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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shadow Of The Titanic

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Most accounts of the Titanic end with the rescue ship, the Carpathia, sailing into New York harbour in thick fog.  A new book Shadow Of The Titanic is concerned with how the disaster shaped the lives of some of  its 705 survivors.

Dorothy Gibson reunited with her lover, the rich, married film pioneer Jules Brulatour upon arriving in New York and determined to make a film of the disaster starring herself while wearing the same outfit she wore the night she escaped.  The film – Saved From The Titanic – was a huge hit. Soon afterwards, Gibson retired from acting and married Brulatour in 1917. Yet within a couple of months both started to seek out new partners. After Brulatour married the actress Hope Hampton in 1923, Dorothy decided to leave America for Europe. At first she enjoyed her hedonistic new existence in Paris. In 1934 she said, 'I fear it cannot go on like this always. I have had my dream life, and am sure a dark cloud will come and wash it all away.'  Her fear was realized when the Second World War broke out eventually leading to her imprisonment in a concentration camp in Italy.

In 1914, two years after surviving the tragedy, 42-year-oldTitanic stewardess Annie Robinson was sailing across the Atlantic to visit her daughter in Boston when, on the night of 9 October, the ship became shrouded in thick fog as the liner neared its final destination. The booming sound of the foghorn outside New York triggered awful memories of that fateful night in 1912.  She ran out of the dining saloon and up on to the deck the noise followed her like a death knell. She knew she had to end it all, and climbed over the rail and stepped out.

Annie was the first of ten Titanic survivors who committed suicide in the years after the disaster. Jack Thayer, who was 17 when he survived the Titanic, killed himself in 1945 when he was 50 by slitting his wrists and throat, after losing both his son Edward during the Second World War and his mother Marian Thayer, also a Titanic survivor.  'He started to suffer from depression,' his daughter, Julie Vehr, told me. 'It was a result of everything that had happened to him over the years. Eventually, it seems he suffered a nervous breakdown.'

Read on for more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2121744/The-Titanic-concentration-camps-suicides-breakdowns--The-terrible-toll-surviving-Titanic.html#ixzz1qiMPPtE5

Who Do You Think You Are? Rita Wilson

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An interesting night on Who Do You Think You Are?


When Rita Wilson travelled to Greece, the birthplace of her father, and Bulgaria where her father Alex, who was previously named Assan Ibrahimoff had moved to before leaving for the United States in 1949.



In tears at several instances upon discovering her father had previously married and that she had a half brother called Emil - tragically her father's wife died three days after the birth and Emil died mere months later.


She then discovered her father had been forced to join the military and then dismissed from the army and jailed for just over 2 years after he stole 28 plastic bottles. He was later interred in a labour camp in Bulgaria in 1946 after he tried to leave the country, and when he finally managed to escape he became an enemy of the state.


Rita also learned that her father’s half-brother has been found in Bulgaria. She met her uncle, Ferhat Ibrahimoff, now 96, as they hugged and cried together.




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2123126/Tom-Hanks-wife-Rita-Wilson-breaks-discovering-brother-died-baby-Who-Do-You-Think-You-Are.html#ixzz1qiHVcsNW

Queen mother born to family's French cook?

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Extraordinary claims that the Queen Mother’s real mother was her family’s French cook are to be made in a sensational new book.


Aristocratic author Lady Colin Campbell says the domestic help may have been ‘an early version of surrogacy’ for both Elizabeth Bowes Lyon and her younger brother David.

The cook, an ‘attractive and pleasant Frenchwoman’ called Marguerite Rodiere, gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth because her own mother Cecilia, who already had eight children, was unable to have any more.


The astonishing claims are contained in ‘The Queen Mother, The untold story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who became Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’, on sale next month.



The Queen Mother’s exact date of birth in August 1900 as the fourth daughter of Lord Glamis, later 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, has always been disputed.


It also remained unclear whether she was actually born in the back of a London ambulance or the family home, St Paul’s Waldenbury, in Hertfordshire.

Another puzzle has been why the Queen Mother, born the Honourable Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes Lyon, was given a French middle name.

In U.S. author Kitty Kelley’s notorious book The Royals, published in 1997, she suggested the Queen Mother was the daughter of a Welsh maid who worked in the family’s castle in Scotland.

But Lady Colin, who has herself had a colourful life after being raised as a boy during her early years in Jamaica, says the mother may have been another member of the household.


She writes: ‘For the fact is, royal and aristocratic circles had been alight for decades with the story that Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, while undoubtedly the daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, was not the child of his wife Cecilia, nor was her younger brother David, born nearly two years after her on 2nd May, 1902.


