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Already by the spring of 1864. the Union dead had completely filled the military cemeteries of Washington and Alexandria. Secretary of War Stanton ordered the Quartermaster General, Montgomery Meigs, to choose a new site. Meigs was a Georgian who had once served under Lee in the peacetime army, but he had developed an intense hatred for all southerners who fought against the Union he still served. Without hesitation, he picked Robert E. Lee's lawn at Arlington for the new army cemetery and ordered that the Union dead be laid to rest within a few feet of the front door of the man he blamed for their deaths, so that no one could ever again live in the house.

In August, Meigs personally inspected the site and was furious to find that he had been disobeyed: officers stationed there had buried the first bodies out of sight, in a distant corner of the estate once reserved for the burial of slaves. He immediately ordered that twenty-six Union coffins be brought to Arlington and then watched personally as they were lowered into the earth in a ring around Mrs. Lee's old rose garden. Later, he would order built at the center of that garden a Tomb of the Unknown Dead, filled with the anonymous bones of eleven hundred soldiers, gathered from unmarked graves on battlefields within twenty-five miles of Washington.

In October, Meigs's own son, Lieutenant John R. Meigs, killed by Confederate guerrillas in the Shenandoah Campaign, was buried in his father's old commander's lawn.

The men Grant was sending to fight Robert E. Lee were being buried in Robert E. Lee's own front yard. That yard became Arlington National Cemetery, the Union's most hallowed ground
. - The Civil War, Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns, & Ric Burns

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A man in England was cleaning out his grandfather's possessions and found these wonderful photos of his honeymoon in pre-WWII England.

Come back to an idyllic land.....Collapse )


In honor of the Olympics, here are a few ice skating images of the past.

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I found these photos online at the San Francisco Chronicle - all dating from 1914.

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I am a sucker for old-fashioned heart-shaped candy boxes. The gaudier, the better. I don't know why I love them so much, other than we never had them in the house when I was a kid. Well, actually, I think we did have them once or twice, but my mother had Good Taste and refused to get the really frou-frou ones. I do have one - it's yellow and I keep old ticket stubs in it.

Here is a collection of such boxes, just in time for Valentine's Day.Read more...Collapse )


The caption said 1905 but I am not sure about that; however, it's definitely weird.

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This looks like the 1940s. I guess the tall kid is a dunce, the little kid is a cowboy who will suffocate soon, and the girl is - masked?

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From the 1950s. This would be scarier if the day wasn't so relentlessly sunny.

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These masks look glued on.

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The littler kid looks disturbing, like his head is really, really small.

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I recognize the witch, but I don't have any idea what the other kid is supposed to be.

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Definitely store-bought masks. All lined up on a sofa in 1970s color, they're disturbing.
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I don't know if that's a clown or a dunce or what with two Bo-Peeps.

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I had a bunch of Halloween photos to post, but then I came across some really scary stuff. These are all mid-century, and I am assuming that some poor schmuck actually did have to eat at least a bite or two. Not that this is all bad; it's just the WTF nature of the photography. Mostly.

Here, it's the WTF nature of sticking what appears to be raw spinach in the center of a frozen fruit salad. It looks as out of place as a squid at a quilting bee. Why spinach? Why not tennis balls or a bottle of aspirin?

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Prune whip. I like prunes and prune cake, but this is just wrong.

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Fish balls. Fish pudding! Overexposed photography for the win!

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This doesn't actually look bad; it does look like a whole lot of work for what is essentially corn bread topped with ham and cheese. Except first there's a layer of beans on top of the cornbread, so you have beans and ham and cheese on cornbread. Which brings up the question: why do we need cornbread topped with beans and ham and cheese?

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It says baked eggs with potatoes. It looks like eggs had a bad experience while skydiving while the potatoes went to a stylist.

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Why attempt to gussy up tuna casserole? Do you really think it'll be more attractive served in a green speckled canister?

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Halloween costumes from the 1910s

I found these via the National Geographic website. I think you'll agree that they all share qualities of innocence and beauty that is tempered by weirdness. I've included the National Geographic's comments. The original article with links to assorted Halloween trivia is here.

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Decked out for Halloween, a masked woman on roller skates—most likely a random addition to her costume—poses in 1910.

