Posts tagged american history
Posts tagged american history
Cermak Mausoleum, Bohemian National Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
Photo by Mark Susina
Egyptian-style Deco mausoleum.
Mayor Anton Cermak Mausoleum - Bohemian National Cemetery - Chicago
Anton Cermak was mayor of Chicago, and was murdered in 1933. He was shot by an assassin who allegedly intended to kill Franklin D. Roosevelt, then the president elect of the United States. He’s buried in this art deco style mausoleum.
Click the link for a great, great set of images available online thanks to the Library of Congress.
Sharing this not because it’s Deco architecture but because it’s images of America from the 30s and 40s in color, which for many is a real eye-opener, making those times much more real and the people more relatable. It’s also a way to be aware that while all these swanky movies theaters were up and running and great skyscrapers being built, millions of Americans were living on subsistence, as migrant workers, sharecroppers, and living in shacks with no water, electricity or heat. (Which is why the 1939/40 World’s Fair’s image of a shiny future America without want was so popular!)
Anyway, enjoy the images!
These vivid color photos from the Great Depression and World War II capture an era generally seen only in black-and-white. Photographers working for the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) created the images between 1939 and 1944. We invite your tags and comments! Also, more identification information. (The current titles come from the agency’s original documentation, which was sometimes incomplete.) The FSA/OWI pictures depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, with a focus on rural areas and farm labor, as well as aspects of World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working. The original images are color transparencies ranging in size from 35 mm. to 4x5 inches. They complement the better-known black-and-white FSA/OWI photographs, made during the same period. The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division preserves the original photographs and offers the digital copies to ensure their wide availability. For more information about the collection and to see the approximately 171,000 black-and-white photos, visit: www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsac/
Relief Panels, Buffalo City Hall, Buffalo, New York
Photo by Wendy Darling
Four panels over the entrance doors, each depicting the hardships of American frontier life: 1) harvesting the land, 2) hunting deer, 3) weaving a basket, 4) building a log cabin.
Roosevelt was born Jan. 30, 1882.
Happy belated birthday, FDR! Yesterday marked the 32nd President’s 131st birthday. The four-term P.O.T.U.S. is best known for his New Deal plan during the Great Depression and his leadership during World War II. Despite losing the use of his legs at age 39 after a battle with Polio, Roosevelt is remembered for his sense of humor and optimism.
This Roosevelt campaign poster from 1936 can be found in the online collection of the Kentucky Historical Society.
This photo has been reproduced a billion times, almost never with any context. I know a doctor who has this framed on the wall of his office. So now you know: RCA Building (GE Building, 30 Rock), 1932, photo by Charles C. Ebbets.
“Lunch atop a Skyscraper”
Known as “New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam”, The photograph depicts eleven men eating lunch, seated on a girder with their feet dangling 840 feet above the New York City streets. The men have no safety harness, which was linked to the Great Depression, when people were willing to take any job regardless of safety issues. The photo was taken on September 20, 1932 on the 69th floor of the RCA Building during the last months of construction. Men are talking and smoking while taking out their lunch boxes and generally not paying any special attention to the unusual setting. The relaxed state of the construction workers paired with the backdrop of New York City has captivated viewers ever since it was first popularized. I love this photograph because it shows the dedication that these men had to build the skyscrapers of New York City. The overcast day gave the set a perfect example of diffused light. Wonderful photograph that captured one of most famous photographs during the Great Depression.
Photograph by Charles C. Ebbets
Decidedly NOT Deco, but still, Happy Birthday to NYC’s Grand Central!
From today’s NY Times article, "100 Years of GrandeurL The Birth of Grand Central Terminal":
One hundred years ago, on Feb. 2, 1913, the doors to Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public, after 10 years of construction and at a cost of more than $2 billion in today’s dollars. The terminal was a product of local politics, bold architecture, brutal flexing of corporate muscle and visionary engineering. No other building embodies New York’s ascent as vividly as Grand Central. Here, the tale of its birth, excerpted from “Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America,” by Sam Roberts, the urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times, to be published later this month by Grand Central Publishing.
Photo credit: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
U.S. Courthouse and Post Office, Meridian, Mississippi
Photo by James Patterson for The New York Times
Noticed this news item in the NY Times:
Even on a steamy humdrum Thursday afternoon, this city’s stately federal courtroom looks like the kind of place where momentous things could happen, as they once did. The legal campaign to integrate the University of Mississippi got under way here in May 1961, and it was here that a local posse of Klansmen who murdered three civil rights workers faced justice at the hands of their neighbors, the first time that had happened in Mississippi….
The 79-year-old building itself is not closing. Meridian’s main post office still takes up the ground floor, and residents would not let that go without a fight. But as in so many downtowns throughout the country, the central outpost that once reminded everyone that there was a federal government at work has over time been stripped of its purpose.
While I’m sharing some pictures of Atlanta’s past, thought I’d share some videos as well, like this 18-min. one on the New South of the 1950s. This documentary includes footage from Georgia at Louisiana, I can see, and probably other states. I gather from the second half of this show that Southern Bell was the sponsor.
Note the remarks about existing facilities having to be enlarged and things redone in the rush to progress. Many, many historic Atlanta buildings were lost in the 1950s. And of course note the bit about building the suburbs.
And there’s so much more in this video! Female auto workers, the Savannah River atomic plant, vintage transportation, telephone cable installation, phone operators, for example. (Also there’s so much not shown, like say, any black people.)
This Fabulous Century: 1920-1930
by Editors of Time-Life Books
The 1930s were bleak coming after the 1920s and the highs set there (and lows that were largely hidden). Seem familiar to anyone?
From Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression by Morris Dickstein:
In product design they used materials like chrome, plastic, and aluminum, not the precious materials of early Deco; they oversaw the transition of elegance from the luxury market to the wider world of ordinary consumption. In the process they became figures of vast cultural influence as well as commercial wizards who, in a stagnant economy, could somehow sell products that exuded elegance, optimism, and energy.
It was one thing to use a sheath of metal to give an aerodynamic look to the sleek locomotive of the new Twentieth Century Limited. It was quite another to give the same look to farm equipment or to a household iron, a pencil sharpener, or a cigarette lighter, associating them too with the aesthetics of the machine, the modern, the thrust toward a utopian future.
Working with curved lines, they used bullet shapes to suggest dynamic force and teardrop shapes to imply graceful flow. They could make a teapot look like Aladdin’s lamp and give rounded, futuristic lines to a toaster, a mixmaster, or the Bakelite portable radios that could be found in every modest American home when I was a kid in the 1940s.
These new industrial products and their designs paved the way for the postwar world by democratizing consumption itself.
Photos: 1930s toasters, all pulled from eBay.