‘The two Benjamins, as they were known in the Bowes Lyon family (in a Biblical allusion to the brother of Joseph, who was himself the product of a coupling between his father and his mother’s maid) were supposedly the children of Marguerite Rodiere, an attractive and pleasant Frenchwoman who had been the cook at St Paul’s Waldenbury and is meant to have provided Lord and Lady Glamis with the two children they so yearned for after Cecilia was forbidden by her doctors from producing any more progeny.

‘Hence the nickname of Cookie, which the Duke and Duchess of Windsor took care to promulgate throughout international society once Elizabeth proved herself to be their most formidable enemy.’

Lady Colin continued: ‘The Duke of Windsor always maintained that he would never have revealed Elizabeth’s secret had he not discovered at the time of the Abdication Crisis, through Lord Beaverbrook, that Elizabeth was behind the scurrilous and utterly untrue rumour that Wallis (Simpson) had learnt secret sexual techniques in a bordello in China, and it was this which was the secret hold she had over King Edward VIII.







Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2123012/Queen-Mother-Fury-books-claim-her-brother-born-familys-French-cook.html#ixzz1qhw0Dlv2

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sunken Cities

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Yonaguni
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Venice is sinking faster than anticipated, according to a new study, and there’s evidence that the majestic metropolis is now tilting into the Adriatic to boot. If human engineering can’t catch up with natural forces in time, the popular tourist destination might someday slip under the sea, joining numerous other once-thriving cities lost beneath the waves. Find out more about some of these sunken ruins.




Helike


On a winter night in 373 B.C., a massive earthquake triggered a tsunami that engulfed the Greek city of Helike, submerging the busy cultural center and its inhabitants. For centuries, the story of Helike and its demise—known only through descriptions by classical writers—was interpreted as legend; still, archaeologists trawled the Corinthian Gulf for traces of the lost metropolis, hoping to find a snapshot of Greek civilization at its height and frozen in time. In 2001 researchers finally unearthed ruins and artifacts from Helike at an inland site, showing that a lagoon—not the ocean—covered the city after its destruction and subsequently dried up. Some scholars believe the real-life events at Helike inspired Plato to write about the fabled island of Atlantis.


Pavlopetri


Roughly 3,000 years ago, the Bronze Age port of Pavlopetri, located on the southern coast of mainland Greece, slipped beneath the waves as a result of gradual erosion, a tsunami or other mysterious factors. It was discovered in 1967 under less than 15 feet of water. In 2009 underwater archaeologists produced a complete digital map of Pavlopetri’s ruins, which include public buildings, residences, courtyards, streets and graves. Like the more recent Helike, Pavlopetri might have served as a model for Plato’s mythic Atlantis, some scholars believe.


Port Royal


A bustling shipping hub in southeastern Jamaica, Port Royal was founded by the Spanish in 1518 and captured by the English in 1655. Pirates and privateers flocked to the Caribbean city in the late 17th century, providing steady business for brothels and bars while earning Port Royal a wicked reputation. When a disaster of biblical proportions struck in 1692, some observers predictably likened the center of sin to Sodom and Gomorrah. Just before noon on June 7, an earthquake rattled Port Royal, causing the sand on which it was built to liquefy. Buildings and streets slid into the sea, creating what is now considered one of the western hemisphere’s most significant underwater archaeological sites. Thousands of people died in the disaster, and later attempts to rebuild Port Royal were stymied by tremors, fires, hurricanes and other catastrophes.


Yonaguni Monument


Now home to hammerhead sharks, a remarkable site off the coast of Japan’s Yonaguni Island has perplexed archaeologists and other experts since its chance discovery in 1987. Known as the Yonagumi Monument, it consists of a submerged stone pyramid reminiscent of temples in ancient Mesoamerican cities, surrounded by other structures resembling pillars and walls. The monument’s staircase-like features and sharp angles have led some theorists to speculate that human builders had a hand in the stunning underwater display, perhaps back when the region stood above sea level during the last Ice Age. Others maintain that the monument is entirely natural and consistent with typical sandstone erosion patterns, or that prehistoric people refurbished it by modifying an existing rock formation.


Baiae


Located on the Bay of Naples, the seaside resort of Baiae once attracted wealthy ancient Romans with its thermal springs, swimming pools, casinos and pleasant climate. Numerous rulers and dignitaries built magnificent villas there, including Julius Caesar and Nero; according to legend, it was also the site of Caligula’s floating bridge stunt in 39 A.D. Baiae was abandoned during a malaria outbreak in the 16th century, many years after its heyday. Volcanic activity has since caused the ancient city’s ground level to sink, plunging its ruins under water.

