers a tract of 1< acres and yielded over $500 worth of produce, ca. 1918.

Photo Credit: National Archives

School children holding one of the large heads of cabbage raised in the war garden of Public School 88, Borough of Queens, New York City. The garden covers a tract of 1< acres and yielded over $500 worth of produce, ca. 1918.

Recoilless Rifle Team, 1951

20 October 2014
Recoilless rifle

Photo Credit: U.S. Army

Powder smoke and dust billow as a recoilless rifle team of Co. D, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd U.S. Infantry Division, fire their weapon at Chinese Communist position on Hill 200 near Qnmong-Myon, Korea on November 9, 1951.

Frank Hayes: Died at the Reins

17 October 2014
A modern steeplechase race. Photo by John Holloway

A modern-day example of a steeplechase race. Photo by John Holloway

June 4, 1923 was an unusual day for thirty-five-year-old jockey Frank Hayes.

Hayes was riding a bay mare named Sweet Kiss, a horse owned by Miss A. M. Frayling, in the steeplechase race at Belmont Park on Long Island, New York. Steeplechase is an interesting race as it is as much a speed race as it is an obstacle course. In this race, the horse and rider have to make jumps over fences and ditches of water. The particular race Hayes was participating in was a two-mile course. This was only his second time wearing racing silks. He was considered long shot with 20-1 odds.

The race was very close. The race favorite was J. S. Cosden, who was riding Gimme. Throughout the race, Gimme and Sweet Kiss were separated only by two or three lengths. It was a nail-biter. Rounding the last turn, Sweet Kiss almost collided with Gimme but was able to right himself.  With the finish line approaching, the two dug in. Sweet Kiss crossed over first by a length and a half. Both horses slowed into a walk. Hayes had won his first race!

The excitement and sweet taste of victory was short-lived. The spectators noticed that Hayes was bent over Sweet Kiss. The general thought was that he was adjusting a stirrup. Next thing they saw was Hayes dropping to the ground while the horse stepped over him and continued to walk. A crowd went to help Hayes, among them was Dr. John A. Voorhees the track’s physician. Dr. Voorhees quickly examined Hayes and pronounced him dead.

In a New York Times article dated the day after his day, said that he had actually dead right after crossing the finish line and bringing Sweet Kiss to a walk. However, others say differently. According to Guinness World Records, Hayes died during the race – before Sweet Kiss crossed the finish line. He is now cited as the only jockey to win a race while dead.

The official ruling was that he dead of heart disease. The New York Times also speculated that it was due to the rigorous training jockeys often do to maintain a certain weight level as well as the overall excitement of a big race – and, perhaps even, winning the race. So, June 4, 1923, was a bittersweet day for Frank Hayes.

New York Times, “Jockey Dies as He Wins His First Race; Hayes Collapses Passing the Winning Post,” June 5, 1923.
Guinness World Records, “First deceased jockey to win a race.”

Finding Relatives in Sicily, 1943

16 October 2014

Vincent J. Orivello of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an American soldier, found some relatives in Sicily. Here is is seen eating ice-cream at a sidewalk cafe in Palermo, Sicily with three of his cousins around September 1943.

In Their Words: William James

15 October 2014


Girl Reading “Wonder Woman”

13 October 2014
Photo Credit: NPR Fresh Air Tumblr

Photo Credit: NPR Fresh Air Tumblr

An unidentified girl is taking some time to read Wonder Woman under a “Women Working” sign.

Putting on Gas Masks in the Trench

9 October 2014
U.S. soldiers in trench putting on gas masks. Behind them, a signal rocket appears to be in mid-launch. When gas attacks were detected, alarms used included gongs and signal rockets.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

U.S. soldiers in trench putting on gas masks. Behind them, a signal rocket appears to be in mid-launch. When gas attacks were detected, alarms used included gongs and signal rockets.

Video: “The Librarian,” 1947

8 October 2014

Zim’s Note: Since I will be attending my first Library Conference today, I thought this would be an appropriate post!

“The Librarian” was produced in 1947 by Vocational Guidance Films. It talks about what it takes to be a librarian, what the role of librarian means to society and the various functions of the different types of libraries. 

I liked the conversation between the patron and librarian around the 3:20 mark. I lost count how many times patrons come to me and say, “Well it has a blue cover….”

And, by the way, I do consider books my friends. Depending on the day, I prefer them to people ;-)

Book Review: The Medal of Honor

7 October 2014

The Medal of Honor: A History of Service Above and Beyond
Minneapolis, MN: Zenith Press
304 pp. $40.00/Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-7603-4624-2

Medal of HonorAs the highest military honor bestowed upon individuals who perform acts of valor “above and beyond the call of duty,” the Medal of Honor is synonymous with bravery, selfishness, and heroism. Over 3,400 individuals have received the Medal of Honor. Created in 1861 after the start of the Civil War, the award now has three versions for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Produced in cooperation with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United States of America, The Medal of Honor: A History of Service Above and Beyond follows the award’s history from it’s inception in 1861, through the various wars and peacekeeping efforts and then, finally, to the present. It sheds a light on those whose valiant acts are now etched into U.S. history.

The Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is very much an authoritative resource on the award. Unlike many other authoritative books though, it does not stand on the side throwing out dry tidbits or quick, impersonal overviews. Nor does it give the reader a headache in trying to decipher scholarly jargon. Not only does The Medal of Honor give an adequate, overarching historical explanation of the various U.S. wars and military interventions, but, more importantly,  it offers detailed profiles of the actions of Medal of Honor recipients.

