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This is what printing looked like, once upon a time, a great and giant mass, tended by works, massive sheets of paper flying this way and that, smoke from a steam engine drive (somewhere)--heavy, loud. Accurate. A temple of texts (apologies to William Gass). The illustration is from Robert Hoe's A Short History of the Printing Press and of Improvements in Printing Machinery from the Time of Gutenberg up to the Present Day (1902) and exhibits a ten cylinder rotary type-revolving press
In addition to being a state-of-the-art (and above that, really) printing press it is in image a generator of metaphors--there's certainly plenty to go around, even on just a surface investigation of the woodcut. You can easily see a feeding-the-beast scenario in there--for news or for technology or steam or motion or whatever else), as well as darker interpretations, making the printing press into a spider as well; also, there's humans being subservient to the god of technology from whom all good things come, and so on. I'd really just like to feel one of those gigantic newspapers in my hands, fresh off the press...
I wanted to pass along these very interesting maps that appear in Allan R. Pred Urban Growth and the Circulation of Information, 1790-1840 (Harvard, 1973) because they give a quick and elegant view of how long it took to get to various parts of the country in the first part of the 19th century.
First, Rates of Travel, 1800:
and its complement, Rates of Travel 1830:
[Note: all travel time based on starting point in New York City.]
Its interesting to see with just improvements in travel excluding the introduction of railroads and (for the most part) canals that travel time was basically cut in half in about thirty years' time. For example, in 1800 it would take roughly four weeks to get to New Orleans, and then six weeks to arrive in Iowa and the Upper Peninsula. By 1830, that time was two weeks to NO, and three for the other two locations. In 1800, it was a five day trip to the northern Outer Banks in North Carolina; that would be cut to two days by 1830. The trip in 1800 to the vicinity of Savannah and the northern part of Florida was a two week ordeal; by 1830, that time had fallen to 6/7 days. The Mississippi was reachable in five weeks in 1800; in 1830, that time was cut to two weeks. This as I said would all change drastically over the next three decades, once the railroad system became slightly mature.
And here, expanded to 1857:
By 1857 one day's travel time has been blasted to a ring encompassing the southern half of Maine, partially into Ohio and south into the northern part of North Carolina. Two days of travel will get the traveller deep into Michigan and parts of Wisconsin, and half-way through North Carolina and South Carolina (excluding the mountain region in Western NC). Three days will now get us to northern Florida, halfway through Georgia and Tennessee, and into the Midwest, past the Mississippi River. Beyond the basic reach of the railroad at this point is the rest of the country, and harder going, though one week of travel will get you deep into the central part of the country, where with some difficulty you would be able to find your way to southern California in three weeks, and the Pacific regions of Washington Territory in six weeks--basically, an entirely new world of travel and the spread of goods, service and information, not the least of which was aided by the spread of the railroads, which increased from 3,000 miles of track in 1840 to more than 30,000 in 1860.
Again, I really just wanted to share this display of information because I have found them to be useful in the past, and the info doesn't seem to be all that wide-spread.
My source for the maps has been varied from web sources, but the original work seems to have been published in Charles O. Paullin and John Wright, Atlas of the Historical Geography of the U.S., published by the Carnegie Institute of Washington, D.C. (1932), pages 138a, 138b, 138c, 138d.
I found this rather, um, provocative pamphlet that asks, right up front on the cover of the thing, "Should the Christian Church Resign?" The author, who I think is the man holding the placard on the cover, is Benjamin H. Dinnick (Cardiff, Wales) who published the work in the 1930's.
I'm reproducing the cover and one of Mr. Dinnick's impenetrable diagrams--I can't really say what he was after or what he was for, but I find the images interesting.
This broadside was an appeal to like-minded people to contribute to a fund to help relieve thew dire conditions of textile worker strikers in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1926. There were more than 16,000 people involved in this sometimes-brutal strike, people who were trying to stay even in their lives, looking for a little more money and a little better working conditions than what they had. The Passiac (a working city just south of Patterson in an industrial triangle section of the state) strikers were moving against a number of textile (wool and silk) mills there, trying to force management to pay them something closer to the $1400 annual income for a family of four to survive.
[This great piece of American ephemera is available for purchase from our blog bookstore, here.]