Georgian-Era British Sailors Lived on Ample Meat and Beer

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Britain was almost constantly at war in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and by the early 1800s its navy employed some 140,000 seamen and marines. Doling out food to so many hungry men—and ensuring it would keep during long, unpredictable voyages—was no easy task. From 1793 to 1815, it fell to a governing body known as the Victualing Board to establish weekly rations for British sailors stationed around the world.


Documents maintained by the Victualing Board belie the widespread perception that Georgian-era sailors barely scraped by on hardtack and rancid gruel. True, they ate hardtack—emblazoned, during Queen Victoria’s reign, with the monarch’s insignia—but they also drank an entire gallon of beer per day and consumed beef or pork four times a week. Along with kegs and salted meats, naval vessels carried dried peas, oatmeal, butter, cheese and sometimes even livestock for slaughter.

Records show that 18th- and 19th-century British sailors enjoyed a high-calorie, protein-packed diet superior to that of most working-class landlubbers, who typically tasted meat, beer, cheese and bread just once a week. But did the Victualing Board’s meticulous provisioning system remain intact when the going got tough on the high seas or in the thick of battle? To find out, researchers led by Mark Pollard from the University of Oxford performed an isotope analysis on bones from skeletons unearthed at naval cemeteries in Plymouth and Gosport, both in southern England. This type of test can determine what humans and animals ate during their lifetimes.

The results were consistent with the Victualing Board’s records, suggesting that British sailors ate more food—and especially more protein—than their working-class civilian contemporaries, the researchers reported recently in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. At the same time, however, the analysis showed that the men buried in Plymouth consumed items containing a specific carbon isotope, while those buried in Gosport didn’t. That isotope is found in tropical grasses such as corn and sugarcane, the team explained in the paper.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

60s Glamour Shots in Vanity Fair

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New Photos of Elizabeth Taylor

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Contact sheet with pictures of Taylor on the set of "A Place in the Sun."

The Spirit of Invention

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Founded in 1925, Bell Labs would employ 25,000 people worldwide, most of them concentrated in and around Murray Hill, N.J. No bottom-line pressures meant science could take its time, but often was ahead of its time.


The picture phone was at the 1964 New York World's Fair . . . nearly 50 years ago.

And when did you get your first cell phone, in the 1990s maybe? Even later? Well, Bell Labs devised the concept in 1947, and had an actual system up and running in Chicago in 1977.

Through the years, Bell Labs have received more than 17,000 patents - that's like one patent a day for 50 years.

Mad Men truth more outrageous than fiction...

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Women who worked on Madison Avenue through the Sixties insist that more sex went on in their offices than you’ll ever see on Mad Men. ‘It was in the air,’ one woman says. ‘You breathed it.’


Lots of romantic liaisons went on outside the office, too. The single account executives at Young & Rubicam had apartments in the city. The more senior — usually married — men, who turned out to be the real swingers, had glamorous homes with wives stashed away in them, so the Hotel Lexington became their favourite trysting spot.

It was just a few blocks from the agency, and was favoured because the front desk clerks didn’t raise an eyebrow when you asked for a key at noon and returned it at two. If you met fellow staff members coming through the lobby, you simply averted your eyes. It’s hard to believe such things went on — and so blatantly — in what we often perceive as less liberal times. But they did.


But why was sex so rampant, so flagrant, then? The main reason - the Pill became widely available, with doctors writing out prescriptions for single women as well as for married ones. Suddenly, women didn’t have to worry as much about getting pregnant.


The boss was in control of your salary, your raise, your career advancement... your life. If he wanted to go to bed with you, you had to ask yourself what mattered more: your self-respect or your career. It was a difficult choice to make. But it wasn’t always the men making moves on their secretaries — women did their fair share of seducing, too. The best way to get promoted from secretary to copywriter was for your boss to make it happen. And there were some women who believed the fastest way to make that happen was to make it with your boss.

 
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2120197/Confessions-mad-woman-Creme-menthe-lunch-obligatory-affairs-boss--woman-knows-office-life-REALLY-like-60s.html#ixzz1qBWL3LsO

Vintage Adverts

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Titanic Orphans: two brothers put on last lifeboat by father

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Titanic survivors

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They were placed on the lifeboat by their father - but it was the last time they ever saw him.


As the 100th anniversary of the disaster approaches, Michel and Edmond's incredible story of survival has been resurrected through a series of photographs documenting those who escaped.


The boys became known as 'Louis and Lola' - the only children to be rescued from the Titanic without a parent or guardian.

After placing them on the lifeboat, their father died during the sinking.


The boys' parents had separated in early 1912 and Marcelle was awarded full custody of the children. However, she allowed her sons to stay with their father over the Easter weekend and he instead decided to emigrate to the United States.



The three travelled to England following a brief stay in Monte Carlo before boarding the doomed ship.



