Fondly, Pennsylvania is HSP's main blog. Here you will find posts on our latest projects and newest discoveries, as well articles on interesting bits of local history reflected in our collection. Whether you are doing research or just curious to know more about the behind-the-scenes work that goes on at HSP, please read, explore, and join the conversation!
Violet Oakley was truly a citizen of the world; as a muralist, illustrator, portrait painter, author, designer, and visionary, Violet Oakley stood out amongst fellow female artists of her generation. Her devotion to art and the belief that it was not only for “the select few” was made apparent through her involvement in political activities, which mainly focused on international issues of world government and disarmament. With such devotion to art and its place in politics, Violet transcended conventional roles of painting and portraiture and by 1911 she had become the only American woman to have established a successful career in mural art.
An Artistic Lineage
Violet Oakley [b. June 10, 1874] was born into a third generation of amateur and professional artists. Her father, Arthur Edmond Oakley, was a successful businessman who held a great interest in arts; as a young woman, her mother, Cornelia Swain, taught drawing and painted portraits in San Francisco; her elder sister, Hester, was a writer and illustrator; aunts Julianna and Isabella Oakley studied painting in Munich; both grandfathers were members of the National Academy of Design. So, it came as no surprise when Violet began to show interest in the arts and her early efforts of expression were highly encouraged. With pencil or brush in hand she filled numerous sketchbooks from childhood well into adulthood that captured daily events, family outings, concerts, and landscapes.
Women Playing Piano: page from Violet Oakley's Sketchbook
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania boasts around 140 of these personal sketchbooks in its vaults. (Violet Oakley Sketchbooks Call Number: Collection n. 3336)
Enchanted by the stories her aunts wrote in letters home from abroad, Violet started to live vicariously through their tales of adventure and art in foreign lands. This prompted her to start a more formal education in the arts. However, her training was quite sporadic in the beginning. In 1894 she traveled with her father to New York City to study at the Student’s Art League, then in 1895 while on an extended family trip to Paris she enrolled at the Academie Montparnasse to study under Edmond Aman-Jean and Raphael Collin. In 1896, while still in Paris, her father became ill and the family returned for medical treatment in Philadelphia. Violet entered the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to study under Cecilia Beaux, Joseph de Camp, and Henry Thouron. She would leave to study at Drexel a year later, but in 1913 she returned to PAFA to teach a class in Mural Decoration and was the only other woman besides Cecilia Beaux to teach there until the 1950’s.
After her year at PAFA Violet decided to change focus and left for the Drexel Institute School of Illustration to study under Howard Pyle, the most celebrated illustrator of the late nineteenth century. Pyle was known for his charismatic nature and generosity as an educator and was a significant inspiration to aspiring artists. He played a particularly large role in Violet’s education and was a tremendous inspiration to her. She admired him for his skill and versatile drawing style and throughout her career similarities in their aesthetic became apparent.
Between the years 1896 and 1906, under the encouragement of Pyle, word of Violet’s skill began to spread and she undertook numerous commissions. Violet was contracted to illustrate for numerous magazines such as Harper’s, Century Magazine, and Everybody’s Magazine. In 1900 All Angel’s Church in New York City approached Violet to decorate their church. She designed for them five lancet windows, a glass mosaic altarpiece and two large murals for the Apse. These two paintings were the beginning of Violet’s established career as a muralist.
In 1902 Joseph Huston, the architect of the new Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg decided “at least one room should be decorated by a woman” and commissioned Violet to paint 13 murals for the Governor’s Reception Room. This would be the first time in American history that a woman was awarded such a commission in a public space. Violet decided the land of William Penn was a good place to begin her studies. She felt the imagery in the Capitol building should reflect ideals promoted by the founder of Pennsylvania, so Violet and her mother sailed to England and studied the history of the Quakers and of William Penn. Violet’s studies of the Quaker doctrine heavily influenced her personal outlook on life; she stated, “In time I became so impressed by the belief or testimony of the Quakers against carnal warfare that this idea, the victory of law, or truth over force, became the central idea of my life”. Violet would have another opportunity to exercise this new found doctrine. In 1911 Edwin Austin Abbey, the original artist commissioned to decorate the Senate and Supreme Chambers of the Capitol building, passed away before he could begin the work and Violet was approached to fulfill the rest of Abbey’s contract. From 1911 – 1927 she worked tirelessly on both rooms, taking the opportunity to continue to develop ideas found in the Governor’s Reception Room.