Most workers there were making $1,000-$1,200 a year ($800-$1,000 if the worker was a woman, and about half of them were) for 50+ hours of labor per week. The result was that the workers could not afford good housing and food, and those disadvantages paid off in high rates of tuberculosis, very high incidence of child mortality, and a low average life expectancy. The strike began slowly in January 1926, with the mills responding with vicious attacks by paid thugs and by police. IT was a long and involved process for the strikers, with the strike lasting its way for another 14 months, finally getting choked out in March 1927. It looks like there were some victories, but those seem mainly pyrrhic to me--at the end of the process many of the strikers were hired back but soon terminated, replaced by other workers who agreed to work for less.
There's quite a bit written on this strike, and most seem to say that it was an important event in the history of "labor relations", and that it was the first time that a Communist-led strike succeeded in the United States, (There is a complex legacy as to who the leadership was for this strike, but the end result is that, at the end, the Communists were in charge.)
But what I wanted to say here about this broadside was the communal effort involved with keeping the strikers (and the strike) going. The strikers needed money to live, as there was certainly no money coming in, and since there was obviously no union, there was no general fund from which any of these families could draw food money from). they needed money just to buy food and pay for housing. SO the call for "Give all you can!" and "Give right away!" were as desperate as they sounded. My guess is that there would be a representative of the International Workers Aid society national office going from factory to factory, or door-to-door, soliciting for money for the Passaic workers' relief. The strike was no doubt a very nasty business, with a victory only a victory once there was more food on the table, less illness, and far fewer babies dying from preventable causes. Probably this looked like a victory to others so far as the future of fair labor/pay was concerned, but not so much for the strikers who brought this about.
It is also interesting to note that this copy was given at some point to H.L. Mencken, who gave it right away to the Library of Congress, where it wound up in a forgotten "Pamphlet Collection", and then sold to me (years afterwards).
JF Ptak Science Books --continuation of Post 298 from 2008
I've felt that a great history lesson for school kids would be to make them keep a diary for some other kid from some other time, introduce them to the minutiae of life from another time and perhaps another place. With some guidance they could make interesting entries in their diary for, say, 15 June 1897, writing about chores, the daily schedule, what they studied in school, how they were dressed, how they got food on the table and kept the house clean, how they would spend 25 cents, what they would see from some given vantage point, and on and on. This could take place in their very own home town; it could be multi-generational, requiring them to talk to the scary white hairs, or it could reach far back into history and be of an entirely different place altogether. After they were assigned a particular place in time and space, you could give the kid subtle hints, like this one (below), asking them what they thought it might mean by dialing the phone number 200 80 in Warsaw in 1941. And what did that pair of lightning bolts mean, anyway? I think that once they were made to figure it out for themselves, as though they might've been there, and then could record their feelings and observations in a diary might actually bring history to life (especially once they had their "holy crap" (and probably worse) moment at what these numbers implied).
This is one of the ideas that came home again uncovering this odd booklet, which is a Nazi diary for those stationed in the Generalgouvernement (Tascehnjahrbuch 1941 fuer den Deutschen im Generalgouvernement) , for the year 1941. The General Government (or more fully the Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete) was one administrative section of occupied Poland, the country being divided in 1939 after the German invasion of 3 September 1939, with the western section being retained by the Germans and the Eastern given over to occupation by the Soviets via the Non-Aggression pact between the USSR and Germany.1
This looks like an every day diary for the period, except for the Nazi (or NSDAP) regalia and German imprint of Generalgouvernement in Krakau. And, all of the annotated high points of the year for the most overly voracious parts of German militarism as well as for the hot points of Nazi history. Hitler, (above) Goering, Goebbels and other leaders' birthdays are highlighted, not to mention seminal points in the development of the Nazi party and party-adoptees (Richard Wagner has a number of entries for suggested celebrations).
There are also helpful directories in the back pointing to any number of cafes located in a growing number of "Adolf Hilter Platz's" throughout Poland (including three in Radom), as well as fares for the use of the railway and postal system.
We also see the following telephone number: 23075. That's for the Literarische Kaffee Stefansgasse I, Krakau. This is the location that the Reichsminister and administrator Hans Frank (about whom we'll read in a moment) decided to hold a chess tournament in 1941, to satisfy his own need for chess while freshly in the pursuit of the murder of millions of people.