In later life, Michel recalled his memories of the Titanic as a 'magnificent ship'.


Through a translation he said: 'I remember looking down the length of the hull - the ship looked splendid. My brother and I played on the forward deck and were thrilled to be there.


'One morning, my father, my brother, and I were eating eggs in the second-class dinning room. The sea was stunning. My feeling was one of total and utter well-being.


'I don't recall being afraid, I remember the pleasure, really, of going plop! into the life-boat. We ended up next to the daughter of an American banker who managed to save her dog - no one objected.
'There were vast differences of people's wealth on the ship, and I realised later that if we hadn't been in second-class, we'd have died. The people who came out alive often cheated and were aggressive, the honest didn't stand a chance.'



Immortalised in films and brought to life with exhibits throughout the world featuring artefacts from the cabins that now lay 12,415 feet below sea level, the ship is undoubtedly one of the most famous in history.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120129/The-Titanic-Orphans-Brothers-Michel-Edmond-Navratil-escaped-sinking-vessels-lifeboat.html#ixzz1qBOTsGz9

lost youth

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Working as an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, sociologist Lewis Hine documented working and living conditions of children in the United States between 1908 and 1924.



In a series of poignant photographs, Mr Hine documented children who were sent to work soon after they could walk, and were paid based on how many buckets of oysters they shucked daily.


The advent of industrialisation at the turn of the 20th century meant an exploitation of child labour, as factory workers often saw children as a cheaper, more manageable alternative to older workers.


In the course of several decades, Mr Hines, armed with a camera and a sense of compassion, documented the harsh conditions of child labourers, snapping shot after shot of child miners, factory workers, and seamstresses.



He covered around 50,000 miles a year, photographing children from Chicago to Florida working in coal mines and factories. All of his work at the time was for the National Child Labour Committee; he began the project in 1908.






Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119875/Lewis-Hine-Child-oyster-shuckers-inhospitable-working-conditions-borne-thousands-children-labour-laws-passed.html#ixzz1qBHJY3fy

Titanic Tale of Love and Loss

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Dan James looks at the memoirs of Titanic survivor Helen Candee.


Helen Candee, a New York divorcée, was a woman out of time: unconventional, beautiful and daring. By the time she stepped aboard the Titanic at Cherbourg on Wednesday 10 April 1912, she had already lived a life few other women of her era could dream of. Aged 53, with a handsome face and cool gaze, she boarded the waiting ship at dusk. A celebrated writer and interior designer, a leading light on the US social scene, she was a celebrity back home – her comings and goings were regularly reported in the press, and she was noted for her lively dinner parties.


She had brought up her two children single-handedly after divorcing her wealthy husband of 15 years in 1896. Having suspected him of infidelity, she had him tailed by private detectives, but their evidence wasn’t enough proof for the New York courts, so she returned to Oklahoma, where she had lived briefly, and secured a divorce there, this time citing her husband’s abusiveness and heavy drinking.

Her independent spirit led her into writing to support herself and her children. She produced a landmark of feminist literature, How Women May Earn a Living in 1900, at a time when most women were seen as needing protection by a strong, capable man. Then came her only novel – An Oklahoma Romance – alongside contributions to magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, on subjects ranging from agriculture to social etiquette.

When she moved from New York to Washington she added a new skill to her portfolio: interior design. Her popularity and good taste meant people were clamouring for her services, among them President Theodore Roosevelt and the Oval Office architect Nathan Wyeth, who consulted her on the décor of the White House’s West Wing. Soon she was writing books about design, decoration and tapestry.

She also caught the travel bug, and fell in love with Europe. It was while on a trip to Spain and Italy that she heard news that her son Harold had been injured in a railway accident. She had no idea how serious his injuries were. ‘If Harry was gone what were life worth?’ she was to write in a memoir. She booked a passage back on the first ship she could – Titanic.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2117733/Titanic-tale-love-loss-Memoirs-survivor-Helen-Candee.html#ixzz1qAURz743

 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Post War Chaos

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humiliation

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Just imagine living in a world in which law and order have broken down completely: a world in which there is no authority, no rules and no sanctions.


In the bombed-out ruins of Europe’s cities, feral gangs scavenge for food. Old men are murdered for their clothes, their watches or even their boots. Women are mercilessly raped, many several times a night.

Neighbour turns on neighbour; old friends become deadly enemies. And the wrong surname, even the wrong accent, can get you killed.

It sounds like the stuff of nightmares. But for hundreds of millions of Europeans, many of them now gentle, respectable pensioners, this was daily reality in the desperate months after the end of World War II.

