Easter Service, Italy, 1945

26 March 2013
Photo Credit:

Photo Credit: Roy O. Bingham/Denver Public Library

One of many Easter services held on Apennine mountainside by the Tenth Mountain Division. Conducted by Caplain William H. Bell for the 605th Artillery Battalion at Rocca Pitigliano on April 1, 1945. A large group of soldiers sit in a grassy open field with heads bowed. Before them stands the chaplain with a box beside him, a jeep marked beneath the windshield with “Chaplain” in between two crosses, and a portable pump organ.

Photo Credit:

In the foreground, four men bow their heads together. Corporal Ralph Squires sits at a portable organ and two soldiers face the Chaplain who stands in front of his jeep draped with a white cloth in use as an altar for a small crucifix. Photo Credit: Roy O. Bingham/Denver Public Library

Photo Credit:

Photo is of Tenth Mountain Division Cpl. Squires playing the organ. Worshipers sit on the grass listening. Photo Credit: Roy O. Bingham/Denver Public Library

Ex-Union Prisoners, 1884

25 March 2013
Cropped photo. Photo Credit: Daniel Webb/Library of Congress

Cropped photo. Photo Credit: Daniel Webb/Library of Congress

This portrait shows a group of veteran Union soldiers who were POWs during the Civil War. The banner lists the various Confederate prisons: Andersonville, Libby, Belle Isle and Florence. This photo was taken at a POW reunion, possibly the 18th National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic in Minneapolis in 1884. The original title was “Great group of ex-Union prisoners”.

One James too many…

24 March 2013

Zim’s Venture into Family Genealogy

Genalogical Tree. Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Genealogical Tree. Photo Credit: Library of Congress

I was invited to attend a Daughters of the American Revolution meeting after being introduced to a “daughter” at a wedding a few months ago. Having dabbled in family history, I thought it would be interesting to attempt to trace my lineage. At this point, what’s another hobby! As most of you History By Zim followers probably know by now, my ideas of “hobbies” are the equivalent of snowballs rolling down a mountain – it can easily get out of hand! Heck this website was a “hobby” until I decided to add new content every day, expand the categories and branch out into social media (three social platforms to be exact, because obviously only one would not suffice). History By Zim has turn into a part-time job – albeit an extremely fun and satisfying job – but no longer a hobby sort of job.

I digress. My sister decided it was vital for us (aka me) to sign up for various genealogy websites. Might as well use the endless barrel of information that is the internet to our advantage, she thought. We decided to start with the family branch we know dates back to the Revolution in case we apply to the Daughters of the American Revolution.

On certain websites it can be very easy to trace various family lines if they go back far enough. I knew the end of the line (me) and I knew the beginning, my 10th Great Grandfather who came to the Colony of Virginia from England around 1650. It was linking the middle that would determine whether or not my laptop gets thrown against the wall in frustration.

On October 27, 1674 Nathaniel Bacon signed a promissory note to landowner Thomas Ballard, my 10th Great-Grandfather. Bacon, a recent arrival from England, agreed to pay Ballard 500 pounds sterling over the course of two years in return for Curles Neck Plantation in Henrico County, Virginia. He also acquired from Ballard a smaller tract of land near the falls of the James River that became known as Bacon’s Quarter. Two years later, Bacon would lead the Bacon’s Rebellion, the first rebellion in the American colonies in which discontented colonists initiated against other colonists. Bacon and his rebels kidnapped Thomas’ wife Anne, my 10th Great Grandmother, and other wives of the Governor’s highest officials. Photo Credit: Library of Virginia/Encyclopedia Virginia

On October 27, 1674 Nathaniel Bacon signed a promissory note to landowner Thomas Ballard, my 10th Great-Grandfather. Bacon, a recent arrival from England, agreed to pay Ballard 500 pounds sterling over the course of two years for a plantation. Two years later, Bacon would lead the Bacon’s Rebellion, the first rebellion in the American colonies in which discontented colonists initiated. Bacon and his rebels kidnapped my 10th Great Grandmother Anne, Thomas’ wife, and other wives of the Governor’s highest officials. Photo Credit: Library of Virginia/Encyclopedia Virginia

Luckily, or so I first thought, there were other website members with family trees that connected to my colonial ancestor. A few clicks of the mouse and a whole morning and mid-afternoon later my tree was just about complete. Then it hit me. As a historian, whose education taught the importance of tedious attention to detail, it seemed too easy. I carefully began to dissect the tree.