Among the fascinating profiles is that of Mary Walker – the only woman who was awarded the Medal of Honor. Not only was she one of the first woman doctors in the U.S., Walker was a stylish dresser who preferred pants to the socially accepted dresses. During the Civil War, she volunteered her services (because of her gender, Walker’s attempts at getting a commission were struck down repeatedly) near the Union front lines. After the war, Walker was upset that she would not get promoted based on her work. Instead, the government offered her something else in recognition of her wartime services – the Medal of Honor. During the Medal of Honor purge of 1916-1917, when Congress reevaluated the award’s criteria, Walker’s medal was revoked along with 911 others including “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s medal from the Indian Wars. They were later restored.

medal of honor quoteNo discussion on military honors is complete without bring up Audie Murphy. A young, skinny kid who grew up one foot from poverty in Texas was rejected by not just the Marines but from the paratrooper as well. He left to fight the Germans with the only group that would take him, the infantry, and returned home as one of the highest decorated soldiers during WWII.

The Medal of Honor profiles a large number of recipients who were perhaps less well-known as Murphy. I especially enjoyed the unique story of Jay Vargas’ medal. Vargas, a Marine during Vietnam, rescued several injuries men during a battle with the North Vietnamese despite being wounded several times. When it came time to receive the Medal of Honor for his actions from President Nixon, Vargas asked for his mother’s name to be engraved on the back instead of his own. His mother had passed away a few months before. All four of her sons served in the military in World War II, Korean War and Vietnam. Nixon allowed her name to be placed on the back. Vargas’ Medal of Honor record actually states “M. Sando Vargas.”

Book Structure & Content

The book is broken down into a foreword, preface, introduction, seven chapters, appendix and a bibliography and credits. The Medal of Honor is a substantial piece of work. I consider it a coffee table book – not too big but not small enough to be considered a regular bookshelf book. The chapter titles include: The Civil War, The Indian Campaigns, The Wars of American Expansion, World War I, World War II, The Cold War, and New Enemies, New Conflicts. The appendix, Register of Recipients, list the names, rank at time of action and the place where the action took place of those who received the Medal of Honor. The list includes those honored during the Civil War era up to a couple of months ago.

If you have followed History By Zim long enough, you know how much I like a photos. The Medal of Honor does not disappoint. With over 290 photographs (both color and black and white) it visually sets the stage when discussing the various wars and those who’s actions were “above and beyond the call of duty.” The pacing of the book was good and overall it flowed very nicely. I found myself always wanting to read just a little more.

Overall Impression

The Medal of Honor is an exceptional narrative. Not only does it succeed as a historical resource on the Medal of Honor itself but, also, as a testament of the heroism of the recipients. The book stayed true to its purpose – telling the stories of the bravery and courage of those who fought for the country. For many, the medal is symbolic as it represents those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. One recipient was quoted as saying that it was “a lot harder to wear than it is to earn” (p. 11). Captain Michael J. Daly, a WWII Medal of Honor recipient, saw the medal not as a burden but, rather, as a reminder. “The medal is very important to me . . . to ensure the memory of those who died” (p.173). I highly recommend The Medal of Honor to anyone interested in United States and military history as well as anyone who enjoys general topics.

Where to find The Medal of Honor: A History of Service Above and Beyond

Quarto Publishing Group
Barnes & Noble

Charles Schulz Drawing Peanuts, 1967

6 October 2014

In 1967, LIFE magazine ran an article that included many photos of  Charles M. Schulz and his family at home in California. Schulz created the infamous Peanuts comic strip that debuted on October 2, 1950. The photo above and below were not part of the photos included in the issue but shows Schulz working on a Peanuts strip.

Mortar Crew in Action Near the Rhine, 1945

3 October 2014
American mortar crew in action near the Rhine, 1945

Photo Credit: U.S. Army

American mortar crew in action near the Rhine, 1945. This photo also had the following quote:

Getting across the Rhine wasn’t all there was to it. There was the little matter of establishing a beachhead. We threw our mortars at them and everything else we had untill [sic] they finally gave away.

Bad Inventions: “Double Ender” Pipe

2 October 2014
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ed Ford/Business Insider

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ed Ford/Business Insider

Based on the title of the post you are probably wondering what could be so ‘bad’ about a double-ended pipe invention? Okay, so maybe you were thinking the exact opposite – what could be so ‘right’ about a double-ended pipe invention!

In the photo, George Braunsdorf (left) at 6 feet 4 inches demonstrates how to use a “Double Ender” pipe with Joe Damone, 5 feet 1 inch, in New York on June 2, 1949.

According to its manufacturer, the pipe was designed as a means of conserving tobacco by a couple of pipe smokers. Maybe this would help if one was on a budget or extremely cold on a blustery fall day!? Who knows, this may have been the inspiration for the “Johnson Treatment”….

[Zim's Note: It probably was not the inspiration for the "Johnson Treatment.]

LBJ was famous for his powers of persuasion, dispensing them with what became known as the "Johnson Treatment." He used his imposing physical size and intimidating personality to emphasize his point, usually in a very close proximity. Here he is shown given the "Johnson Treatment to Senator Richard Russell in 1963. Photo Credit: National Archives

President Lyndon B. Johnson was famous for his powers of persuasion and often utilized what became known as the “Johnson Treatment.” He used his imposing physical size and intimidating personality to emphasize his point, usually in a very close proximity. Here he is shown given the “Johnson Treatment” to Senator Richard Russell in 1963. Photo Credit: National Archives

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