In Britain we remember the great crusade against the Nazis as our finest hour. But as the historian Keith Lowe shows in an extraordinary, disturbing and powerful new book, Savage Continent, it is time we thought again about the way the war ended.


For millions of people across the Continent, he argues, VE Day marked not the end of a bad dream, but the beginning of a new nightmare. In central Europe, the Iron Curtain was already descending; even in the West, the rituals of recrimination were being played out.

This is a story not of redemption but of revenge. And far from being ‘Zero Hour’, as the Germans call it, May 1945 marked the beginning of a terrible descent into anarchy.

The question deserves to be asked - what became of the vanquished after the war?


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119589/How-neighbours-turned-anarchy-erupted-Europe-aftermath-WWII.html#ixzz1q3zuMkGs

Mad Men returns

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IN ANTICIPATION OF THE PREMIERE ON SUNDAY NIGHT ... MAD MEN FIESTA!!!

All hail the great 60s drama returns ....





'Mad Men'-inspired cocktails
http://bites.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/23/10829537-drink-like-don-try-these-mad-men-inspired-cocktails


The Draper papers: A ‘Mad Men’-worthy reading list
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/46823006/ns/today-books/t/draper-papers-mad-men-worthy-reading-list/

Friday, March 23, 2012

Freedom, flirtation and friendship - life was anything but sweet on the factory floor

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A new book poses the query ... what were the ‘good old days’? Were they when people left school knowing there would be a steady job down the road, felt contented with little, made their own entertainment, had raucous fun on a seaside day out and valued companionship more than money?



Or should we use the phrase with heavy irony - thinking of grinding poverty, limited expectations and lives broken by arduous work? Should we think heartwarming or heartbreaking?


The Sugar Girls leaves us with these hovering questions. This vivid and richly readable account of women’s lives in and around the Tate & Lyle East London works in the Forties and Fifties is written as popular social history, played for entertainment.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-2118831/The-Sugar-Babes-Freedom-flirtation-friendship--life-wasnt-sweet-factory-floor-THE-SUGAR-GIRLS-BY-DUNCAN-BARRETT-AND-NUALA-CALVI.html#ixzz1pzTm36Rq

Newly Discovered Mozart Composition

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A previously unknown piano work written by Mozart as a child was performed for the first time today.


The piece formed part of a 160-page book of handwritten music found last year after apparently being left in an attic for centuries, according to the Mozarteum Salzburg Foundation, which staged the event.


The lively 84-bar passage — marked 'allegro molto', or 'very quick' — was played on the Austrian composer's piano in a room of his Salzburg home, where he was born in 1756, by virtuoso Florian Birsak.

Part of a collection of notes from a village music teacher, the book was dated 1780 - 24 years after Mozart was born - and the manuscript bore the name 'Del Signore Giovane Wolfgango Mozart', Italian for 'Mr Wolfgang Mozart Jr'.


The music was found in a private house in Austria's Tyrol province by university lecturer Hildegard Herrmann-Schneider from the institute for Tyrolean music research at Innsbruck University.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119440/Newly-discovered-Mozart-piano-work-composed-child-performed-time.html#ixzz1pzQmKh2g

Steam Railway Signal Box Rebuilt In Victorian Style Demolished In 1956

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A team of volunteers have taken a step back in time to rebuild a Victorian-style signal box at a vintage railway station to replace a modern version.


The old-fashioned controller is said to be more reliable than 21st century technology used today, so the historic Swanage steam railway in Dorset have decided to go back to basics.

A team of 20 volunteers have spent four years building the new signal box at Corfe Castle station in Dorset, that harks back to a bygone era.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119356/Out-new-old-vintage-railway-station-rebuilds-Victorian-signal-box.html#ixzz1pzPGcf6F

An Era of Shocking Sexism

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Political correctness was a long way off for the advertising salesmen of Madison Avenue when they successfully pitched the brand campaigns of that era.


The genuine adverts at thw link from the 1960s were breathtakingly unconcerned with sexism as they appealed to men's macho side, using images of subservient women as a way to flog everything from crinkle-free trousers to questionably-patterned ties.

The popularity of hit series Mad Men, due to return for its fifth season, has kept many hooked on an era when drinks were strong, suits sharp...and women kept firmly in their place.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119086/Show-s-man-s-world--American-adverts-Mad-Men-era.html#ixzz1pzNmPPP4

Beatrix Potter Letter

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the iconic Peter Rabbit
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A charming letter written by Beatrix Potter to a young fan reveals how the children’s author was inundated with requests from youngsters to name her characters after their pets.


In a letter to a young girl named Phyllis, the writer tells of ‘heaps of letters’ from fans wanting their pets mentioned in her celebrated tales, including a pet crocodile.

