A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, Science, History, Math, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing |1.6 million words, 7000 images, 3.6 million hits| Press & appearances in The Times, The Paris Review, Le Figaro, MENSA, The Economist, The Guardian, Discovery News, Slate, Le Monde, Sci American Blogs, Le Point, and many other places... 3,000+ total posts
I have not been a very faithful blogger to the Daily Dose of Dr. Odd series on this blog--certainly not from want of material, because when you allow yourself to see and record it then it is all around you; probably it is because there is so much material that it just washes over a person, like unexpected moonlight.
Anyway, I opened this 1926 volume of Popular Mechanics right at page 636, and this remarkably unnecessary use of, well, a hat. A similar design with little bottles of Scotch might make more or less sense--and what ever it turned out to be didn't matter one way or the other.
Pueblo Bonito--built between 840-1100 SCE-- is a ruin of the ancestral Puebloan peoples and is located in northern New Mexico. It is situated on a small rise in the long Chaco Canyon, and I'd say that viewing the ruins from photos or maps doesn't convey the grandeur as you approach it walking up the slight rise--it really does sit prettily in its environment, and is very impressive. (The ruins are about 50 miles east of Canyon de Chelly and about the same distance from the Four Corners.)
This image--the first ever published of the structure?--appeared via the military and government exploring expedition and published in the report Journal of a military reconnaissance, from Santa Fé, New Mexico, to the Navajo country, by J.H. Simpson. Simpson was in charge of the exploring party, assisted by the guides Sandoval (Navajo), Hosta (Jemez Pueblo), and Carravahal (Mexico)1.
The artwork is by Richard Kern (d. 1853) who along with his brother Edward (1822/3-1863) led extraordinary and near Zelig-like lives of exploration, and were among the first to provide accurate, scientific visual reports of the environment, architecture, and people in the Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Colorado areas (and especially in the Four Corners region).
Full text of the report can be found here: https://archive.org/details/journalamilitar00simpgoog
This is one of the many images made for the work, undertaken under great duress at times, and under severe hardships, by Richard and Edward Kern during this reconnaissance of the Navajo lands of the Southwest. The remarkable thing is not only how they survived, but also how truthful the published images are to the original drawings.
And the original black+white wash, found int eh collections of the Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia:
[Source: Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Everett Sale Library http://www.ansp.org/research/library/archives/0100-0199/kern146/]
And the text associated with the drawing, pp 40-42:
There is a long history of portraying California as an island, and this may be one of the most obscure instances. The source is not known (though ca. mid/late 17th c), but it seems to me to be a depiction of Dutch East India Company medallions (depicting city views of Leyden, Harlem, and Breda), and the California map turns up on the reverse of one of them, as bottom. The original is only about 2.5" in diameter--here it is, enlarged:
Antonio de la Ascensíon is credited with first giving flight to the idea that the California Peninsula was in fact an island--and so, beginning in 1620, California would frequently make guest appearances on maps as an island. (Fray Antonio was born in Salamanca in 1573/4 and studied there and at the College of Pilots in Seville; he was ordained in the Order of Discalced Carmelites, and sent off to Mexico. As a cosmographer he accompanied Sebastian Vizcaino (1548-1624) on his expedition to California to find a good port for Spanish galleons coming from Manila, which is when Antonio produced his diaries with the famous island maps.) This map was created during a period where there was heavy competition for trade routes and geographical knowledge was actual currency, so there was some amount of cartographic information that was proprietary. When the abbot's map was lost to/and recovered by the Dutch, the changes that were made to California were codified and published--the Spanish thought it not necessary to correct the misinformation. Perhaps. In any event, it seems plausible that the Spanish crown had no interest in involving itself with what may or may not have been the loss of proprietary information, and so let the island business slide. Until1751, when the King of Spain issued a proclamation saying that California was indeed not an island.
This practice continued to about 1747, when there was more than ample evidence to suggest that the island status of California was erroneous--still, it took several decades for the last of the island-maps to make its appearance.
The full image (of the engraving, the original of which is available at the blog's bookstore, here.