Violet Oakley with mural, photograph, undated
Art and Politics
Immediately after the completion of the Supreme Court murals, Violet left for Geneva, Switzerland to document the League of Nations. Oakley interpreted the creation of the League of Nations as an extension of William Penn’s ideals (as well as her own) and found herself a self-appointed ambassador. Violet’s involvement in this political event caused her to see a direct relationship between Geneva and Philadelphia and envision a “great Suspension Bridge connecting Penn’s City of Brotherly Love and the City of Geneva”. During the years 1927 to 1929 Violet created numerous portraits of the League’s member-delegates and other dignitaries for a Philadelphia newspaper, many of which were later turned into widely exhibited portfolios. These portfolios embodied Violet’s hope for a world where all nations could live together in peace. The originals were later presented to the Library of the United Nations in Geneva. After all of her involvement, it caused Violet great dismay when she learned of the United State's refusal to join the League.
Leage of Nations Delegate: page from Violet Oakley's Sketchbook
Violet felt politics was not an inappropriate activity for an artist. She strongly believed that the world’s problems are not to be left solely to politics and economics – that the attempt to create harmony in the world is in itself a work of art in which everyone has a part to play. Violet found a way to communicate this idea in a more accessible manner through two portfolios of color reproductions of all the Harrisburg murals along with a detailed explanation of them in a personally designed hand-lettered text. The Holy Experiment – William Penn’s term for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1682, depicted the images found in the Governor’s Reception Room and the Senate Chamber. Law Triumphant, the sequel, contained reproductions found in the Supreme Court Room and portraits of delegates who participated in the League of Nations (1933).
Violet Oakley’s collective work represents a lifelong pilgrimage and quest to help establish peace and harmony throughout the world. She embraced this as her “sacred challenge” with passion and dedication until her death at the age of 86, at her home in Philadelphia, 1961.
Last month I attended the Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Institute or “camp edit” was a five day workshop funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and administered by the Association for Documentary Editing. At the camp, I had the opportunity to meet librarians, archivists, professors, and historians who are also annotating and transcribing historical documents and working on digital history projects.
At the institute, I learned about the best practices for writing transcriptions and annotations and received further training in TEI (text encoding initiative), the markup language we are using to encode the political cartoons for the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project. I also got to attend a special session on using social media to promote digital projects and exhibits.
My favorite part of camp edit was learning about the digital projects that my colleagues are working on. At camp edit we took turns giving ten minute “project spotlight presentations” where we outlined the basic goals of our projects, as well as, discussed the tools, resources, and technologies that we are using to build them. Most importantly, we talked about the challenges we are facing and together came up with possible solutions.
At the conclusion of the camp edit we participated in a graduation ceremony and received a wonderful diploma.
Camp edit graduation diploma
At the end of the five day workshop, I decided to remain in Lincoln a few more days in order to attend the Association for Documentary Editing and Society for Textual Scholarship (ADE/STS) 2015 Joint Conference. At the conference, I presented a poster about the HINT project. Attendees at the poster session were quite interested in learning more about HSP’s new open source image viewer and how we used TEI to markup images.
In conclusion, the Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents and the ADE/STS 2015 Joint Conference were truly valuable professional experiences for me. I encourage anyone new to the practice of editing historical documents to apply to next year’s camp edit! And remember to check out our digital exhibit, Politics in Graphic Detail, when it becomes available later this year.
Hannah Glasse’s cookbook is the oldest of the four that I chose to focus on, with the exception of Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery (which holds recipes dating to Elizabethan times). Glasse was English, but her cookbook was widely used on the American continent.
Published in 1755, Glasse's cookbook looks its age. The front cover is completely detached and pages fall out left and right. When researchers hold the book in their hands, tiny pieces of paper sprinke the table below.
I was terrified of damaging a valuable piece of history. For these reasons, I was more comfortable reading an e-book version on the computer. It was an exact facsimile scanned onto the Internet. The photos are of the original book, which it now safely back in its protective acid-free box.
As I stated in my second post, Hannah Glasse’s cookbook is a published work created for instructive purposes. It felt less personal than Martha Washington’s or Mary Plumstead’s handwritten books. The book bears a title reflective of its time: The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy; Which far exceeds any Thing of the Kind ever yet published. She asserts in the introduction that the purpose of the book is to simplify the art of cooking for the servile classes so that servants may better provide for their masters. To this, I would say that Glasse has succeeded. Her book provided the most instructions on how to choose the best ingredients, the most basic instructions on tasks like roasting or boiling, the most recipes in total, and the most explicit recipes— I was left with little questions on how to execute the recipes because she provided enough steps and insight in the first place. The handwritten books are much vaguer; they were probably thoughts scribbled down in live action in the kitchen. Amelia Simmons’s cookbook is published as well, though much shorter and less in-depth.