Phyllis had asked the Peter Rabbit creator to use her pet rabbit Fluffy in a story.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119218/Charming-letter-written-Beatrix-Potter-young-fan-explains-inundated-requests-children-characters-pets.html#ixzz1pzH9nutL

Mondo Magic!!!!!

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quick detour for history junkie ...

As all Project Runway lovers know ... Mondo was robbed when he was made the runner up  to the winner in his season on Project Runway.



This time Project Runway All Stars put the crown where it justly belongs by declaring Mondo a bonified fashion insider!

New Series Ripper Street in 19th Century London

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Woohoo period drama lookout!

This thriller is set in London's east end in 1889 ~ when Jack the Ripper's identity was still a mystery.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2119275/Ripper-Street-Matthew-Macfadyen-Jerome-Flynn-work-set-bloody-new-series.html#ixzz1pxoaezwH

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Census Taking 1940

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Kensington Palace Restoration

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The ivory silk wedding dress worn by Queen Victoria in her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840 is displayed and then reflected in mirrors as part of the exhibition "Victoria Revealed" in the building where she was born, Kensington Palace in London.

Rare Photos 1930s & 1940s

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Amelia Earhart

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The State Department plans to join a new effort to find the plane of pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart, 75 years after she mysteriously disappeared over the South Pacific.


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will take part in a ceremony Tuesday morning announcing the joint public-private search at the State Department, The Wall Street Journal reports. The event, "Amelia Earhart, a Pacific Legacy," which is pitched as a celebration of the U.S.'s pan-Pacific ties, will be streamed live at 9 a.m. on the State Department's website, a spokesman for the agency said.

Earhart's twin-engine Lockheed vanished July 2, 1937, as she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, left New Guinea (now Papua New Guinea) on their way to Howland Island in the South Pacific as part of an attempt to circle the Earth.

Chaplin Mystery continues

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A letter Charlie Chaplin kept hidden in a locked draw for decades could finally solve the mystery of where the iconic film pioneer was born.



The letter, written to Chaplin in the Seventies, claims he was born on the 'Black Patch' near Birmingham rather than in London as he had publicly claimed.


Up until now, the true birth place of Chaplin has remained a mystery even the CIA and MI5 have been unable to crack.


The faded document was sent by Jack Hill, who lived in Tamworth, Staffordshire, and was only discovered in 1991 after the star's daughter inherited the desk it was concealed in.


In the letter, Mr Hill told Chaplin that he had been born in a caravan, in a gypsy community in Smethwick, West Midlands, which was ruled by a gypsy queen.


Now researcher Edward Ellis, from Manchester, is attempting to track down the history of Mr Hill to determine whether or not his claims have any basis.


Mr Ellis said: 'It’s a real mystery - he was investigated by MI5 and the CIA in the Fifties and they could not crack the nut.


'Because he didn’t have a birth certificate even Chaplin didn’t know where he was born.'


The film pioneer’s son, Michael, first revealed the existence of the letter in a BBC radio documentary broadcast last year.


d more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2117714/Was-Charlie-Chaplin-born-gypsy-caravan-West-Midlands-Letter-locked-away-decades-hold-answer-mystery-MI5-CIA-solve.html#ixzz1pnbC1g24

New Van Gogh

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Detective work by art historians has led to them discovering a new Van Gogh painting.



Experts made the find after X-raying a piece that had been attributed to an unknown artist.


The scan of the canvas, ‘Still life with meadow flowers and roses’, pictured below, uncovered an image of two wrestlers painted underneath. Knowledge of the painter’s period at a Belgian art academy combined to lead a team of researchers to conclude it was a Van Gogh.


The X-ray shows the wrestlers wearing loin cloths. Having models pose half-naked was a defining characteristic of the Antwerp academy where Van Gogh studied in 1886. It is thought the wrestlers were a subject the artist grew tired of and painted over.


The painting hangs in Holland’s Kroeller-Mueller Museum.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2117697/Art-historians-discover-new-Van-Gogh-testing-piece-previously-attributed-unknown-artist-theres-hidden-painting-underneath.html#ixzz1pnWTVihT

Friday, March 16, 2012

Saint Patrick ... a Runaway Tax Collector Turned Slave Trader?

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Legend has it St Patrick came to Ireland in the fifth century to spread the word of Christ – and banish snakes from its shores.



But as St Patrick's Day is celebrated today, it seems the patron saint's motives for leaving Roman Britain may have been less selfless than previously thought.


Researchers claim that St Patrick actually fled to Ireland to avoid becoming a tax collector. Once there, however, it is claimed he took up an even more dubious occupation – as a slave trader.


Patrick's father was a Decurion, a Roman official responsible for tax collection in Britain. But he used a bail-out clause in Roman law that allowed him to leave his post by joining the clergy on the condition the job was passed to his son.