The content of this antique print was expected (on some level) though it was still surprising. "Domitian's Naumachina or Naval Amphitheatre" is from an unknown source though the basis of the image has been used and reused a number of time in the 18th century--I expect this one to be mid-18th or so. Domitian was not the happiest of Caesars, and from time to time engaged in enormous spectacles, which may or may not have included scenes like that below, flooding the amphitheater and launching ships for combat and amusement of the spectators. Or not--the issue is evidently a debated one among people who know this period; the image, however, is interesting.
The following--describing Domitian and his compounded public display interests is from -Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts from the Sources. II. Rome and the West, edited byWilliam Stearns Davis (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1913, pp. 194-195, Source: http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Domit.html
The original print is available for sale at the blog bookstore, here.
"Despite their control of the army and the subservience of the Senate, the average Emperor quailed before the hootings and ill will of the Roman mob. Thus Domitian (81-96 A.D.), a bad and tyrannical Caesar, tried to win popularity by providing the idle masses of the capital with their favorite games and arena massacres."
"He frequently entertained the people with the most magnificent and costly shows, not only in the amphitheater, but in the circus; where, besides the usual chariot races, with two or four horses abreast, he exhibited the imitation of a battle betwixt cavalry and infantry; and in the amphitheater a sea fight. The people too were entertained with wild-beast hunts, and gladiator fights even in the night-time, by torchlight. He constantly attended the games given by the quaestors, which had been disused for some time, but were revived by him; and upon those occasions, he always gave the people the liberty of demanding two pair of gladiators out of his own [private] "school," who appeared last in court uniforms."
"He presented the people with naval fights, performed by fleets almost as numerous as those usually employed in real engagements; making a vast lake near the Tiber, and building seats around it. And he witnessed these fights himself during a very heavy rain."
I've long found this book (Die Polizei in der Karikatur, by Fritz Hellwag, published by Gersbach & Sohn, Berlin, 1926) interesting, though not interesting enough to go looking for the other nine (!) volumes in this slim series1. The images of the police are at best slightly benign, but then almost entirely mostly-negative, with a major dollop of vicious and crushing.
Truth be told I bought it for the rear cover design/medallion:
For a long time I've been meaning to begin a series on Weimar Germany, mostly through the long run of Illustrirte Zeitung (Leipzig) that I have here covering WWI and then through that 1919-1932 period that is so, well, "full". Perhaps that can begin soon. The political/social crush of the 1919-1929 period was remarkable, and the decade+ as presented in the IZ is (as its name states) very illustrated...
1. The others in the series--edited by Dr. W. Abegg, a high-ranking police official--include [with notations "672 abb." meaning "62 illustrations", "125 S." meaning "25pp", and "Bd." "meaning "volume"]; Die Polizei in Einzeldarstellungen including Band 1: Polizei und Volk (von Ernst van den Bergh, 32 Abb., 119 S.); Bd. 2: Geschichte der Polizei (von Kurt Melcher, 43 Abb., 119 S.); Bd. 3: Polizei und Politik (von Bernhard Weiss, 140 Abb., 160 S.); Bd. 5: Polizei und Wirtschaft (von Julius Hirsch u. C. Falck, 83 Abb., 167 S.); Bd. 6: Polizei und Verkehr (von Erich Giese u. H. Paetsch, 207 Abb., 198 S.); Bd. 7: Polizei und Technik (von Franz M. Feldhaus, 80 Abb., 134 S.); Bd. 8: Polizei und Kind (von H. Degenhardt u. M. Hagemann, 65 Abb., 124 S.); Bd. 10: Polizei und Mode (von Max von Boehn, 124 Abb., 119 S.); Bd. 11: Polizei und Zensur (von H. H. Houben, 62 Abb., 141 S.); Bd. 12: Die Polizei in der Karikatur (von Fritz Hellwag, 178 Abb., 125 S.).
Earlier in blog I wrote a post ("Things They Took to War, 1915") about what the soldiers of the U.K. carried into battle. In many ways it was inspirational and heartbreaking to see what there soldiers marched off with to meet their fate. I've stumbled into another visual record like this, though this time for the U.S. just before our involvement in WWII, appearing in the July 1941 issue of Popular Mechanics.