With a moan and a groan later I realized I had one James too many. Somewhere in my genealogy-induced haze and a speedy fast finger, I added an additional James to my family tree. Not only that, but the added James is stuck between two other James’ and now I don’t know which James is which! I know that one James is supposed to be James Sr. and the other James Jr. but which James is the Sr. and which is the Jr. and which is the entirely wrong James??! Oh the horror of the headache this “James Calamity” – as it will forever be known in history – has caused me!

Looking back, I should have known earlier that the easiness was a bit suspect. While these family tree websites seem like a great idea and promise you a quick and easy ancestry tree, they have to be used with discretion. You can’t completely rely on other related family trees no matter how correct they seem. While I am not going to press the delete button on my “one James too many” tree just yet, because I know some of it to be true, instead I am going to use it as a flexible outline for the future. A future that will involve dusty archives, muddy graveyards, misspelled names and a few laptops against the wall. In the sake of finding out the history and lives of my ancestors that future is worth the time and sacrifice…whether my bank account agrees is a separate issue.

If any of you genealogists out there have any tips or advice, please let me know!

Girls Dressed as Appliances, 1936

23 March 2013
Photo Credit: Skyscrapercity

Photo Credit: Skyscrapercity

Girls Dressed as Appliances at the Los Angeles Electrical Exposition 1936. Below is the photo found on another blog with each appliance labeled.

Labeled Appliances. Photo Credit: Costume in Wonderland Blog

Labeled Appliances. Photo Credit: Costume in Wonderland Blog

Operating room of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (c.1907)

22 March 2013
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

“Scene believed to be a re-enactment of the demonstration of ether anesthesia by W.T.G. Morton on October 16, 1846. Mr. Holman with surgeons: John Mason Warren, George Hayward, Solomon D. Townsend, John Collins Warren and James Johnson around man on operating table.”

President McKinley’s Parrot

21 March 2013
Photo

William McKinley by Courtney Art Studio, 1896 (source) & a yellow-headed parrot at the Vancouver Aquarium, Canada (source).

President William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, had a Yellow-headed Mexican parrot named “Washington Post.” Reportedly, the parrot was quite patriotic. When McKinley whistled the beginning of “Yankee Doodle” the parrot would complete it.

Sarah D. Bunting, “Presidential pet stories,” Animal Nation, February 22, 2012.

Supply Drop, Operation Junction City, 1967

20 March 2013
Photo Credit: U.S. Army

Photo Credit: U.S. Army

Photo is of an air drop of supplies in Operation Junction City during the Vietnam War. Operation Junction City was the largest U.S. airborne operation since WWII’s Operation Market Garden and was the only major airborne operation of the Vietnam War. It began on February 22, 1967 and lasted almost three months with the goal of destroying Vietcong bases and the Vietcong military headquarters for South Vietnam. While American forces captured large quantities of stores, equipment and weapons, it failed to be a turning point in the war.

In Their Words – Alexandre Dumas

19 March 2013
Photograph of Alexander Dumas by Nadar, 1855

Photograph of Alexander Dumas by Nadar, 1855 (Source)

“Those born to wealth, and who have the means of gratifying every wish, know not what is the real happiness of life, just as those who have been tossed on the stormy waters of the ocean on a few frail planks can alone realize the blessings of fair weather.”

- Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

“Wings for This Man” (1945)

18 March 2013

“Wings for This Man” is a propaganda film produced in 1945 by the U.S. Army Air Forces First Motion Picture Unit about the Tuskegee Airmen, the first unit of African-American pilots in the US military. It was narrated by Ronald Reagan.

