Field Hospital, France, 1918

14 April 2013
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

American Army field hospital inside ruins of church. France. 1918. This church looks to be quite large and, at one time, quite grand. I wish, with photos like these, we knew more details about the church, or at least the name/location of it. I wonder if it was repaired or destroyed after the war? Was it also damaged by the invading German forces during World War II? The endless questions that could be answered if one simply had a name or location….

Boy and Dog, Coney Island, ca. 1885

13 April 2013
Photo Credit: George Bradford Brainerd/ Brooklyn Museum Collection

Photo Credit: George Bradford Brainerd/ Brooklyn Museum Collection

Boy playing tug with a dog near the Iron Pier at Coney Island, Brooklyn, ca. 1885.

Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow

12 April 2013

The story of how Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow’s actions during World War II made him the last Plains war chief.

Young

A young Joe Medicine Crow. His grandfather was a chief of the Crow tribe. Photo Credit: PBS

Joseph Medicine Crow was born near Lodge Grass, Montana on October 27, 1913. The step-grandson of White Man Runs Him, a scout for General Custer and an eyewitness to the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Medicine Crow was raised by his elders in the warrior way. He grew up listening to stories of battles and of a time before tribes were sent to reservations. He was 11 years old when his grandfather died in 1925. Medicine Crow is the last living person with a direct oral history from a participant of the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Medicine Crow was the first member of the Crow tribe to attend college and, in 1939, he also become the first to receive a master’s degree. His thesis from the University of Southern California (“The Effects of European Culture Contact upon the Economic, Social, and Religious Life of the Crow Indians”) is widely utilized by historians and scholars alike. He became well-known for his work regarding the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Of the war, he once stated “No One wins. Both sides lose. The Indians, so called hostiles, won the battle of the day, but lost their way of life.”

Joseph Medicine Crow, about to enter the dance arena at the annual Crow Fair, holds a dance stick representing the horses he captured from German SS officers in World War II. Photo Credit: Glen Swanson/The National Museum of the American Indian.

Joseph Medicine Crow, about to enter the dance arena at the annual Crow Fair, holds a dance stick representing the horses he captured from German SS officers in World War II. Photo Credit: Glen Swanson/The National Museum of the American Indian.

Medicine Crow was working on his doctoral dissertation when the United States entered World War II. At the age of 34, he joined the U.S. Army, serving as a scout in the 103rd Infantry Division in Europe. Whenever he went into battle he would paint red stripes on his arms under his uniform. He also carried a yellow-painted eagle feather in his helmet to shield him from harm. During the war, Medicine Crow successfully completed the four required tasks to become a Crow war chief.

According to Crow tradition, in order to achieve war chief status, one must fulfill the following deeds:

  1. Touch or strike the first enemy fallen, whether alive or dead
  2. Wrestle a weapon away from an enemy warrior
  3. Enter an enemy camp at night and steal a horse
  4. Command a war party successfully.

He accomplished the first two deeds at the same time. His unit came upon a small town housing some German soldiers. Sent around a street and into an ally, Medicine Crow literally ran into a German soldier. After knocking the enemy’s rifle to the ground the two fought hand-to-hand. After going back and forth with the opposing soldier, Medicine Crow finally had his opponent in a choke hold but spared his life when the German started saying “momma.”

Another time Medicine Crow, armed with seven men and explosives, successfully placed the explosives along German positions on the Siegfried Line. This fulfilled another war deed. The last of the four deeds he needed to accomplish – steal an enemy horse – took place towards the end of the war. One day, Medicine Crow was scouting ahead of his company and saw Germans riding horses along a road to a farm. It was decided to attack the Germans in the early morning while they slept. Medicine Crow asked the Captain to give him a couple of minutes to take care of the horses. The Captain agreed. In the early hours, Medicine Crow and another soldier crawled into the horse shed. Fashioning an Indian bridle out of a little rope, they chased the horses out of the shed and over a hill. As he rode away, Medicine Crow sang a traditional Crow honor song. Around 50 horses were stolen from the battalion of German officers.

Medicine Crow, in his own words, describe the horse event during an interview with the National Museum of the American Indian:

In World War II, I managed to have captured fifty head of horses. These were not ordinary horses. They belonged to SS officers, you know? During the last days of the war over there, there was a lot of confusion, so a bunch of these SS officers got on their horses and took off … They were heading back to Germany. And here’s that old sneaky old Crow Indian now following them, watching them. So they camped for the night. I sneak in there and took all their fifty head of horses, left them on foot. So I got on one, looked around there and I even sang a Crow victory song all by myself. Crows do that when they think they’re all by themselves, they do things like that. So I sang a victory song.