‘Frank was extremely interested in chess. He not only possessed an extensive library of chess literature but was also a good player, and he even “received” the Ukrainian chess master Bogoljubow at the castle. On 3 November 1940 he organized a chess congress in Cracow. Six months later he announced the setting-up of a chess school under Bogoljubow and the chess master Dr Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine, and he visited a chess tournament in October 1942 at the “Literary Café” in Cracow."--Hans Frank (subtitle: Hitlers Kronjurist und Generalgouverneur) by Dieter Schenk (Frankfurt am Main, 2006) "and quotes a reference to chess on page 177 (given below in our translation)..."[Source: Chesshistory.com., here.]
PM (short for "Picture Magazine, evidently) newspaper1--begun 18 June 1940 and ended 1948--was a very strong, left-wing newspaper in NYC, a short-lived daily with a long pedigree of contributors2. The "Memorandum" reproduced here, sent by the Managing Editor John P. Lewis "to the writing staff", was a powerful and interesting directive on how to present the news, and addressed the speech of President Roosevelt of the night before.
Lewis felt that here, at the beginning of the American end of the fighting war, was the appropriate place to set out a war strategy for reporting and publishing regarding information received from overseas, or unverified sources, or from dispatches from the countries against which we were fighting. He was clear and very concise--the whole of the memorandum fitting on one side of a single sheet of paper.
[This piece of ephemera may be purchased through our blog bookstore, here.]
The Roosevelt speech of 9 December 1941 can be found here. Some interesting extras as follows:
"Your Government knows that for weeks Germany has been telling Japan that if Japan did not attack the United States, Japan would not share in dividing the spoils with Germany when peace came. She was promised by Germany that if she came in she would receive the complete and perpetual control of the whole of the Pacific area...This alone if true could be a justification for war with Germany." // "Our policy rested on the fundamental truth that the defense of any country resisting Hitler or Japan was in the long run the defense of our own country."
But the main thrust that Lewis was addressing was this:
"I cite as another example a statement made on Sunday night that a Japanese carrier had been located and sunk off the Canal Zone. And when you hear statements that are attributed to what they call "an authoritative source," you can be reasonably sure from now on that under these war circumstances the "authoritative source" is not any person in authority."
"Many rumors and reports which we now hear originate, of course, with enemy sources. For instance, today the Japanese are claiming that as a result of their one action against Hawaii they hare gained naval supremacy in the Pacific. This is an old trick of propaganda which has been used innumerable times by the Nazis. The purposes of such fantastic claims are, of course, to spread fear and confusion among us, and to goad us into revealing military information which our enemies are desperately anxious to obtain."
Lewis was quick to the point: "President Roosevelt's address Tuesday night gave the American people a quick lesson in phony reporting. After that address all any newspaper has to do to convict itself of falsifying is to say that it learned something from authoritative sources."
He continued: "The president laid down a very clear line on what people can believe and what they can disbelieve..." and then outlined four major points for his writers to follow:
"1. We will not pass on as news any communique about the conduct of the war from any hostile government without warning the reader that these are claims of an enemy government which wants to confuse us...
"2. We will never report anything from "Authoritative" sources or anonymous synonyms.
"3. On the actual conduct of the war, the only material which we will pass on as absolute fact is material from the American communiques."
"4. In covering war stories as well as other news, we will carefully segregate fact reporting from opinion reporting and editorial conclusions."
Lewis was also particularly demanding in his policy regarding personal opinion in news stories: "Where we want to express an editorial opinion, we will label it "Editorial."
And Lewis meant it, too. Unlike almost all newspapers, PM editorials were signed. The newspaper also took no advertising, hoping to keep the paper running on sales and subscriptions. And so it did, for eight years--not long by long-running standards of newspapers, but fairly long for the times, and for the type of business plan practiced.
In any event I enjoyed the crispness and clarity of Lewis' directive.
1. The publisher was Ralph Ingersoll (1980-1985), who before coming to PM was the managing editor of Time-Life, and who was also the business plan designer and then managing editor of Fortune magazine; and the silent partner in the whole thing was MArshal Fields III, who pretty much bankrolled the newspaper from a distance.