Waiting for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 1950

17 March 2013

Dorothy Belaski (left) of Ozone Parks, Queens, and Patricia Caserta of Brooklyn hold their Erin Go Bragh flags while straining for the first glimpse of marchers in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, 1950. New York City held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 1762 when a group of Irish militia in Lower Manhattan marched a few blocks to a tavern. It has since become the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade as well as the oldest civilian parade in the world.

History of St. Patrick’s Day

17 March 2013

Odd Contests: Miss Atomic Bomb

16 March 2013
Copa Room showgirl Lee Merlin poses in a cotton mushroom cloud swimsuit as she is crowned Miss Atomic Bomb 1957 photograph. Merlin was the last and most famous of the Miss Atomic Bomb girls. Photo Credit: Don English/ Las Vegas News Bureau/Las Vegas Sun

Copa Room showgirl Lee Merlin poses in a cotton mushroom cloud swimsuit as she is crowned “Miss Atomic Bomb 1957.” Merlin was the last and most famous of the Miss Atomic Bomb girls. Photo Credit: Don English/ Las Vegas News Bureau/Las Vegas Sun

Lee Merlin poses in a cotton mushroom cloud swimsuit as she is crowned Miss Atomic Bomb in this 1957 photograph.

Lee Merlin, “Miss Atomic Bomb 1957.” Photo Credit: Don English/ Las Vegas News Bureau/Las Vegas Sun

Nevada became the center of the nation’s eye during the 1950s after President Harry S. Truman authorized a 680-square mile section of the Nellis Air Force Gunnery and Bombing Range for nuclear bomb testing. As each atomic blast lit up the Nevada scenery public interest increased. So much so that Americans around the country witnessed the first televised atomic blast in 1952. Atomic bomb fever began to infiltrate every aspect of society, from household goods to football teams naming themselves the “Atoms.”

Copa Girl Linda Lawson as "Miss-Cue" wearing an A-Bomb crown to illustrate another misfiring of the Operation Cue Bomb on May 1, 1955. She is surrounded by servicemen. Photo Credit: University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries

Copa Girl Linda Lawson as “Miss-Cue” wearing an A-Bomb crown to illustrate another misfiring of the Operation Cue Bomb on May 1, 1955. She is surrounded by servicemen. Photo Credit: University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries

Inspired by the cultural phenomena, Las Vegas decided to combine two of its major attractions – nuclear bombs and showgirls – into a beauty contest. The first atomic pin-up girl, Candyce King, appeared on May 9, 1952 in the “Evening Telegraph” (Dixon, Illinois) and the “Day Record” (Statesville, North Carolina) papers. She was called “Miss Atomic Blast.” In the spring of 1953, the city of North Las Vegas chose Paula Harris as Miss North Las Vegas of 1953 and gave her the nickname “Miss A-Bomb.”

Operation Cue, in 1955, drew much attention when it evaluated how well houses, items, food, mannequins, etc… would hold up from a nuclear blast at various distances. It was delayed multiple times because of high winds and was nicknamed “Operation Mis-Cue.” This inspired Sands Hotel Copa Girl Linda Lawson to be crowned “Miss Cue” on May 1, 1955. The title was “to illustrate another mis-firing of the Operation Cue Bomb.” Lawson’s ‘crown’ was a mushroom cloud.

Perhaps the most famous “Miss Atomic Bomb” was Copa Showgirl Lee A. Merlin. She was crowned, coinciding with Operation Pumbbob, while wearing a cotton mushroom cloud on the front of her swimsuit. The popular photograph by Don English was distributed nationally. She was the last “Miss Atomic Bomb.”

Nevada National Security Site, “Miss Atomic Bomb,” January 2011.

Truman exercises on the USS Missouri, 1947

15 March 2013
Photo Credit: NPR

Photo Credit: Bryon H. Rollins/AP/Courtesy of WHNPA/NPR

President Truman, wearing a shirt that reads “Coach Truman, Athletic Department,” leads exercises on the deck of the USS Missouri on his return trip to Washington from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 1947.

“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.”

Sources
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.

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