The other challenge I encountered with Glasse, aside from the fragile condition of the book, was her use of the formal “S”. I come across these stylized characters in my history classes while exploring primary sources. Eventually you get used to it, but when I first begin I cannot help but read with a slight lisp as the “S” looks like an “F”.
Compared to others included in Glasse's work, this recipe was extremely simple. I also thought the recipe was adorable, how Glasse added her own opinion at the end even though the book was a more formal work. The original recipe reads:
“To make Norfolk Dumplings, Mix a good thick Batter, as for Pancakes, take Half a Pint of Milk, two Eggs, a little Salt, and make it into a batter with Flour. Have ready a clean Sauce-pan of Water boiling, into which drop this Batter. Be sure the Water boils fast, and two or three Minutes will boil them; then throw them into a Sieve to drain the water away, then turn them into a Dish, and stir a Lump of fresh Butter into them, eat them hot, and they are very good.”
To say the least, this recipe fits in to how many might imagine colonial cooking to be. It was slightly tasteless and bland, according to our modern tastes. The addition of the butter at the end is definitely necessary, and I am not even a huge fan of butter.
I have no measurement of the flour, but you need A LOT to create sticky dough that can hold its own. Cooking often cannot come down to exact measurements. My dumplings looked like shapeless blobs because, rather than roll them into neat little balls, I felt that I should just drop handfuls of dough into the boiling water. I had never prepared a dumpling before, so I had no idea what shape they should be. I am still developing as a cook, and I have much to learn from these 18th-century women.
Hannah Glasse’s Norfolk Dumplings:
1 cup milk (I used 1% reduced fat)
1. Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil
2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl
3. Add milk and stir to combine
4. Sprinkle some sea salt in before adding the flour
5. Begin adding flour little by little, stirring between. You want the liquid ingredients and dry ingredients to form a dough (I tried to get it to pizza crust or pie crust consistency)
6. Once the dough is cohesive, drop balls into the boiling water
7. After about 3 minutes, or when the dumplings are solid and cooked, drain them in a strainer
8. Place the dumplings in a bowl and stir a decent glob of butter into them while they are still hot, so that it melts fully—and enjoy!
Perhaps the addition of some honey & cinnamon would help to liven these dumplings up. Or they could simply serve as a dinner roll-type food!
Regardless of how each recipe is turning out, the experience of cooking from a historical cookbook is indescribable. I find myself laughing, grimacing, questioning, and feeling very excited to taste the results. Every recipe is literally an adventure-- who would have thought cooking could be so complicated and intriguing!
Before Stonewall, and long before the Christopher Street Pride Parade, there was Annual Reminder Day – a Philadelphia-based demonstration where gay men and lesbians protested for the same civil rights granted to their fellow heterosexuals.
The 50th anniversary of the first Annual Reminder Day, which occurred every July 4 from 1965 to 1969 in front of Independence Hall, inspired “Speaking Out for Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights, and the Supreme Court,” the new exhibit at the National Constitution Center.
One cannot underestimate the bravery exhibited by the demonstrators at the first Annual Reminder back in 1965. Visibly exposing oneself as a homosexual risked disastrous consequences, both personal and professional. If you weren’t “passing” as an heterosexual American, you were inviting trouble.
And it’s no surprise that in light of how potentially dangerous this visibility could be for the demonstration’s activists, the way in which activists represented themselves during the Reminder picket became extremely important.
Surprising to those familiar with gay pride parades across the country, the Reminder Day picketers were bound to a strict dress code – ties and jackets for men, dresses for women. Organizer Frank Kameny also instructed demonstrators to picket in a single-file line.
“We didn’t want people to gawk at us,” explained Kameny, who aimed to give onlookers the impression that the demonstration’s participants were, in his words, “employable.” “We wanted them to gawk at the message on our signs and in our leaflets,” he continued.
A copy of Frank Kameny’s original dress code, courtesy of Bob Skiva at the John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives
Also important to Kameny was the time and place of the Annual Reminder Day demonstrations. The picketing occurred after the city’s Independence Day parade, right in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, places which Kameny knew had an enduring symbolic appeal as emblems of the struggle for freedom.
