“Charley Horse”

15 March 2013
The Charley Horse in the game "Operation."

The “Charlie” Horse in the game “Operation” (Source)

Definition: A charley horse is the nickname given to a cramp or pulled muscle in the leg. The strong muscle cramp can sneak up suddenly and last for a few seconds to several painful minutes. The causes are not always known, but it can be caused by several things such as overusing the muscle through exercise or injury, cold water, blood flow problems, not enough potassium and even being dehydrated.

Origin: Just as the reasons behind getting charley horses are not always known, the origin of the nickname is debated. It dates back to the 1880s and was originally a American baseball slang term. When Bill Brandt, a baseball official, was asked about the origin of the term, he responded with a story he was told by Mr. J. G. T. Spink of St. Louis’ Sporting News of a lame horse used in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

They had a lame horse named Charley whose regular work was pulling things around the baseball park. . . . Charley’s performance was to limp around the grassless surface of the baselines on the diamond dragging a dust-brush. This picture was so deeply stamped in the ballplayers’ consciousness that when a member of the team developed a minor cripplement in the lower extremities due to a slightly pulled tendon or muscle bruise, his teammates called him “Charley Horse” instead of his right name.

Another sources states that the earliest known use of the term was on July 17, 1886 by the Boston Globe, but does not mention a horse but rather a baseball player who originated it himself. Another story states it was about a completely different horse not used for baseball. A 1907 Washington Post story,  found by the American Dialect Society, stated that “charley horse” was used in reference to pitcher Charley “Old Hoss” Radbourne who often suffered with cramps during games in the 1880s.

Whether “Charley” was named after a horse, baseball player or a figment of someone’s imagination, the slang word stuck. So much so that it was included in the 1965 Milton Bradley game “Operation” (spelled as “Charlie”) and worth 200 points if successfully “removed.”

David Shulman, “Whence ‘Charley Horse’?, American Speech, Vol. 24: No. 2 (April 1949), 100-104.
Dave Wilton, “charley horse,” wordorigins.org
Michael Quinion, “Charley Horse,” worldwidewords.org
Muscle Cramps,” webMD.com

Helmet as a Foot Bucket, Korean War

14 March 2013
Photo Credit: U.S. Army

Photo Credit: U.S. Army

Solider demonstrates the versatility of the standard U.S. Army helmet to soothe his feet during the Korean War.

Mickey Consoling Kermit, 1990

13 March 2013

Illustration by Joe Lanzisero and Tim Kirk (Source)

After Jim Henson’s sudden death on May 16, 1990, people across the world remembered “The Muppets” creator with tributes and honors. One of the most touching is an illustration by Disney artists Joe Lanzisero and Tim Kirk. In the tribute to Henson, Mickey Mouse is shown with his arm around Kermit the Frog, consoling him. The black-and-white illustration appeared in the Summer 1990 issue of WD Eye, Walt Disney Imagineering’s employee magazine.

Bad Inventions: Fire Box, 1938

12 March 2013

In February 1938, a new invention was introduced to stop fire alarm pranksters. If a person went to “sound the alarm” they would have to insert their arm into a special compartment to activate the signal dial. Immediately after activating the alarm, the person’s arm was locked in the compartment until police or firemen arrived with a key. It was a good idea to catch pranksters, however, for obvious reasons, a bit flawed if there was an actual fire….

After a bit more research, it sounds like these fire boxes would sit outside of buildings, a more logical location than the alternative. Also the photo looks as if the trapping compartment came off the box so a person could walk away after initiating the signal wearing a rather bulking bracelet. Regardless of where it would be located or the specific mechanics, the firebox was not the best invention the world had ever seen nor was it the worst!

Snow Roller, Caribou, ca.1930

12 March 2013
Photo Credit: Geroge Whitneck/Car

Photo Credit: Geroge Whitneck/Caribou Public Library

“A snow roller pulled by horses owned by John Hamilton. The driver is Albert White. A road roller was an improvement over a snowplow because it packed down the snow on the roads to make a wide, hard, smooth surface. In a snow storm, banks made from plowing a road trapped the blowing snow and the road would drift in. The road roller did not make large snow banks. Rolled roads also were wider than plowed ones, allowing cars to more easily pass one another and did not confine teams of horses or upset sleighs, pungs or sleds. A road roller was made from planks bolted to a drum-like frame.”