I was looking for an antique recipe for pesto and came across this remarkable book by Salvatore Massonio, Archidipno overo dell'insalata e dell'vso di essa, published in Venice by Marc'Antonio Brogiollo in 1627. It is in short a philosophical cookbook for salads—and the first of its kind dedicated solely, devoted entirely, to the salad.It must have been a revolutionary publication, and probably intended for the very wealthy, given that the vast majority of people in Europe didn't have money for a book, and many couldn't read, and lettuce and its makings were outside the standard diet for the working poor.The book is no slim effort: 68 chapter and 425 pages long, it describes the stuff of the salad and its dressing. Unfortunately there are no illustrations, no images on presentation--not even the new chapter capital letters are designed in a food motif. Nothing. (The full text is available here.)
Actually salad wasn’t limited to just greens in this book, and his quasi-vegetarian sentiment was tested by including cold salted meats, cold salted tongue, livers and such in the mix.But Massonio was definitely far ahead of anyone else at the time dealing with the benefits of the salad for both health reasons, as well as for making the salad not a meal in itself but an appetizer for something larger to come.In another great possible “first”, the wonderful Massonio seems to be the first to describe the use of garlic in a sauce.
Now. About that pesto recipe…all I need is some stuff from Italy and a special-marble mortar and I’ll be somewhat on my way, at least as the purists are concerned. The birthplace of pesto, Liguria, takes its position as the originator of the great green delicacy very seriously, legislating exactly how and with what peso should be made.And that is as it should be. Maybe I'll just buy the pesto...
(Robbing Peter website has taken a translation of the cucumber salad from Massonio and created it here--looks pretty good.)
Reading Dickens now and stopping for a view of socially-conscious England via the excellent Victorian London website in the work of George Godwin's 79-page critical exposition London Shadows, a Glance at the "Homes" of the Thousands (1854). The images are awakening and abrupt--all the bitter observation of George Orwell, only told much more quickly, like a person trying to describe a raging house fire before the thing burned itself out. Its a powerful work, and I can't help but think that those reading it in 1854 must have been appalled not only by the deep visualization of the state of the working poor, but also by its scope, and the possible revelation of England's basic bedrock.
There are any more works to chose from at Victorian London--I decided to pry out the images from the Godwin work along with his commentary on them. It is truly a stunning work.
"When every man is his own end, all things will come to a bad end." COLERIDGE.
“....there must be a point beyond which there may be no abridgement of civil liberties and we feel that whatever the emergency, that persons must be judged, so long as we have a Bill of Rights, because of what they do as persons. We feel that treating persons, because they are members of a race, constitutes illegal discrimination, which is forbidden by the fourteenth amendment whether we are at war or peace.”-- A. L. Wirin, Counsel for the Southern California Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, speaking on the internment of Japanese-Americans, 1942
"We make these statements, not because we fear evacuation, but because we believe, to the bottom of our hearts, that the best interests of the United States, our nation are to be served by being permitted to stay, work, fight, and die for our country if necessary here where we belong."--Response by the Japanese American Citizens League to Internment Camps, 1942
This excruciating, heart-rending 1942 document was submitted by the Japanese American Citizens League (of Seattle, Washington) to the Tolan Congressional Committee with recommendations, proposals and requests in the event of the removal of Japanese citizens from “sensitive” areas in western America It is an exceptional report, a well-reasoned response to the developing and calamitous American fear of Japanese fellow-citizens; a fear which was swiftly leading itself to xenophobic actions the result of which was the internment of 120,000 American citizens in internment camps.
The Roosevelt administration’s Executive Order 9066 was the legal bombshell that gave the War Department the authority to authorize the removal of the Japanese (19 February 1942) and theoretically prevent those people from engaging in sub rosa and fifth column activities asd wartime terrorists fighting for Imperial Japan. The Tolan Committee was that of Congressman John H. Tolan (CA), chair of the House Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration (!), undertaken at the request of Carey McWilliams (chief of the California Division of Immigration and Housing) who was trying to prevent or at least delay the coming removal of the Japanese. Needless to say, the operation backfired
The document is “heart rending” because Executive Order 9066--at its base terribly wrong, a weakness exhibited, a moral embarrassment of the highest order--was addressed by its authors in a logical, clarifying and accommodating fashion in a noble and valiant attempt to negotiate an untenable situation while making every effort to appease the aggressor without judgment and offense. It was an attempt at maintaining dignity and some sense of Constitutional freedoms for a group of people in a situation in which their dignity and freedoms were being withdrawn....at least their freedom was.