When the flag-bearing – one of the most salient and sacred portions of the Independence Day parade – occurred during the demonstration, protestors would lower their signs, stand still, and place their right hand over their hearts, all in an attempt to communicate that they, too, were first-class citizens, and not just marginal people.
One could argue that this presentation was effective – the Annual Reminder Day demonstrations carried on in an overall orderly manner for the next three years. Each year, several more LGTBQ citizens would show up, growing from an initial group of about a dozen demonstrators to totals in the range of forty and fifty.
Then, Stonewall happened. Everything changed.
Often cited as the “true” beginning of the gay civil rights movement, the Stonewall riots were a series of aggressive, spontaneous demonstrations against an early morning police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. These demonstrations were a sharp contrast to the orderly nature of the Annual Reminder Day; their participants seemed less interested in the idea of equality and more focused on the idea of liberation.
Less than a week later, a group of about forty or so gay men and lesbians from New York City chartered a bus to Philadelphia to participate in that year’s Annual Reminder Day. The changing tides of the gay civil rights movement increased the number of demonstrators at 1969’s Annual Reminder Day to nearly 150 participants, a number dwarfed by today’s standards, but thrilling for veterans of the protests, such as Barbara Gittings.
The precise, orderly nature of the demonstration, however, struck many of these justifiably angry New Yorkers as overly decorous and mild-mannered. Most annoying to them was the still-honored dress code.
A pivotal moment occurred when two women decided to hold hands while demonstrating, breaking the rule of picketing in a single-file fashion. Organizer Frank Kameny demanded that the two women walk separately; his angered reaction was met first with quiet rage, and then with a total disregard for the Annual Reminder Day policies, with many demonstrators holding hands with their same-sex partners while picketing.
Once these rules had been shirked, there was no looking back. The following November, at the East Coast Homophile Organization’s movement, Annual Reminder Day was phased out, and the Christopher Street Pride Parade was born.
The first Christopher Street Pride Parade in New York City in 1970 is now considered legendary, chockfull of confrontational activism, including dances, political meetings, a wild parade, and erotic art shows. Held on June 28, it visibly reflected the liberationist style of protest, with longhaired, shirtless protestors holding signs demanding GAY POWER and engaging in open drug use.
And while the precedent set by the first Christopher Street Pride Parade would go on to define the nature in which Pride functions nationwide were conducted to this day, it is important to remember not only the circumstances under which the first Annual Reminder Day took place, but the bravery it took these original demonstrators to flaunt their visibility as homosexuals.
As LGTBQ activist Barbara Gittings described in the documentary Gay Pioneers, “Coming out in a picket line in 1965 was downright revolutionary for that time. It took gumption, it really took gumption and the conviction that we were right [and] the world was wrong. We were just at the start of cracking that cocoon of invisibility.”
If George Washington can be considered the father of our nation, then his wife, Martha, could be considered its mother. Although Martha received the cookbook from the mother of her first husband, Daniel Custis, Martha undoubtedly cooked some of the recipes for Mr. Washington. The book was then inherited by her granddaughter, Eleanor Parke Custis. George Washington has no direct descendants.
This cookbook fascinated me from the moment I set eyes upon it during my first interview at HSP. I was even more intrigued—and occasionally slightly repulsed—after beginning to read it. Although most of the recipes are things that I would not consume (and I would say I am adventurous with my food tastes), I felt it was important to see just how differently our tastes have developed in only a few centuries. The colonial palette – just like today’s – was influenced by the availability of ingredients, prevailing ideas about health and nutrition, and new culinary methods resulting from changes in food preparation. Mrs. Washington would think I am so spoiled with my pre-ground spices and prepared sticks of butter… not to mention my food processor, indoor grill, and especially microwave.
Through my research, I’ve gained a newfound respect for of prior generations who were able to create intricate meals without the technology available to cooks today.
For this culinary adventure, I used a generic pie crust recipe from the Internet, as the 18th century recipes were very difficult to understand. Instead, I wanted the contents of this pie to be the highlight of the recipe. As I am breaking a sweat trying to cut the two sticks of butter into the flour and sugar for the crust, I could not help but realize that the women of Mrs. Washington’s time most likely churned their butter first before they went through the same process. I then rolled the dough & put it in the refrigerator to harden, the refrigerator being another innovation not yet available in the 18th century. Boiling the lettuce, chopping the prunes, and assembling the pie took almost an hour. Baking took close to an hour, as well. The time and effort women throughout history put into providing for their families is not nearly appreciated enough.