Letter from John Beaulieu to President Eisenhower in Braille, 10/1958

11 March 2013
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Braille letter with handwritten transcription:

Perkins School For The Blind

Watertown 72, Mass.

Dear Ike,

I decided to write you a little speech which might help you to win the election.

Vote for me. I will help you out. I will lower the prices and also your tax bill. I also will help the negroes, so that they may go to school.

Good Luck in November.

John Beaulieu

Age 13 Grade Six.

Ruth St. Denis

10 March 2013

“I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what is too deep to find for words.”

Ruth St. Denis in Radha. (ca. 1906)

Ruth St. Denis in Radha, ca. 1906 (Photo Credit: Denishawn Collection/The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Ruth St. Denis, along with her contemporary Isadora Duncan, is credited with founding the American dance movement, especially American modern dance. She was the first American dancer to appear in a full-length dance performance. Additionally, St. Denis was a pioneer in American sacred dance when she actively explored dance forms from diverse world religious and spiritual expression.

Ruth St. Denis in Black and Gold Nautch. (1916). Photo Credit: Danishawn

Ruth St. Denis in Black and Gold Nautch. (1916). Photo Credit: Denishawn Collection/The New York Public Library

Born Ruth Dennis on a farm in New Jersey, her father was an inventor and her mother was a physician who encouraged Ruth’s early interest in theater and dance. Her early training included formal and social dancing techniques, ballet lessons with Italian ballerina Maria Bonfante and skirt dancing.

In 1892 Ruth began her professional career in New York City. Initially she worked as a skirt dancer, a dance in which women dancers would manipulate long, layered skirts with their arms to create a motion of flowing fabric. Six years later, Ruth was noticed by David Belasco, a successful Broadway producer and director. He gave her the stage name “St. Denis” and hired her as a featured dancer in his company. With the dance company she toured around the United States and Europe and met diverse dancers and dance forms that would later inspire her solo dances.

She became very interested in the dancing techniques and emotions of Eastern cultures and created her own theory of dance based upon all of her early training, dancers she worked with and her reading on mythology and cultures. She left Belasco’s company in 1905 for a career as a solo artist.

In 1906, she shocked a New York audience with her portrayal in flowing robes and freestyle dance of Radha, an Indian goddess. “Radha” was her attempt at translating her understanding of Indian mythology and culture into dance form. At this point in her career, Ruth thought that Europe might offer her more. She spent three years traveled Europe performing her “translations” before returning to the United States where her dances were well-received.

Ruth St Denis in The Greek Veil Plastique. Used in vaudeville act. (1918). Photo Credit: Denishawn Collection/The New York Public Library

Ruth St Denis in The Greek Veil Plastique. Used in vaudeville act. (1918). Photo Credit: Denishawn Collection/The New York Public Library

In 1915 she, along with her husband and dancing partner Ted Shawn, founded the Denishawn School of Dancing in Los Angeles. The school was known for its influence on ballet and experimental modern dance. It became the training grounds for dancers including Martha Graham, Jack Cole, Charles Weideman, Lillian Powell, and Doris Humphreys. The school also had a touring dance troupe that traveled the country popularizing dance as a performing art.

In 1931, Denishawn disbanded and Ruth turned to religious dance, a lifelong interest, and performed in churches and synagogues. She founded Adelphi University’s dance program in 1938. It was one of the first dance departments in an American university. Additionally, she continued to teach and choreograph independently as well as with other artists.

Ruth died of a heart attack in 1968 at the age of 89. She left a lasting legacy on the American modern dance movement, not just with her interpretations of cultural-inspired dances, but also in fostering dance through her Denishawn School of Dance. Many of her students would later became pivotal figures in dance.

Video shows Ruth St. Denis in the ‘East Indian Nautch Dance’ (1932)

Ruth St. Denis Biography at University of Pittsburgh website
Ruth St. Denis: Her Life & Legacy at ruthstdenis.org
Dance Heritage Coalition
Jacob’s Pillow Dance

Selling Liberty Bonds, 1917

9 March 2013
Photo Credit: Denishawn Collection/The New York Public Library

Photo Credit: Denishawn Collection/The New York Public Library

Denishawn dancers selling Liberty Bonds, 1917.