I reckon that this soldier weighs 148 pounds. which means that his gear amounted to about a third of his body weight. I suspect that one of the first things these soldiers learned was what they actually needed to carry, and how to make whatever that was to be quiet and non-reflective. Of course this gear would change in about six months, and change again shortly after that.
For example this private was using the M1917 helmet, which would within months be replaced by the steel M-1 helmet--over 22 million of these helmets would be made by September 1945.
That's a lot of helmets. End-to-end in a line they'd stretch from NYC to L.A. and halfway back. On the other hand that number represents about 1/3 of the total war dead in WWII.
In the heat of the Battle of Britain (September 7, 1940 to May 21, 1941) a contribution was made to the women of the U.K. by Mrs. Frances Ruskin of NYC--well, sort of a contribution, or at least a suggestion of something bearing some resemblance to camaraderie. "Light and dark colored air raid suites", with adjustable hoods and deep pockets outfitted with blast plates, and made "fireproof" by a "treatment" from du Pont. This short note appeared in Popular Mechanics in May, 1941.
Dr. Edward Jarvis (1803-1884) conducted a study1 in 1866 to determine how much a factor distance from an "insane hospital" was in regards to people using the facility. It sounds like an obvious-enough question with a probably-obvious answer, but these things are really never so until someone actually looks at the data and extracts an answer. And so Dr. Jarvis performed this function, answering the question once and for all that yes, indeed, the further away you are from a facility the less likely you are going to be to use it.
For example, in my own state of North Carolina, Dr. Jarvis breaks down the rather long and narrow state into five sections, and then lists the number of people per section making use of the state facility in Raleigh.
This item can be purchased from the blog's bookstore, here.
The findings by section and distance as follows:
I, Wake county, including Raleigh; 1 in 4,875 residents used the state hospital
II, 50 miles distant; 1 in 6,433
III, 50-100 miles "from the asylum"; 1 in 9,707.
IV, 100-150 miles from Raleigh; 1 in 10,982
V, 150-250 (+) miles; 1 in 45,790.
This is pretty much consistent with the few other states that I checked.
Jarvis conducted another study that also conclusively stated that the closer people are to an asylum that the more they are subjected to the idea of being able to help/cure the people attending the institution.
Jarvis had a few pages of analysis at the end, establishing a "law of nearness" on the use of facilities. He established that just because the institution is equally available to all (white) people doesn't mean that it will be used equally by all. He suggested that institutions be established in different sections of the state to help make it possible for all people in a state to use the state asylum.
Again, something isn't obvious and correct until it is.
This was some early and instructive medical statistics work conducted by Jarvis, who in addition to being an M.D. served from 1852 to 1884 as president of the American Statistical Association. He completed this survey not long after having tabulated the national statistics of mortality for the Eight U.S. Census (of 1860).
1. JARVIS, Edward, M.D. "Influence of Distance from and Nearness to an Insane Hospital on its Use by the People." Offprint from the American Journal of Insanity, XXII, January 1866, pp 361-406. This publication paginated 1-46.
I wish there was more time so that I could scan and post the contents of this pamphlet, though sometimes you can get a pretty good insight into a work by reading the index--this is one of those times:
This pamphlet may be purchased through the blog's bookstore, here.
It is a tough go.
I had a difficult time categorizing this pamphlet outside of the obvious "history of medicine" category (broad, I know, but this is mainly a physics/maths place). I did choose "History of Fear" as a category because in many cases the insane--and especially the unreachably insane, and beyond even that, the poor and unreachable insane--because there was little these people could "offer" to the world on the other side of their eyeballs other than the reminder that this condition could happen to anybody; that, and of course the state of physical fear because the medical community didn't know what to do with these people for the most part. This becomes painfully obvious before a reader makes it past the two pages of the index.
Provision for the Insane Poor. Extract from the Report of the Board of Public Charities for 1874. Harribburg; B.F. Meyers, State Printer, 1875. 9x5", 24pp, original printed wrappers. Deaccession stamp on rear wrapper; also s small oval "Library of Congress/Smithsonian Deposit" stamp on the title page. Four copies located by WorldCat: Duke, University Chicago, NY Academy of Medicine, College of Physicians of Philadelphia.