The eighteenth century diet may have contained many ingredients viewed as unhealthy today, like lard and copious amounts of eggs & butter, but they had an advantage over us: food then was not processed, chemically altered, infused with excess nutrients, or treated with pesticides in the growth process. Hannah Glasse and Amelia Simmons, who published their cookbooks in print, give extensive guidelines for choosing the best quality ingredients in accordance with seasonality and location. The dishes may not have been calorie-friendly, but they were of utmost quality and freshness.
This pie tasted much better than it sounds. Called a “lettis tart”, I was slightly confused when I saw the recipe also called for prunes. I wanted to try something completely weird by today’s tastes. I would not have been as successful with this recipe had Karen Hess not transcribed Mrs. Washington’s cookbook and provided important insight and details to help a modern cook recreate the same dishes.
Prunes taste much better baked in a lettuce pie than they smell out of the bag. This dish is almost like a salad pie… Except the thick, buttery crust defeats the purpose of the salad. The people of the 18th century were not as concerned with maintaining their waistlines. Or rather a thin waistline was not necessarily desirable in a woman – perceptions of beauty, like preferences of certain foods, are always changing.
For the crust (which Martha calls a “coffin”):
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) unsalted butter, cubed and still cold
½ cup cold water + more as needed
1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl
2. Add the butter cubes to the dry ingredients and cut it using a pastry cutter (I did not have one on hand so I rubbed the cubes between my fingertips and it worked just as well) until the butter pieces are no larger than a dime
3. Drizzle in the water and work the mixture into a dough using a rubber spatula until it is cohesive
4. Knead your dough no more than 10 times to form a ball
5. Divide the ball in half, wrap each separately in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour so that the water can be absorbed, making the dough even more cohesive
For the pie:
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 bag of dried prunes
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Place prunes in a bowl, cover with water, and soak for at least one hour
3. Once the dough is chilled, roll each dough ball into a disk
4. Spray a pie plate with cooking spray; place one dough circle into the plate and press around into the bottom edge of the pie plate
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the lettuce leaves and stir until wilted
6. Roughly chop the prunes into bite-sized pieces
7. Brush melted butter on the bottom inside of the pie crust; sprinkle some ginger, cinnamon, and sugar
8. Fill with a layer of lettuce, all of the prunes, then another layer of lettuce
9. Sprinkle more cinnamon, ginger, and sugar
10. Cover with top pie crust and adhere the sides together using a fork; remove any excess dough hanging over the edge
11. Brush more melted butter across the top of the pie crust
12. Place a cookie sheet in one of the lower shelves to catch an liquids that are expelled during the baking process
13. Bake the pie for 45 minutes or until the crust is browned (mine took almost an hour)
14. Allow to fully cool before slicing
You may have read the recently posted project update regarding the HINT project written by my colleague, Rachel Moloshok, in which she described our decision to reduce our number of annotated cartoons from more than 500 to approximately 125 cartoons. Even with this reduction, we’re still generating a lot of metadata. So, what are we going to do with all of it?
The metadata we’re generating contains lots of information about entities (persons and businesses or corporations), symbols, ideas, and the relationships between these. As Rachel described in her post, cartoons are encoded with publication dates; titles; artists, engravers, or other creators; persons or other entities depicted or mentioned; publishers; symbols; and more. You can imagine, this is a lot of information!
"Coney Island and the Crowned Heads," 1882 (Balch Broadsides: Satirical Cartoons [PG278])
One of the goals of the HINT project was to harness the linked data possibilities of the semantic web. We want our metadata to be more readable by search engines, like Google and Yahoo, etc., and our images easier to locate via web search tools. Since graphics are notoriously hard for search engines to find, this will help those researchers looking for more information about political cartoons discover our images and the HINT project. The beauty of the semantic web is that it allows for data to be shared across platforms and more easily processed by machines.
The first step in this goal was disseminating our metadata. We hoped to find a data-sharing forum by which to do this. Initially, we investigated SNAC (Social Networks and Archival Context), which is a prototype research tool from the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia. SNAC is a project intended to gather and distribute archival metadata. Unfortunately, SNAC is unable to accept our metadata at this time, but the lovely folks running the project have expressed an interest in collecting our information at a later date.
However, we still need to find a way to get our metadata out there before the end of the grant period. We’re using TEI to encode our cartoons, so the TAPAS Project (TEI Archive, Publishing, and Access Service Project) seems like a good possibility. TAPAS is a platform from the TEI Consortium that will allow generators of TEI to share their data, as well as store and publish it, in such a way that it will be accessible for the foreseeable future. We are currently exploring contributing our metadata to TAPAS, along with some other alternatives.
"Emancipation," 1865 (Historical Society of Pennsylvania large graphics collection [V65])
Another prong of our efforts to make our data more easily accessible is utilizing RDF (Resource Descriptive Framework), another aspect of the semantic web. RDF is a particular descriptive data format which describes a relationship in triplicate form: subject-predicate-object. For example, “Thomas Nast drew ‘Emancipation.’” But rather than being a human-readable sentence, RDF is formatted in XML to make the metadata more easily machine-readable. In addition to the other modifications we’ve made to our DAMS (Digital Asset Management System), Collective Access (CA), we’re currently working to modify CA to output our data in RDF for easier sharing and finding. Please see our previous blog posts on the image viewer upgrades and utilizing TEI for more detail on some of our other CA modifications.
Even though the HINT grant period is winding down, we’re still busily working on the project. We hope you’ll continue to follow our progress. And don’t forget to check out the exhibit when Politics in Graphic Detail goes live on September 1. Keep your eye on HSP communications for links to the exhibit site and more information about HINT in the coming weeks!
With less than three months left on the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project, we’ve more or less wrapped up our TEI encoding of political cartoons and are concentrating on getting our exhibit website working and on writing biographies and descriptions of the people, organizations, and symbols associated with our cartoons.
At the outset of this project, we set ourselves the lofty goal of digitizing, researching, and richly encoding 500 political cartoons from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s collections. We did succeed in selecting, digitizing, and researching over 500 cartoons, but we found that the detail-intensive work that goes into encoding and annotating political cartoons took longer than we anticipated.
Some cartoons are more complicated than others.
To give you an idea of the work involved, for each digitized cartoon we:
- Encode all relevant metadata (title, date, publication information, collection/citation info, etc.)
- Write a description of the image
- Identify all people, organizations, and symbols associated with the cartoon
- Transcribe all text in the cartoon and, when appropriate, write additional annotations to explain or illuminate significant non-textual details
- Draw zones on the image that connect visual details with pop-up text boxes (see this blog post for an explanation of how this works).
It became clear to us that we could either produce an exhibit with more cartoons but less detail, or we could scale back the number of cartoons to encode and devote more time and attention to each. We decided on the latter option.
All cartoons that have been used in the educational unit and lesson plans devised by HSP’s education manager, Alicia Parks (see links on project homepage) as well as a subset of 30 “featured” cartoons selected from across major chronological eras have received particularly rich description and annotation—in addition to transcribing all text in the image, providing an image description that explains the historical context and meaning of each cartoon, and highlighting all identifiable symbols, we are linking to biographies and descriptions of all people and organizations that are associated with these cartoons, whether artists, publishers, or historic figures who are depicted or mentioned in the cartoon itself.
The rest of the cartoons in the exhibit, encoded to what we are calling “basic” level, contain slightly less contextual detail, but still provide image descriptions, transcription of all text, and identifications of all people, organizations, or obvious symbols that appear in the cartoon.
In all, we’re looking at an exhibit featuring more than 125 richly annotated and interactive political cartoons from 1754 through the early 20th century. And the remaining cartoons we selected but won’t have time to richly encode? They are still digitized and viewable right now at HSP’s Digital Library.
Olivia D'Aiutolo, HSP's summer 2015 Communications Intern, explores the library's cookbook collections as part of her new blog series, A Pinch of History: Culinary Commotion at HSP.
In my blog series, I will be profiling several recipes from colonial cookbooks in HSP’s collections. However, I’d like to begin with one of the largest obstacles I’ve encountered so far on my journey outside of the kitchen: the strangeness and scarcity of many recipes’ ingredients.
When asked, my friends predicted that these older dishes would be extremely simple to prepare. They would be surprised to learn that most of the dishes these women made regularly featured an extensive list of ingredients, some of which are no longer available. Other ingredients required a significant amount of additional work. Instead of a “teaspoon of nutmeg”, many of these recipes call for “one nutmeg” which would have to be ground into a powder.