In the introduction to the document (titled Report submitted to Tolan Congressional Committee on National Defense Migration Emergency Defense Council Seattle Chapter Japanese American Citizens League, and published April, 1942) we read that people are willing to go and abide 9066, but that one of their main issues was where exactly it was that they were going, where they were being taken. That hadn't been established yet, and it makes me shake my head to think of the government establishing this order without a clear indication of any (?) of its consequences.
"[Introduction] A large number of people have remarked that they will go where the government orders them to go, willingly, if it will help the national defense effort. But the biggest problem in their minds is where to go. The first unofficial evacuation announcement pointed out that the government did not concern itself with where evacuees went, just so they left prohibited areas. Obviously, this was no solution to the question, for immediately, from Yakima, Idaho, Montana, Colorado and elsewhere authoritative voices shouted: "No Japs wanted here!"”
“[Resettlement] What will the government's policy be? Will communities be shifted as units to other sections? Will the Japanese be re-settled as family units? Will men and women be segregated and families split up? Will Japanese be scattered at random in the interior? These are questions that are arising in the Japanese communities in this area.”
Already thinking of the future and the end of the war, the authors wondered about the prospects for the return of the Japanese people to their former residences:
“[Return] “It is necessary to think of the future, of the day when this war will be over. Could the Japanese people, once evacuated, return to their homes? There is the great possibility that once the Jap-haters and outspoken opponents of the resident Japanese were successful in driving the Japanese out of this area, they would never permit them to return. A post-war campaign of hate and vilification when resident Japanese tried to get back to their homes and investments here, is a definite possibility should these elements score an initial victory.”
The idea for a “model city” was proposed, or at least opened for discussion, as a possible place for the interned Japanese to go:
“[Model City] This is an ambitious plan entailing the creation of an all-Japanese city somewhere in the interior of the country, able to sustain itself as a self-sufficient unit. It would be financed originally partially by the Japanese themselves, partially by the government. Some important defense industry would be set up to give employment to Japanese labor, preferably one calling for skill and efficiency which Japanese workmen possess. The city would be governed by American citizens, who would elect a mayor and council, just as other American cities, and the Japanese, both American citizens and aliens, would be given an opportunity to practice the American ideals of democratic government which they have learned.”
“After the initial investment, the city could be expected to become self-sufficient and a center for the hinterland. It is altogether likely that such a city, as an experiment in democracy would be so progressive and would provide such advantages that friends of the Japanese would desire to share its benefits.”
“This would be a long-range project, to be continued in perpetuity. The objection of the time required to set it up would be overbalanced by the permanent nature of the project.”
After 38 pages of questions and planning, the authors of the report declare that the Japanese Americans affected by 9066 would comply (“to the best of our ability”) with whatever was demanded of them. They felt very strongly though that they could do more for their country by staying in their homes and fighting Japan just like any other American.
“[Conclusions] If it is for the greater good that evacuation be decreed, we shall obey to the best of our ability. But we are convinced that here in our homes and in our community is where we belong, where we can lend every ounce of our strength, and every cent of our resources, in creating the sinews of war so necessary to total victory. We are Americans. We want to do our duty where we can serve best. We make these statements, not because we fear evacuation, but because we believe, to the bottom of our hearts, that the best interests of the United States, our nation are to be served by being permitted to stay, work, fight, and die for our country if necessary here where we belong.”
[This document is for sale in our bookstore, here.]
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post [Part of a new series on the History of Fear]
There just seemed to be something going on with women and clothing and sex and fear and sci-fi trouble, or at least so on the covers of a spectrum of pulp publishers in the 1930's-1950's. Perhaps this had nothing more to do with anything than having a pretty woman posing next to the UNIVAC II in a 1959 issue of Computers and Automation. In any event, I stockpiled some of these images and collected them under the Fear-Sex heading, and for right now all I'm going to do is pass them along.
Are they really sexualizing danger? I have no idea what the content was of these issues, but from the looks of things, I'd throw hazard to the wind and say "yes", at least to the visual aspect.