President Obama awarding Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow the Medal of Freedom.

President Obama awarding Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Photo Credit: Bacone College

Through his actions in World War II he is the last Crow Indian to become a war chief and, as he states, the last Plains war chief. He returned to the Crow Agency after the war and was appointed tribal historian and anthropologist in 1948. He received both the Bronze Star and France’s Legion of Honour on June 25, 2008. On August 12, 2009, Medicine Crow, at the age of 95, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the country. Upon hearing he was selected to receive the award, Medicine Crow said, “I am humbled and honored to join the ranks of the renowned citizens who have received this medal over the last 62 years.” Ken Burns featured Medicine Crow in the 2007 PBS series “The War.”

Medicine Crow lives on the Crow Indian Reservation in Lodge Grass, Montana. He is said to be the oldest living man of the Crow tribe.

Video of Dr. Joe Medicine Crow recounting his actions during World War II in Ken Burns’ The War.

Dr. Joe Medicine Crow, among others, honored in 2009 with the Medal of Freedom by President Obama. His sections appear around the 7:15 and 24.35 marks.

Sources
Lorna Thackeray, “Crow Tribal Historian to Receive Medal of Freedom,” Billings Gazette, July 30, 2009.
Allison Engel, “Medal of Freedom Goes to Medicine Crow,” University of Southern California, August 27, 2009.
Joseph Medicine Crow,” National Park Service.
Joe Medicine Crow: Life and Work,” World Wisdom.
The War” PBS.
Custer Battlefield Museum
The National Museum of the American Indian

Saying Goodbye, 1918

11 April 2013

Marine bidding farewell to his child before going to war, ca. 1918.

Around the Clock…

10 April 2013

There are many valid points made about “unplugging” oneself from various social media. While I am not on Facebook near as much as I use to be, I can’t say the same for Pinterest. However for History By Zim that is not always a bad thing…

Without it how could I come across this gem?

Woman as clocks.

Woman as clocks. Photo Credit: Old Hollywood

A quick Google search stated that this 1930 photo was a dance segment in Cecil B. DeMille’s “Madam Satan” – I have not seen the movie so I can not discuss the reasoning behind the dancing clocks. But I did also find this:

Dancing Clocks

Image Credit: Triple Canopy

You’re welcome.

Odd Ads: Chuck Norris’ Jeans

9 April 2013

The third entry in the “Odd Ads of the Past” series is a bit different from the previous two. These advertisements ran in the 1980s and would hardly be considered “the Past.” Since they featured Chuck Norris and a new jean with a hidden “gusset” I could NOT pass up posting it!

Chuck Norris’ Action Jeans are described in the advertisements as the following:

Developed by Chuck Norris for stunt fighting in action movies. These great looking western style jeans have a unique hidden gusset* which allows greater movement without binding or ripping.

I bet these were perfect for the everyday person or martial artist who walked around roundhouse kicking people….

Source for both advertisements

_________
*I did not know what a “gusset” was but according to Wikipedia it is “a triangular or rhomboid piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing.”

Neil Armstrong On The Moon, 1969

8 April 2013
Image Credit: NASA (AS11-40-5886)

Image Credit: NASA (AS11-40-5886)

“(July 20, 1969) Apollo 11 astronauts trained on Earth to take individual photographs in succession in order to create a series of frames that could be assembled into panoramic images. This frame from Aldrin’s panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good picture of mission commander Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface.”

Eisenhower & Hoover Grilling Steaks, 1954

7 April 2013
Photo Credit: NPR

Photo Credit: Maurice Johnson/International News Photos/Courtesy of WHNPA/NPR

President Eisenhower and former President Herbert Hoover cook steaks on a grill in Fraser, Colorado in 1954.

First Book Printed in America

6 April 2013
This copy of "The Bay Book of Psalms" is owned by The John Carter Brown Library at Brown University and is one of 11 copies of the first edition known to exist and one of only four perfect copies. The book is in its original binding, with the title page signed by Mather (in which you can see on the top of the left page)

This copy of “The Bay Book of Psalms” is owned by The John Carter Brown Library at Brown University and is one of 11 copies of the first edition known to exist and one of only four perfect copies. The book is in its original binding, with the title page signed by principal editor – Richard Mather (in which you can see on the top of the left page). Photo Credit: John Carter Brown Library/World Digital Library

“The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre” commonly known as the “Bay Psalm Book”, was the first book printed in the American Colonies. It was first printed in 1640 by Stephen Daye, the first printer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The original cover of the 1640 "Bay Psalm Book" in the Library of Congress' collections. Photo Credit: Library of Congress

The original cover of the 1640 “Bay Psalm Book” in the Library of Congress’ collections. Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Two years earlier, in 1638, Reverend Jesse Glover imported the first printing press to the colonies and Daye, a London printer, came over with the press and established a printing office in Cambridge. John Eliot, Thomas Welde and Richard Mather were asked by the colony’s residents to translate the Book of Psalms from Hebrew for use in the churches. While other hymn books were brought to the New World, the Puritans thought they deviated from the original Hebrew words.  Around 30 New England ministers assisted Mather, the principal translator and editor, in translating the book.