Calf Pulling Boy in Sled, 1915

8 March 2013

Calf pulling boy in sled, ca. 1915. Having grown up on a farm, I am very familiar with people using many things to pull sleds. However, never a cow, or in this case, a calf….

“What’s in a name?” – Maryland

7 March 2013
Maryland's namesake - Henrietta Maria, Queen Consort of England, Studio of Anthony Van Dyck, 1632. Courtesy of Commission on Artistic Property, Maryland State Archives.

Maryland’s namesake – Henrietta Maria, Queen Consort of England, Studio of Anthony Van Dyck, 1632. Courtesy of Commission on Artistic Property, Maryland State Archives.

Maryland was named by King Charles I of England after he signed the 1632 charter establishing the colony. He named it in honor of his wife Queen Henrietta Maria, commonly known as Queen Mary.

Charlotte Lowe, History Fact-O-Pedia, New York: Skyhorse Publishing. 2011, 252.

President Nixon Welcomes Apollo 11 Astronauts, 1969

6 March 2013
Image Credit: NASA (S69-21365)

Image Credit: NASA (S69-21365)

“(July 24, 1969) President Richard M. Nixon was in the central Pacific recovery area to welcome the Apollo 11 astronauts aboard the USS Hornet, prime recovery ship for the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. Already confined to the Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) are (left to right) Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. Apollo 11 splashed down at 11:49 a.m. (CDT), July 24, 1969, about 812 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii and only 12 nautical miles from the USS Hornet.”

200 “Likes” and Counting!

5 March 2013

History By Zim’s Facebook page now has 200 “Likes”! 

Are you one of them?! 

If not, check it out!

Once History By Zim reaches 1,000,000 views (around 850,000 now), there will be a contest over on the Facebook page. I’m thinking the website will hit the million mark in the next month or two! Keep an eye out for it!

Acquired Tuba, Tank Battalion, Germany

4 March 2013
Photo Credit: England-Flickr

Photo Credit: England/Flickr

“Sergeant Crawls B. Adams, of Easley, SC, blows a newly acquired horn for an unappreciative audience in St. Barbara, Germany. He is with a tank destroyer battalion attached to the 90th Infantry Division. The audience is Corporal Charles Cole of Mechanicsburg, Illinois, of a field artillery group attached to the 90th Infantry Division.”

Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913

3 March 2013
The cover illustration for the official program of the Woman Suffrage Procession of 1913, which brought the issue of voting rights for women to the forefront of national discussion. Photo Credit: Library of Congress

The cover illustration for the official program of the Woman Suffrage Procession of 1913, which brought the issue of voting rights for women to the forefront of national discussion. (Library of Congress)

Lawyer Inez Milholland prepares to lead the Suffrage Parade, on March 3, 1913. (Library of Congress)

Lawyer Inez Milholland prepares to lead the Suffrage Parade. (Library of Congress)

One hundred years ago today, over 5,000 women marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. for universal women’s suffrage. Marching on March 3, 1913, one day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, women demanded the right to vote.  The Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913 was the first major national effort calling for a constitutional amendment.

It was organized by Alice Paul, who was born in New Jersey and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She traveled to England and became involved with the suffrage movement. Upon her return to the United States she joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The Washington parade was her first duty as part of the suffrage association. Paul later commented on why the parade was held the day before Wilson’s inauguration and how it all came about.

That was the only day you could have it if you were trying to impress the new President. The marchers came from all over the country at their own expense. We just sent letters everywhere, to every name we could find. And then we had a hospitality committee headed by Mrs. Harvey Wiley, the wife of the man who put through the first pure-food law in America. Mrs. Wiley canvassed all her friends in Washington and came up with a tremendous list of people who were willing to entertain the visiting marchers for a day or two. I mention these names to show what a wonderful group of people we had on our little committee.

When they went to obtain their police permit for the parade, the police tried to have the women march on Sixteenth Street, past the embassies instead. After the police chief was visited by a committee member’s mother, who happened to be the wife of a congressman, the group obtained authorization to use Pennsylvania Avenue.