(Don't forget to have a peek at an earlier post on Women in Sci-Fi Past-Future Distresses, here.)
JF Ptak Science Books Post 1680 Part of a new series on the History of Fear
Perhaps you become scared of what is taught you or is available to you, or made available, or dreampt. Perhaps you can dream not-so-terrible things unless you have been exposed to them in one form or another, already. I can certainly recall from my childhood things that made me feel fear, and they weren't very fearful--not really--at all, though they were at the time, because there was no way for me to process the weird adaptations to my imagination.
Certain things are taught to children as a matter of course, I guess, certain fearful things, like for example the oldish child's prayer ruminating on a sleeping death, or some exacerbating tale from the brothers Grimm--how else are children to come up with the ideas of not waking up or being boiled alive or eaten by a witch?
And so I wonder about the fear factor imaged and implied in these early wonder/sci-fi magazines, meant for distribution to high-adolescents and adults. They simply do not look so terrifying, though I guess it is because the true business end of FearSell USA Inc had not yet been prioritized in the national economy--and certainly it was orders of magnitude away from approaching anything that we have today. Even the constant state of storm/terror available to us in a relentless flow from a simple avenue like The Weather Channel must be a testament to the dept of our fear depravity.
The stories--or the ideas of the stories, anyway--seem scarier to me now than the images of them on the covers of these magazines. It would be an interesting thing to make a timeline of fearful images to see how these things changed over the decades. Or centuries.
I'm working right now on a post utilizing a classic story from the history of childhood, Pinocchio. No doubt everyone had some sort of classic image of this scamp in mind, but if you've ever read the whole thing the little non-wooden boy really was a bit of a terror, far removed from scampdom. Its probable that we have different images of some classic tales--in particular from the Brothers Grimm--where our minds have filled in the forgotten nasty parts of the classic tales with more child-friendly versions.
Which brings me to Carlton Sample, a lansman of mine over in Wilmington NC, who had a somewhat different vision for the old standby Mother Goose, and (self) published it in 1947. We're seeing the best part of Mr. Sample's work right here, what with the inside dripping with gooey doggerel (I swear that when you stand the book upright that one or two letters slide out of the bottom of the book every minute or so...its important to keep the book flat or the thing will be blank in about two days.) But his Mother Goose Streamlined is only necessary for his snapshot of the cigarette-smoking goose, driving blankly along behind the wheel of a convertible.
Sometimes a picture really IS worth a hundred and twenty-five words!
I have made numerous posts on this blog using images from my archive of American news service WWI photographs, though there are few depicting scenes just after the end of the war's end on 11:00 a.m. on 11/11/11. These photographs below do so, and all come from the National Library of Scotland (which can be accessed here). They are all "British Official War Photographs", which was a service similar to its American cousin--various news and photo agencies were given access to images produced by a pool of photographers, all of which passed by the eyes of a military censor. They were for the most part aimed at the "correct" version of the news, though given the subject matter there were plenty of images that were extremely powerful. In a war that claimed 100,000,000 casualties, the photographic image was a powerful war-time propaganda tool.
[Original reads: 'SCENES ON THE WESTERN FRONT. WAR TROPHIES SECTION. German trophies from Vimy Ridge and Messines. In centre is Prussian Guards drum.']
”[Smoking is] a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.”--King James I, in “Counter Blaste To Tobacco”:, published 1604
James I hated tobacco. He hated every aspect of it, particularly since some smokers favored the stuff because of its purported medicinal and curing qualities--but for James it all led to vile stink, Devil worship and deep sin. He just simply hated the whole idea--that and the person who introduced the notion and practice to James' fair island, who was Sir Walter Raleigh. And what did Raleigh get out of that deal? Well, he certainly over the course of tars-filled time introduced the possiblity of grim, cancerous death to a billion practicers and had a miserable pipe tobacco named for him. And he also was beheaded. I can't help but think that the smoking business had something to do with pulling James' head into pulling Raleigh's head off. (Well, it was actually "chopped" off, his bodyk buried and his head treated and stuffed and kept by his wife for the next 29 years. In his prison cell in the Black Tower, Raleigh left a small container of tobacco, with the sentiment Comes meus fuit illo miserrimo tempo (It was my companion at that most miserable time) engraved upon its lid.)