The creation of the book is a milestone for both the church and the colonies. It marked an evolution in musical tradition used in American churches. The book was reissued into several editions and was in use for over 100 years. For the colonies, “Bay Psalm Book” represented advancement as a society. To have an actual printing press meant they were not wholly dependent upon outside sources. The press was imported about 20 years after the Mayflower’s arrival and helped fortify their place in the New World.

There are 11 first edition copies of the “Bay Psalm Book” known to still exist. Only five are in complete condition, four of which are considered “perfect” copies. Among the institutions that own a copy include the Library of Congress, Yale University, Harvard University and Brown University. The Old South Church in Boston actually owns two books, which are housed at the Boston Public Library. In December 2012, the church announced they are going to auction off one of their two copies. (The Old South Church is one of the nation’s oldest churches and was founded in 1669.) It is estimated that the 372-year-old hymn book will fetch anywhere between $10 million to $20 million.

Sources
Library of Congress
World Digital Library
Ted Widmer, “This Is the First Book the Puritans Published on Our Shores,” Slate, November 19, 2012.
Jay Lindsay, “Bay Psalm Book Sale: Old South Church To Sell First Book Published In North America,” Huffington Post, Decemeber 2, 2012.

First SPAR Overseas

5 April 2013
Photo Credit: England/Flickr

Photo Credit: England/Flickr

To Phyllis M Baguley, y.2C, 423 Allen St. Lansing Michigan, goes the honor of being the first SPAR to set foot on overseas soil. Pictured here as she suns herself on the boat deck of the former luxury liner that transported her overseas, she led the first overseas contingent of SPAS as they debarked from the ship at Honolulu. Daughter of Mr and Mrs WC Baguley, she is a graduate of Lansing Eastern High School and enlisted in the SPARs in March, 1943.

(SPAR’s were the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve. The name comes from “Semper Paratus”, and “Always Ready”)

In Their Words – Mother Teresa

4 April 2013
President Reagan presents Mother Teresa with the Medal of Freedom at a White House Ceremony, 1985. Photo Credit: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library/Source

President Reagan presents Mother Teresa with the Medal of Freedom at a White House Ceremony, 1985. Photo Credit: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library/Source

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

- Mother Teresa

Lynching Flag, New York, 1938

3 April 2013

“Lynching flag flying at NAACP headquarters, ca. 1938.”

In conjunction with the anti-lynching campaign, in 1920 the NAACP began flying a flag from the windows of its headquarters at 69 Fifth Avenue when a lynching occurred. The words on the flag were “a man was lynched yesterday.” The threat of losing its lease forced the NAACP to discontinue the practice in 1938. The original canvas flag is housed with the NAACP Records in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

Branching out…

2 April 2013

History By Zim has been slowly branching out. When I first started the website in July 2011, it was with the intention of having just the website. Shortly after the Twitter page began. I realized a few months later that Pinterest would also be a great resource, so that was added. The Facebook page came about almost a year ago and has been gaining speed. Now History By Zim has branched out into a whole new arena – merchandise and apparel. History By Zim’s store is over on CafePress and, as of now, is stocked with History By Zim t-shirts, mugs, magnets/stickers, tote bags and more. Within the next couple of weeks, I plan to branch out with other products utilizing historic quotes, images and original photography.

John M. Gonatos in his curio shop viewing shells with assistant Niki Vasilikis in Tarpon Springs, Florida. (Niki was the first Greek WAC - Women's Army Corps member.) Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida: Florida Memory

John M. Gonatos in his curio shop viewing shells with assistant Niki Vasilikis in Tarpon Springs, Florida. (Niki was also the first Greek WAC – Women’s Army Corps member.) Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida: Florida Memory

Draping Stockings, 1936

1 April 2013
Photo Credit: Lewis Hine/Works Progress Administration (National Archives)

Photo Credit: Lewis Hine/Works Progress Administration/National Archives

Woman draping stockings at the Minnesac Mills in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1936.

Bound for California, 1939

30 March 2013
Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

Photo by Russell Lee. Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

Russell Lee captures a woman kissing a relative goodbye in July 1939. The migrant family is leaving Muskogee, Oklahoma for California likely in search of stability during the Great Depression.

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