Dr Roy Flechner, an expert in ancient and medieval history from Cambridge University, claims that Patrick, alarmed at the prospect of taking on the unpopular job, decided to emigrate.


As well as collecting tax (with any shortfall coming from the Decurion's own pocket), duties included road maintenance and the recruitment of soldiers.


'In the troubled era in which Patrick lived, which saw the demise and eventual collapse of Roman government in Britain in 410AD, discharging the obligations of a Decurion, especially tax-collecting, would not only have been difficult but also very risky,' said Dr Flechner, whose research is based on a new analysis of St Patrick's writings.


Patrick was forced to find a way of retaining some of the family estate – in the shape of slaves – to pay for his new life in Ireland.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2116153/Is-legend-St-Patrick-just-bit-blarney-He-runaway-tax-collector-turned-slave-trader-says-expert.html#ixzz1pLDyH8yP

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pre Coronation Portrait

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Previously unseen portraits taken of the Queen just before her Coronation have emerged for sale from the family of the photographer.


The 35 snaps, from March 1952, also include images of Prince Philip and the couple’s first two children, Charles and Anne.

George VI had just died and despite being in mourning the Queen looks relaxed and confident in the picture taken by Kenneth Clayton, who was commissioned by artist Lindsay Williams.

Mr Clayton was a well known photographer and he was allowed to keep the pictures as long as he didn’t release them for 30 years.


Not only did he keep to the agreement - but he refused to reveal them for the rest of his life.

He died in 2001 and his son had similar opinions, but now his grandson, Daniel Clayton, has decided the time is right in Jubilee year to put them on the market.

They are particularly important because they were taken before the Coronation, yet show Her Majesty with the crown on.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2115312/Before-Queen-Previously-unseen-portrait-Elizabeth-II-prior-coronation-goes-auction.html#ixzz1pC2imSfV

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Encyclopaedia Britannica To Cease Print Edition After 244 Years

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"The Encyclopaedia Britannica", the world's most famous print encyclopedia, has announced that after 244 years in print, it is no longer going to make new physical copies of its flagship publication. The 32-volume, $1,395 edition that the Chicago-based company put out in 2010 was its last; future versions will live entirely online.

This is an announcement that had been coming - according to the Financial Times, only 8,500 copies of the most recent edition were printed. The first edition appeared in 1768, in Scotland.

Nixon sentiment

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Richard Nixon is remembered for many things – but very rarely for being a softy.


However a series of love letters penned to his future wife long before his rise to power and fall from grace, reveal that at one time he was just another man in love.

Decades before he became known to some as ‘Tricky Dick’, it was Nixon making up the nicknames – sweet ones to his future bride in gushy love notes that reveal a surprisingly soft and romantic side of the man taken down by Watergate.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2113803/Richard-Nixons-love-letters-reveal-sensitive-side.html#ixzz1p1AAo09W

Monday, March 12, 2012

Titanic Site Mapped for First Time

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Researchers have pieced together what's believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-by-5-mile (5-by-8-kilometer) Titanic debris field and hope it will provide new clues about what exactly happened the night 100 years ago when the superliner hit an iceberg, plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic and became a legend.

http://www.history.com/news/2012/03/08/first-map-of-entire-titanic-wreck-site-sheds-new-light-on-disaster/

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Grisly History of the Oldest US Medical Museum

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These astonishing pictures show a range of gruesome maladies which have struck Americans over the last two centuries.


Some of them - like a deformed foetus and a two-headed baby - are so grotesque they almost look like carnival attractions.  But these curiosities were collected with a more noble aim in mind - they form part of what may be the oldest medical museum in the United States.

The museum opened in 1849 as part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, which is the U.S.'s oldest medical society, having been founded in 1787.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2113303/From-antique-tools-headed-baby-Grisly-history-oldest-medical-museum-U-S.html#ixzz1orz12sra

Great Depression in the South

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These pictures depict the life of black tenant farmers and their families who lived and worked in the rural South as the Great Depression drew to an end.



The colour photographs show African American men and women working in cotton plantations and tobacco farms, as well as pictures of them fishing and relaxing.


Taken during the World War II, the series of photos capture the life of workers and their families across several states, including Mississippi and Louisiana.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2113456/Great-Depression-Deep-South-Remarkable-photographs-African-American-labourers-daily-life.html#ixzz1oruLWINO

Ye olde photoshoppe

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A study of interesting images from down the years show how the art of photograph trickery has developed over time.

History is riddled with photographic fakes - Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Fidel Castro all indulged in a spot of pre-PC Photoshopping to eradicate enemies from pictures.