Other ingredients I had never heard of before. Here’s my running list of the obscurities so far, which I’m keeping to further understand these older culinary practices.
• Marrow- flexible tissue inside bones (I looked this up because I didn’t believe anyone would cook with marrow… I soon learned it’s common practice today for bone broth)
• Fricassee- when meat is cut, sautéed, braised, served in sauce it was cooked in
• Sweetmeat- candy covered in sugar; “meat” just meant food, something to eat
• Mace- covering of nutmeg shell
• Collop- slice of meat
• Pippin- red/yellow dessert apple
• Lamprey- jawless fish with tunnel-like sucking mouth (looks unappetizing… take my word for it)
• Sack- fortified wine
• Florentine- usually when spinach is included in a recipe
• Syllabub- dairy dessert made from cream & wine; served cold
• Posset- frothy custard made from cream, wine, eggs; served hot
• Treacle- uncrystallized syrup made during sugar refinement
• Suet- raw beef or mutton fat
• Tansy- flowering herbaceous plant (several books had recipes featuring flowers)
• Indian meal- cornmeal
• Pearl ash- first chemical leavening used in baking
• Emptins- yeast from the remnants of the beer brewing process
• Quinces- fruit in the apple & pear family
• Musk- aromatic substance from animal glands like deer
• Rusk- hard and dry biscuit or twice-baked bread
• Rosewater- rose petals steeped in water, used to flavor food
Have any of you come across these ingredients in your culinary adventures, past or present?
I am going to do my best to obtain mace and rosewater, as a lot of the baking and dessert recipes I’ve selected call for them. I’m trying my hardest not to compromise the integrity of the recipe, hoping to convey utmost authenticity of colonial cuisine through my blog.
Most of the dishes consumed during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in America had a European taste, with the majority brought over from the Old World. Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery contains recipes dating back to Elizabethan England. As time went on, recipes began evolving, incorporating the different materials and foodstuffs available in the New World that Europeans did not previously have access to.
Many items now considered staples would have looked unfamiliar to the Old World’s emigrants. Europe didn’t have corn, potatoes, squash, tomatoes or turkey.
I would also like to comment on the cookbooks themselves, as physical objects. Martha Washington’s and Mary Plumstead’s recipe books are handwritten; they seem more like personal family artifacts meant to be passed down through generations than something stuffed away in a kitchen. In the case of Martha’s cookbook, it was in fact an heirloom passed down to her by the mother-in-law of her first husband (George was her second husband). While reading through these cookbooks, I had the feeling of being a part of their family.
Hannah Glasse’s and Amelia Simmons’s books, on the other hand, are printed books with forwards and introductions. Glasse said she wrote the book to simplify the cooking process for the servile class while Simmons is known for the first cookbook published in America featuring exclusively American ingredients in several of the recipes. These were easier to read but were still written in a style entirely different from any common cookbook. Glasse and Simmons both devoted a significant amount of time explaining how to choose the best ingredients and cook with respect for seasonality.
I couldn’t help but feel connected to these women as I paged through their work. I know how difficult it can be to run a kitchen, as I normally cook every night in my house. I also began, over the last few months, developing my own recipes rather than using ones I have found. It is difficult to get recipes right the first time. I wasn’t concerned with the lack of specific measurements of most ingredients, as that is how I would cook. It is so much more enjoyable when you are not concerned with measuring this or that, but rather just working through the process and experiencing it. Throw in however much is needed to make the food taste good!
HSP's Tyler Antoine explores one of the earliest gay magazines in the US, Drum, as part of a new blog series: "Beats of the Drum." Published here in Philadelphia in 1964, Drum represented a radical break from the past through its stark portrayals of homosexuals in mid-century America. For his inaugural post, Tyler discusses the immediate cultural milieu into which Drum emerged.
One of the more colorful items to be found in HSP’s Digital Library is the first issue of Drum, an early gay pride magazine first published by Clark Polak in Philadelphia in 1964. In this series, entitled “Beats of the Drum,” we aim to explore some of the more fascinating facets of this important document of LGBT history.
If you haven’t heard of Drum, you might be surprised at how much of a landmark magazine it was within mid-century gay American culture. First published in 1964, the climate in which the magazine appeared was hardly hospitable to homosexuals. Only six years had passed since the striking down of the Comstock laws forbidding the postage of homosexual materials.