Masquerade parties in the United States were much more common a hundred years ago, when people dressed up not just for Halloween but also for several other holidays, including Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve, according to Lesley Bannatyne, author of the forthcoming book Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night.
Private social clubs often threw Halloween parties for their members, as it was the first major holiday after most people had returned from their summer homes, Bannatyne noted.
That said, it's "not like Halloween [in the early 1900s] was an East Coast phenomenon or a high-society phenomenon"—people of all classes donned costumes across the country, even in small Western mining towns, she said.
The "early 20th century also was the beginning of a real democratic movement, a push toward a popular culture," Bannatyne said, so Halloween was "very egalitarian—everyone celebrated it in their own way."

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A person in a ghost costume stands with a table full of Halloween decorations in a rural U.S. schoolhouse in 1905.

Nature often inspired Halloween costumes and decorations a century ago, with cornstalks (as seen above), vegetables, tree branches, and leaves showing up as common elements, according to Bannatyne.
Halloween was originally perceived as a "rustic, country holiday," especially during the U.S. Victorian period, about 1840 to 1900, she noted.
"Overwhelmed by the fallout of industrialization, [Victorians and early Halloween revelers] sought out a simpler time where people were more connected to the land and the natural world.
"The quaint, old-world, country nature of Halloween appealed to them."

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Part of an old U.S. Halloween tradition, blindfolded children attempt to put out a candle in a photograph dated to the 1900s. The game, probably called "blow out the candle," is often mentioned in early Halloween party books, Bannatyne said.
Halloween in the U.S. was mainly a celebration for children until the premiere of the 1978 slasher flick Halloween, when the holiday "became paired with contemporary horror," she added.
This new association with bloody violence—and the attendant gory costumes and decorations—"opened up the holiday for adults and older children to celebrate, [and] made [it] more popular."

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Possibly conjuring a witch, sorcerer, or clown, one woman's 1910 Halloween costume (pictured) has several possible meanings, according to Bannatyne.
The star and moon icons, for instance, may reflect a fascination with mysticism and magic, which have been connected to the "spooky aura" of Halloween for centuries, Bannatyne said.
"Many of the first Halloween costumes reflected people's interest in the exotic, such as other cultures," she said. "You often find Egyptian-inspired costumes, for example, because of the mystic association with ancient Egypt."
Likewise, she added, this costume's celestial symbols could represent night—"the domain of Halloween."

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Women wearing improvised witch costumes line up for a photograph in the U.S. in 1910.
"Witches and Halloween have been tied together in the public's imagination since at least 16th-century Scotland," Bannatyne said. At that time, "you begin to find poems such as Alexander Montgomerie's 'The Flighting of Polwart,' where witches ride through the night on All Hallow's Eve."
"Also, costumes were always homemade at first," she noted. "People only began to buy manufactured costumes in the second and third decades of the 20th century, when a few savvy companies—Dennison and Beistle were the first—became aware that money could be made from Halloween decorations."

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Costumed girls—including one swathed in swastikas—smile for the camera on October 25, 1918, on the way to a Halloween dance pageant. The swastika had different meanings before the rise of the Nazi party in the mid-20th century—for one, it's an ancient symbol for life in some Indian religions, according to Columbia University.
"Most [U.S.] civic and private organizations in the first half of the 20th century"—such as dancing schools, churches, women's groups, and military groups—"all hosted Halloween parties for children," Bannatyne said.
"It was partly an attempt to keep children busy on Halloween, so as to cut down on some of the mischief that happened at night."

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A U.S. girl bobs for Halloween apples sometime in the early 1900s.

Due to Halloween's rural origins—its precursor, Samhain, was marked 2,000 years ago in Celtic Europe—the harvest-time holiday has often been associated with apples, nuts, and cabbages, Bannatyne said.
Today Halloween is a "rogue holiday," not attached to any person, ethnicity, or event, according to Bannatyne. Because of that, it's often a "cultural bellwether" for what happens in U.S. society.
For instance, on Halloween 2001, right after the September 11 terrorist attacks, more families than usual went trick-or-treating—for example as firemen—to show their "lack of intimidation," she said.


I love San Francisco and was fortunate enough to live there for a while. I found these photos of some of the old-time restaurants that I thought were just lovely.

The bar at the Palace Hotel, 1935. Still there.

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Burgers at Sloat and 47th, circa 1940.

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Mayes Oyster House, 1953. Still in business.

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The late and very lamented Clown Alley. THE BEST HAMBURGERS IN THE WORLD.

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The Baldwin Hotel Bar, circa 1880. The hotel burned in 1898 and the Flood Building stands there now.

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Tapestry Room at the St. Francis, circa 1910. After years of renovations, this space is now occupied by a Victoria's Secret.

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The Cliff House, July 1956. Still there but not nearly as charming.

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holiday wrapping paper

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