And so James wrote this piece in 1604, a thin 32-page evisceraton of tobacco and tobacco-users. It is an antiquarian rush to righteous vindication, and it in no small measure helped James' cause that he was right on a lot of his viciously-placed claims.
The sins and vanities of the filthy use of tobacco were many but evidently described in three layers, like a good cake, though he does make a good case for the habit's vileness. Tobacco is mainly a sin of guilt and selfishness, of drunkness which is one of the great malfactors of all bad things, and of course the greatest sin of all in that it would impede the protection of the King and the realm. James makes the case for tobacco use being an indolent, sick-making, vile producer of impotence and uncaring, driving all manner of sin that would lead to personal downfall and to the general "mollicie and delicacie of the wrath of overthrow" of kingdoms.
First are you not guiltie of sinnefull and shamefull lust? (for lust may bee as well in any of the senses as in feeling) that although you bee troubled with no disease, but in perfect health, yet can you neither be merry at an Ordinarie, nor lasciuious in the Stewes...
Secondly it is, as you vse or rather abuse it, a branche of the sinne of drunkennesse, which is the roote of all sinnes: for as the onely delight that drunkards take in wine is in the strength of the taste, and the force of the fume thereof that mounts vp to the braine: for no drunkards loue any weake, or sweete drinke: so are not those (I meane the strong heate and the fume), the onely qualities that make Tobacco so delectable to all the louers of it? ...
Thirdly, is it not the greatest sinne of all, that you the people of all sortes of this Kingdome, who are created and ordeined by God to bestowe both your persons and goods for the maintenance both of the honour and safetie of your King and Commonwealth, should disable yourselves in both?
The King also attacks the attractive and bogus medicinal properties of tobacco, and he takes care to list some of its precious capacities, from ridding people of the gout (instantly), to wakening the brain, to pox-curing, and even having the ability to cast out devils. Of course this belief was sustained as semi-fact for hundreds of years now, eventually worming its way into the all vast pockets of the Middle Class via print and other media as advertisements with doctors, dentists, nurses, pilots, sports figures, politicians (most famously perhaps being R. Reagan), and of course Santa Claus extolling various curative properties of cigarettes. In the 20th century there was also the strong influence of Sexerettes--the possibility of sexiness curled around languid figures selling cigarettes to the young and old alike.
Ralph Fasanella (1914-1997) was a self-taught artist who included minute details in his large canvases in which he re-created New York City, vast scenes of industry and celebration, and in general anything having a lot of people in it. He was if not in fact then at least in his head a Wobbly, a left-of-left deeply-pro-union socially-consciousness commentator, the son of a button-hole making mother and an ice-seller father. Ralph was a machinist and gas station owner, and in there somewhere in mid-life he became a painter. I like his work quite a bit.
This (above) is one of his most well-known works, and it portrays the famous IWW strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912, (see the Great Strike.), also commonly known then as now as the Bread and Roses Strike. What differentiated this strike from others was the very large involvement of women, minorities and immigrants. Old Ralph wore his leftie heart on his sleave.
Here's some photos of the real thing:
As usual the strike was about more humane working conditions, more light, better air, fewer hours, decent livable wages. When the main employer in its town influences the flow of 85% of all of the town's income, it is difficult for people to resist demands from that business which might not be reasonable.
[Photo shows group of men gathered outdoors, probably in New York City, to hear about the textile strike in Lawrence, MA. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2008)]
[Photo shows the Lawrence textile strike of 1912, also known as the "Bread and Roses" strike. Source: Library of Congress.]
And from the introduction to the Report on Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Mass., (U.S. Bureau of Labor, 1912) we read:
"In Lawrence, Mass., fully one-half of the population 14 years of age or over is employed in the woolen and worsted mills and cotton
mills, and approximately 60,000 (including employees and members
of their families) of the 85,892 people living in Lawrence are directly
dependent upon earnings in these textile mills."
"The textile strike in Lawrence and the conditions which followed
were not primarily due to any condition peculiar to Lawrence. The
general conditions of the industry in Lawrence are more or less
typical of the textile industry in all of the large distinctly textile
towns, and the strike in Lawrence and the conditions attending it
might just as easily have occurred in any other of these towns."
In short, a standard bit. Here are some other examples of Fasanella's work: