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Friday, December 30, 2011

Under segregation black people were generally denied access to public libraries in the Southern United States. Rather than insisting on his libraries being racially integrated, he funded separate libraries for African Americans. For example, at Houston he funded a separate Colored Carnegie Library.

Carnegie Libraries

Carnegie Library
Union, South Carolina

A Carnegie library is a library built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929, including some belonging to public and university library systems. 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in Britain and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, New Zealand, Serbia, the Caribbean, and Fiji. Few towns that requested a grant and agreed to his terms were refused. When the last grant was made in 1919, there were 3,500 libraries in the United States, nearly half of them built with construction grants paid by Carnegie.
The first of Carnegie's public libraries opened in his hometown, Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1883. The locally quarried sandstone building displays a stylised sun with a carved motto - "Let there be light" at the entrance. His first library in the United States was built in 1889 in Braddock, Pennsylvania, home to one of the Carnegie Steel Company's mills. Initially Carnegie limited his support to a few towns in which he had an interest. From the 1890s on, his foundation funded a dramatic increase in number of libraries. This coincided with the rise of women's clubs in the post-Civil War period, which were most responsible for organizing efforts to establish libraries, including long-term fundraising and lobbying within their communities to support operations and collections. They led the establishment of 75-80 percent of the libraries in communities across the country.
Carnegie believed in giving to the "industrious and ambitious; not those who need everything done for them, but those who, being most anxious and able to help themselves, deserve and will be benefited by help from others." Under segregation black people were generally denied access to public libraries in the Southern United States. Rather than insisting on his libraries being racially integrated, he funded separate libraries for African Americans. For example, at Houston he funded a separate Colored Carnegie Library.
Most of the library buildings were unique, constructed in a number of styles, including Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Classical Revival, and Spanish Colonial. Scottish Baronial was one of the styles used in Carnegie's native Scotland. Each style was chosen by the community, although as the years went by James Bertram, Carnegie's secretary, became less tolerant of designs which were not to his taste.Edward Lippincott Tilton, a friend often recommended by Bertram, designed many of the buildings. The architecture was typically simple and formal, welcoming patrons to enter through a prominent doorway, nearly always accessed via a staircase. The entry staircase symbolized a person's elevation by learning. Similarly, outside virtually every library was a lamppost or lantern,meant as a symbol of enlightenment.
In the early 20th century, a Carnegie library was often the most imposing structure in hundreds of small American communities.


Stephen T. Powell
Central, South Carolina
January 1, 2012

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Green Man

Green Man is a sculpturedrawing, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves. Branches or vines may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). 

"The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public houses and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.
The Green Man motif has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011



The Adbusters Media Foundation is a Canadian-based not-for-profitanti-consumeristpro-environment organization founded in 1989 by Kalle Lasn and Bill Schmalz in VancouverBritish Columbia. Adbusters describes itself as "a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age."
Characterized by some as anti-capitalist or opposed to capitalism, it publishes the reader-supported, advertising-free Adbusters, an activist magazine with an international circulation of 120,000 devoted to challenging consumerism. Past and present contributors to the magazine include Christopher HedgesMatt TaibbiBill McKibbenJim MunroeDouglas RushkoffJonathan Barnbrook,David GraeberSimon CritchleySlavoj ZizekMichael HardtDavid Orrell and others.
Adbusters has launched numerous international campaigns, including Buy Nothing DayTV Turnoff Week and Occupy Wall Street, and is known for their "subvertisements" that spoof popular advertisements.




“The process was very simple. For only $1.75, the EKKO Company offered an album to the collector of new stamps. The album contains pages preprinted with an outline of each of the stamps currently available, a listing of broadcast station call letters and wavelengths, and a nice map on the inside cover showing the locations of these stations.
Spaces were also left for stations not yet participating, or stations that were just coming on the air. In addition, there was space to jot down up to four dial settings at your own time of reception.
"Proof of Reception" cards were furnished with the album.

Listeners needed only to send a few facts on these cards about when and where on the dial they had heard a broadcast, plus ten cents to cover mailing costs, to the station. There the card was checked against the station log for accuracy, and the listener was mailed a stamp with the station's call letters and design upon it.
An ad for this stamp album appeared in Radio News, April, 1925.

Interest in the hobby became so widespread that the February 1925 issue of Radio News featured the Ekko stamps on its cover.”


Friday, October 28, 2011

Huffy Bicycles

Huffy Radio Bicycle
The Huffy Radio Bicycle provided a radio built into the tank, with the antenna and battery pack on the rear carrier.
The Huffy Corporation was founded in 1887 when George P. Huffman purchased the Davis Sewing Machine Company and moved its factory to Dayton, Ohio. Seven years later, in 1894, Huffman adapted the factory to manufacture bicycles.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Art Of Ed Mell

                                                                The Art Of Ed Mell


"When painting a sunset or extraordinary rock configuration, I view it with an eye toward design integrity, I am an idealist attempting to elevate the power of the original vision by reducing it to its architectural elements."

Commercial art teaches you techniques. It is always something I will be grateful for, that and the discipline. In commercial art school, skill is stressed as much as imagination.

You needed to do things right. Students were taught to approach art that way so that somewhere in the future, when they discover their imagination is the most important thing, they will always have the discipline and the skill to draw upon."


Thomas Jefferson's Laptop

Thomas Jefferson came up with the idea of a portable writing desk during his 200 mile coach rides between his home at Monticello, Virginia and the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He designed this desk, with an adjustable book rest and a locking drawer. He gave the drawings to Philadelphia cabinet maker Benjamin Randolph to build.
The Declaration of Independence was written on this "lap box."
The original lap desk is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Printing Press Project at Middle Tennessee State University

The Printing Press Project at Middle Tennessee State University

One of only a handful of operational, reproduction 18th century printing presses in the U.S., the Printing Press Project provides experiential learning opportunities on the MTSU campus, and in the K-12 school system.

Constructed in 2004 the press is based upon the English Common Press used by Benjamin Franklin when he worked as a journeyman printer in London in the 1720s. It was constructed of hand-hewn chestnut and white oak nearly 100 years old by two craftsmen on campus. 

Since that time it has been used in school and community demonstrations and workshops to illustrate the tremendous impact the press had on the development of our nation and the importance of care in designing and producing documents.
After learning about the press, students understand a little bit better what it feels like to be an eighteenth century printer.

The press project currently operates out of a room on the fourth floor of the library where classes receive instruction, visiting artists experience the rare opportunity to use an reproduction 18th century press, and school children can see history come alive.

The press project offers students and the community a dramatic and unforgettable experience through activities that integrate history, writing and letterpress printing. Activities include lectures to university and school students about historical printing, a visiting artist each semester, community print nights, and printing demonstrations for community groups.
The construction of the press was made possible with grant money awarded to Walker Library faculty members Dr. Alan Boehm, Director of Special Collections, and William Black, Administrative Services Librarian, and Janet Higgins, Department of Art.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bird Girl

Bird Girl is a sculpture made in 1936 by Sylvia Shaw Judson in Lake Forest, Illinois. It achieved fame when it was featured on the cover of the 1994 novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It was sculpted at Ragdale, the summer home of her family.

Bird Girl is cast in bronze and stands 50 inches tall. She is the image of a young girl wearing a simple dress and a sad or contemplative expression, with her head tilted to the left. She stands straight, her elbows propped against her waist as she holds up two bowls out from her sides. The bowls are often described by viewers as "bird feeders."

The sculpture was commissioned as a garden sculpture for a family in Massachusetts. A slight, 8-year-old model named Lorraine Greenman (now Lorraine Ganz) posed for the piece.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Police Accountability

Cop Block is a decentralized project supported by a diverse group of individuals united by their shared goals of police accountability, education of individual rights and the dissemination of effective tactics to utilize while filming police.
We seek to highlight the double standard that some grant to those with badges. By documenting police actions – whether they are illegal, immoral or just a waste of time and resources – then calling the police stations involved (ideally while recording and then later sharing your conversation), we can work together to bring about transparency and have a real impact.

In addition to this direct pressure on police departments we want to be an educational resource on institutional changes that would curtail the common rights-violations and unaccountability today by those with badges and a place to showcase different techniques, viewpoints and courses of action.

"To Protect and Observe"

Orlando Copwatch Goals

1) Reduce police violence by directly observing the police on the street, documenting incidents and keeping police accountable. We maintain principles of non-violence while asserting the rights of the detained person. We provide support to victims whenever possible. We also seek to educate the public about their rights, police conduct in the community and issues related to the role of police in our society.

2) Empower and unite the community to resist police abuse.

3) Encourage people to solve problems WITHOUT police intervention. We want to explore alternatives to calling the police.
4) Most importantly, we encourage people to exercise their right to observe the police and to advocate for one another.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Bill Of Rights

The Bill of Rights

The First 10 Amendments to the
Constitution as Ratified by the States

December 15, 1791


Congress OF THE United Statesbegun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday
the Fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.:
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people

Friday, June 17, 2011

S.W.A.T. the Musical

 USA Today reports, an astonishing 70,000 to 80,000 militarized police raids take place on a annual basis in America, many of them on mistaken suspects and many of them ending with injury or death for police and citizens alike.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Wrestler

The Wrestler

A shining symbol of the American century

He’s known simply as the Wrestler, the vision made tangible by American sculptor Dudley Vaill Talcott (1899-1986), who cast him in the 1920s from the high-tech material of his day: aluminum. It was, as The American Architect magazine enthused in 1929, “a metal of this generation.“ 

And it was a sculpture of that century: the Wrestler was monumentally modern. Cast by the Cleveland Foundry of the United States Aluminum Company, the statue stood as a symbol of America’s emergence as an industrial power and its 20th century coming of age.

On display at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles (where an American wrestler captured the gold), the Wrestler’s intimidating 6’ 6”, 475-pound bulk awed and astonished. The statue today resides in The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, the inspiring “museum of thinkism“ in Miami Beach. Visit there and its looming presence may well awe you, as it has so many.


Books~~Illustrations~~Science~~History~~Visual Materia Obscura~~Eclectic Bookart.
The Phantom of the Optical: An Online Illustration Trove
BibliOdyssey gives entrée to a gorgeous and idiosyncratic gallery of rare art.

Print by Aleksei Radakov, 1920. 
Credit: Courtesy of BibliOdyssey

Somewhere in Sydney, a man quietly communes with his computer, poring over visual "materia obscura" from every corner of the world and a wide spectrum of centuries. Through RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds, bookmarked links, e-newsletter subscriptions, and search engines, he sifts through the Web looking for art collections, exhibitions, archives of old engravings, and portfolios of contemporary graphic artists to share with the world.

This man isn't looking for any particular thing; rather, it seems he's looking for every beautiful, peculiar, or haunting piece of art that has ever graced the pages of a book. But what he's looking for exactly is not important -- what matters is that he's gathering up the gems and oddities he finds for a visually rich site called BibliOdyssey, a splendid classroom-discussion tool and entrée into art and its history.

The Webmaster, Paul (he has asked that his last name not be printed), is a mysterious man in his early forties who was born and raised in Sydney and has spent some time in Vietnam. Known on the site only as peacay or pk, he says his digital guise isn't an effort to create what he calls a "secretive persona" but rather the result of a desire to take a backseat to the art, "because, after all is said and done," he adds, "I'm just a curator, and it is the content that deserves center stage."

A calendar printed by the Antikamnia Chemical Company. 
Credit: Courtesy of BibliOdyssey

Paul's BibliOdyssey began with what he describes as the "vague notion" to find interesting but obscure book illustrations. Coupled with this desire was his growing experience with (and eventual expertise in mining) the riches of the Internet. Using the burgeoning blogosphere, Internet communities such as Metafilter, and the online bookmarking site Delicious, he began saving images, then learned how to tweak them for presentation. Like any bricks-and-mortar gallery curator, he wanted to share his personal pleasures, so he began posting his rare finds to a hosting site. The rest of his Odyssean venture naturally fell into place from there.

"The most profound change to the site took place with my gaining more confidence handling the images," he says. "From this flowed an increase in the number of images per post, along with an eventual belief that the site functioned best as a visual magazine rather than just one or two images per post."

At this writing, BibliOdyssey offers more than 700 posts, all organized, tagged, indexed, hyperlinked, and readily available to any art lover with a modem. Each posting of images includes Paul's meticulously researched commentary, as well as more links for those students or teachers interested in continuing the exploration.
"What you see in a single post may have taken days, and sometimes months, to collect, research, write, and edit," says Paul. "For every hour of work in producing a post, there have probably been ten hours of not-quite-fruitless searching, reading, and editing."

"Eight suggested methods for raising the obelisk." 
Credit: Courtesy of BibliOdyssey

This attention to detail, and in the quality of the art itself, can draw teachers and students alike into a world of odd, elegant, and often surprising images -- each with its own story to tell. A journey through BibliOdyssey gives art students a chance to sample an eye-peeling exhibition of art and illustration ranging from a powerfully imagined sketch of a stormy sea during the Permian age to the funny and peculiar skeletal "Funny Bones" color sketches of Louis Crucius, displayed in the window of a St. Louis pharmacy during the late nineteenth century.

One of the most significant things to be learned from BibliOdyssey is how the Internet can open astonishing new worlds to anyone. Paul has no background in the visual arts (his résumé mentions experience in nursing, biochemistry, the insurance business, and teaching English as a second language, but no design background). Wide-ranging curiosity and a natural gift for spotting memorable art, combined with the modern miracle that lets us search archives around the globe, have made possible something as engaging as this site.

The man behind the screen isn't reaping any financial gain from his work, other than some advertising revenue. He calls the site his "online manifestation of a personal midlife crisis," joking that it's an obsessive hobby that "keeps me off the streets." His Web browsing is never topic based; the primary goal is just to find what he considers "artistically viable" images that catch his eye and appear in enough numbers to merit a post. "I can react to something if it's bizarre or elegant or gorgeous or smart," he says. "But I can -- and very often do -- find beauty or interest in the minutiae: the technical virtuosity of an engraving or the possible meanings of some motif in an allegorical picture, or simply the exquisite beauty of a particular color. I like obscure and weird, certainly -- images that are often less well known -- but, like everyone, I have a wide potential for visual interest."

Sketch by Mariano di Iacopo, fourteenth century. 
Credit: Courtesy of BibliOdyssey

Sharing this interest with others is the main reason Paul plays the assiduous curator, along with the creative freedom it grants him.

"Without delving too far into the psychology, BibliOdyssey allows me an outlet for my research tendencies and, in an ongoing way, positive feedback makes me feel that I'm doing something that's appreciated," he says. "That, in turn, provides justification for continuing to search for weird and wonderful visual images."

And there is no doubt he takes pride in his site and works hard for the greater good of the free, easy-to-access information the Internet is celebrated for.

"I had a duty to be as accurate as possible," he says. "Otherwise, I would feel as if I wasn't making any real contribution. I pride myself on providing, to the best of my modest abilities, the most interesting and important information as an accompaniment to the images. Images can be magnetic invitations to learn. BibliOdyssey is a good example of using image-based enticements to draw people to the stories, history, and backgrounds of many subject areas."

Damien B. M. English is a freelance writer living in San Francisco.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blue Dog

                                                                  George Rodrique

Based on a familiar Cajun folk tale, the loup-garou is a mythical werewolf that roams around places at night. Rodrigue remembers being told as a child to go to bed or else the loup-garou would get him. A boogie man story. The legend bore him this painting, set in a full moon landscape, which gave the dog the blue tint, and subsequently, gave the world an iconic image.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pulitzer Medal

"Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together. An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it, can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself. The power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations."
Joseph Pulitzer 

When I Met My Muse

I glanced at her and took my glasses off--they were still singing. They buzzed like a locust on the coffee table and then ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and knew that nails up there took a new grip on whatever they touched. "I am your own way of looking at things," she said. "When you allow me to live with you, every glance at the world around you will be a sort of salvation." And I took her hand.

William Stafford