In the early 1960s, homosexuality was still considered a mental disorder. The American Psychology Association listed homosexuality as a form of psychosis, recommended electric shock therapy, lobotomy, and other “treatments.” Far from the Equal Opportunity Employers of today, federal agencies were firing any employees suspected of being homosexual. Public LGBT demonstrations were few and far between, with the first Christopher Street Pride Parade still years away.
Put plainly, it was very dangerous to be gay at the time Drum appeared. There was a serious lack of visibility due to the threat of being outed. In this time of ubiquitous gay pride events – everything from parades to dance parties – it’s easy to forget how these traditions are steeped in a longtime struggle from near invisibility to visibility and an appreciation for the public figures and unsung heroes who paved the way for these traditions to become so accepted.
The cover of Drum's inaugural issue in October, 1964
This is why Drum magazine represents such a revolutionary break. Unlike preceding LGBT publications – such as lesbian publication The Ladder, which relied on innocuous covers without any visual hint as to what could be found inside – the cover for the first issue of Drum displays the back-end of a man wearing only his swim trunks. Despite its frank appearance, Drum boasted a monthly circulation of about 10,000 at its peak – the largest circulation number for any magazine of its kind at that time.
More salacious photos and spreads would follow in subsequent issues. In 1965, it became the first American magazine to feature a full-frontal male pictorial. Polak's fearless approach to sexuality would ultimately be his downfall, however. The magazine ended in 1969 after a raid of Clark Polak's offices, resulting in Polak being brought up on 18 counts of publishing and distributing obscene material via his Trojan Book Service -- particularly obscene films. His business destroyed, Clark Polak would leave Philadelphia the following year.
A note from editor Clark Polak & Thoreau's quote that inspired the magazine's title.
A seriously unsung hero, Polak was the founder of the Janus Society, an early homophile organization. After relocating to Los Angeles following his conviction, Polak continued a life of activism, founding a gay chapter at his local ACLU before ultimately taking his life in 1980. The alienation he and his homosexual brethren felt can be observed from the Thoreau quote from which Drum takes its namesake – “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears the beat of a different drummer.”
Hello again, and thank for returning for more transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. In celebration of Parry's work and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I'm providing monthly posts on Fondly, PA of transcripts of entries from his diaries.
To see other posts in the series, check out the links over on the right-hand side of this page. Clicking on the diary images will take you to our Digital Library where you can examine the volumes page by page, along with other digitized items from the Parry collection.
This was a rather quiet month for Parry, and he frequently noted as such in his diary entries. With the capture of Jefferson David last month, the war was all but over. Parry remained with his regiment in camp outside of Macon, Georgia. And it was a month of downtime that he spent the visiting with folks and traveling the countryside.
Notes about the transcriptions: I've kept the pattern of Parry's writings as close as formatting here will allow, including his line breaks and spacing. My own additional or clarifying notes will be in brackets [ ]. Any grammatical hiccups that aren’t noted as such are Parry's own.
Thursday, June 1
Examined by a Board of Examiners
for position in regular Army.
Macon[,] called on Dan'l Losey and
found him much better. Visited
Cemetery not much. Called on
This day is set
apart for fasting and Prayer
on account of death of Abraham
Lincoln[,] Pres. Of U. S.
Friday, June 2
Quiet in Camp. My servant Charley
under arrest and being punished
Appointment as 1st Lieut in the 137
United States Colored Troop with
Orders to report at once.
report = my position as Veterinary Surgeon
Monday, June 5
Nothin new in camp -- bought
some eggs, Flour, Fish, &c.
rode into the city[.] Called on Lucy(?).
Spent the evening with him and the
Misses Jones. had a very nice time[,]
plenty of music – Piano and vocal[.]
returned to camp at midnight. Refre-
shments of many kinds. R____ Figs, &c.
Wednesday, June 14
In camp all Day[,] no news
all quiet. Mail Arrived, no
letters for me.
Some words with
Dr. McKay about his company['s]
Monday, June 19
Mothing new to Day[,] all
quiet in camp.
Lt. Frazier in
Camp. Lucy took dinner with
Thunder Storm after dinner.
Well and in good Health[.]
Friday June, 23
Wrote a Letter to Miss
Julia V. Taylor.
Very nice Day[.]
living at the top of the
heap. Peaches, Pages(?), Mellons[sic]
Berries &c in abundance.
Thursday, June 29
Dull in Camp. Some reading
matter on hand.
Officers being exam-
ined. [illegible] left for Andersonville
Montana left for
Walked out in the
evening and visited mellon[sic]