Diagram of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913. Women marchers organized by country, state, occupation, and organization, led by Miss Inez Milholland and Mrs. Richard Coke Burleson, during the suffrage march, March 3, 1913, Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress)

Diagram of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913. Women marchers organized by country, state, occupation, and organization.(Library of Congress)

On Monday, March 3rd, more than 5,000 marchers descended on Washington D.C. for the parade. The parade included nine bands, four mounted brigades, 20 floats, and an allegorical performance near the Treasury Building. The marchers were separated into different categories. Leading the parade, wearing a crown and long white cape on top a white horse, was labor lawyer Inez Milholland. Women from countries that had already enfranchised women were first, along with officers in the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The “Pioneers”, women who have been working on suffrage for decades, came after. Celebration of working women followed the Pioneers section and included nurses, farmers, homemakers, doctors, college women and more. Other sections included the National Association of Colored Women, individual state delegations and male supporters.

The parade began late. There was a very large turnout, in part because many tourists came to see the inauguration the next day. The association was worried that the police were going to underestimate the parade’s audience and not make preparations. Committee member Mrs. John Rogers went to see her brother-in-law the night before about crowd issues. He just happened to be Henry L. Stimson, the Secretary of War. Secretary Stimson promised to send over the cavalry from Fort Myer if trouble should arise.

The parade appeared to have a good start; however Pennsylvania Avenue soon became chocked with thousands of spectators. At the same time a few blocks away, president-elect Wilson arrived at the railway station to very little fanfare. When they asked where everyone was, they were told everyone was “watching the suffrage parade.”

Mostly men, the spectators began to jostle and hurl insults at the parade members. With massive crowds, the parade could barely get past. Some women were tripped and assaulted while the police did little to stop it. One policeman even told some women that they should have stayed home where they belonged. Over one hundred marchers were hospitalized due to the injuries they received from the crowds.

It took six hours to go from the Capitol to Constitution Hall. Finally, Secretary Stimson was called and quickly sent over the troops to clear the way for the parade. It was reported that Helen Keller “was so exhausted and unnerved by the experience in attempting to reach a grandstand . . . that she was unable to speak later at Continental hall [sic].” The majority of the women finished the parade and the event continued as scheduled.

Crowd converging on marchers and blocking parade route during March 3, 1913, inaugural suffrage procession, Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress)

Crowd converging on marchers and blocking parade route during March 3, 1913, inaugural suffrage procession, Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress)

There was much furor over the mistreatment of the marchers and it became a major news story. It led to congressional hearings with more than 150 witnesses telling of their experiences and resulted in the firing of D.C.’s superintendent of police. While suffragists around the country were up in arms about the hostile crowds against the peaceful parade goers, Alice Paul remembers it differently in a 1974 interview.

The principal investigation was launched at the request of our women delegates from Washington, which was a suffrage state. These women were so indignant about the remarks from the crowd. And I remember that Congressman Kent was very aroused at the things that were shouted at his daughter, Elizabeth, who was riding on the California float, and he was among the first in Congress to demand an investigation into why the police hadn’t been better prepared. As I said, the police just didn’t take our little procession seriously. I don’t think it was anything intentional. We didn’t testify against the police, because we felt it was just a miscalculation on their part.

Whether it was a “miscalculation” or blatant indifference by the police, the Women’s Suffrage Parade of 1913 was just the start of using public protests as a tool to achieve universal rights. It would take another seven years, and many pickets and parades later, for Congress to pass the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Sheridan Harvey, “Marching for the Vote: Remembering the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913″, American Women: A Library of Congress Guide for the Study of Women’s History and Culture in the United States, 2001.
Battle for Suffrage“, American Experience, PBS.
Robert S. Gallagher, “I was Arrested, Of Course…“, American Heritage, Vol. 25, Iss. 2 (February 1974).

In Their Words – Fay Wray

2 March 2013

[Zim's Note: Today is the 80th Anniversary of the premiere of King Kong. I thought this was a fitting tribute to the classic film.]

“Every time I’m in New York I say a little prayer when passing the Empire State Building. A good friend of mine died up there.”

- Fay Wray, actress who portrayed the original Ann Darrow in King Kong (1933). King Kong comes to love and protect Ann Darrow and famously carries her to the top of the Empire State Building.

Two days after her death at age 96 on August 8, 2004, the lights on the Empire State Building were extinguished for 15 minutes in her memory.

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