1,300 Year Old Mexican Cave Discovered

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Forensic experts say a mass grave discovered in southern Mexico with the remains of 167 people is around 1,300 years old, it was originally thought the grave was only 50 years old.


The experts and anthropologists said the skulls of the remains, found in a cave near the Guatemalan border, showed signs of artificial deformation practiced more than 1,000 years ago by natives in the area.

The Maya people, who lived in Southern Mexico and Guatemala, would use planks to flatten and elongate the skulls of infants.

The top Chiapas official from Mexico's national anthropology institute said the site shared characteristics with other cemeteries that date from the years 700 to 1200,



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2113394/Victims-war-drug-trafficking-Mystery-167-bodies-discovered-Mexico-cave.html#ixzz1orqNywRl

Cartoons from First World War

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A fascinating collection of cartoon paintings of German soldiers on the Western Front has been discovered - and shows a little-known humourous side to the Kaiser's war machine.


The images were drawn between 1914 and 1916 at the Somme and were for a senior German officer with a sense of humour.

The caricatures poke fun at the officer class and a strange recurring theme is the supplying of toilet rolls to soldiers.

The 80 coloured pictures are in pen, ink and gauche and were drawn by German artist Albert Heim.


Veronique Scorer, from auctioneers Bonhams, which is selling the archive, said: 'This is a fascinating record of life in World War One - from the side we usually don't see



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2113408/Humorous-German-cartoons-life-frontline-World-War-I-unearthed-theyre-funny.html#ixzz1ornTIf15

Thursday, March 8, 2012

100 Year Old Paper Planes

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A squadron of paper darts was discovered at St Anne's Chapel, Barnstaple - one of the Devon town's oldest buildings - and even predate the era of manned flight.


Manager, Peter Doel said: 'They are super things, not in the form you see them today. The kids have even used pen nibs to weight the nose.'



'Strictly speaking they probably not "aeroplanes" as they probably pre-date flight. They're wonderful to see.'


'They were probably thrown in to the eaves by the pupils - it would have been a naughty thing to do for them.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2111963/Schoolboys-100-year-old-paper-planes-pre-date-manned-flight-eaves-chapel.html#ixzz1oY8uumoo

Story of Dachau Survivor and his Liberator

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German youth ... atrocities done in their name
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Dachau survivor Ernie Gross, then only 85 pounds after nearly a year of sickness, abuse and constant hunger, had no doubt April 29, 1945, was his last day on earth.


Don Greenbaum, a soldier with Gen. George Patton's Third Army 283rd Field Artillery Battalion, arrived that day at Dachau expecting to seize ammunition, clothing and food that was kept for the Nazis notorious SS forces.

'As we got near Dachau, about a mile outside the camp, there was an odor we couldn't identify,' Greenbaum said. 'When we arrived, I saw the boxcars. They were full of bodies.'


History would come to call it the Dachau death train: some 40 cattle cars holding more than 2,000 men and women evacuated from another camp — and left to die on the train — in the final weeks of World War II.

'We had at that time never heard the expression 'concentration camp,' we never heard of a death camp,' Greenbaum said. 'None of us had any idea.'


Gross, a Romanian Jew, was 15 when he and his family were taken from their home, deported to a ghetto in Hungary and eventually packed on a standing-room-only boxcar to Auschwitz in 1942.

At the urging of a man next to him as they waited in line to be processed, he lied and told the SS officer he was 17.

Any younger and he'd be deemed incapable of hard labor and, he was told, immediately killed.

'The same guy who told me to lie said to me, 'Do you see that smoke in the sky where the sun cannot get through? This is going to be your parents in about two hours,' he recalled. 'My parents and younger brother and younger sister ... that's the last time I saw them.' Of his two older brothers also sent to labor camps, one — his favorite — also died.
In a state of starvation, and after months of daily beatings and backbreaking work, then-16-year-old Gross was shoved onto another boxcar, this time headed to Dachau, near Munich. It was supposed to arrive a day before the liberation, on April 28, but American bombings delayed the train.


When he arrived the next day, barely able to walk, Gross knew he would soon be murdered: hanged, shot, gassed, he didn't know. He was so close to death that he didn't care.

'We were standing in this long line and we already knew where we were going,' he said. 'I was close enough that I could see the crematorium and, all of a sudden, I see the German soldiers throwing down their guns and running away.'

The first contingent of Americans had arrived.

'If they would have come an hour later, I would not be here to tell this story,' Gross said in accented English underscoring his eastern European roots. 'They took me right away, they knew I am falling apart, and they put me in a sanitarium to recuperate.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2110097/Dachau-survivor-liberator-meet-Pennsylvania-time-nearly-67-years-later.html#ixzz1oY6CWWHF