“Hon A B Lincoln…
My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin’s. I am a little girl only 11 years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got 4 brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter direct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chautauqua County New York.
I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good bye
Lincoln responded a few days later:
“Miss Grace Bedell
My dear little Miss
Your very agreeable letter of the 15th is received — I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughters — I have three sons — one seventeen, one nine, and one seven years of age — They, with their mother, constitute my whole family — As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?
Your very sincere well wisher,
While he made no promises about the beard to Bedell, he stopped shaving and allowed the beard to grow not long after their exchange and was elected as the 16th president of the United States a few weeks later. On his inaugural train ride from Illinois to Washington, D.C., the president-elect stopped in Bedell’s hometown of Westfield, N.Y., and asked to meet her.
This is really cool.
Before and After | Retouched photographs of Bette Davis, 1932
“Flattering makeup and hairstyles, and beautiful clothes and backgrounds, embellished, of course, by expert lighting, were some of the devices employed by photograpgers to alter faces and achieve that “utter perfection” demanded by the studios. Minor and, sometimes, major miracles took place during and after a photo sitting. Expert retouchers airbrushed the faces for a faultless skin and reshaped any feature as desired! Mouths, teeth, noses, eyes and eyebrows could be “improved.” That also included figures, which might be “too thin,” “too fat,” “too busty.” Here are two examples of retouching in 1932 when Davis was a young twenty-four!”
— From More Fabulous Faces by Larry Carr
The new issue of Newsweek features a cover photo of President Obama topped by a rainbow-colored halo and captioned “The First Gay President.” The halo and caption strike me as cheap sensationalism. I realize airport travelers look at a magazine for 2.2 seconds before moving on to the next one. I grant that this cover will probably get Newsweek a 4.4 second glance. I also understand that Newsweek is desperate for sales. Nevertheless, I doubt that the Newsweek of old, before it was sold for a dollar, would have pandered as shallowly.
The caption is a superficial way to characterize an important development of thought that the president — along with the country — has been making over recent years. It is also entirely wrong. Like the mini-furor a couple of months back about the claim that Richard Nixon was our first gay president, the story simply ignores that the U.S. already had a gay president more than a century ago.
There can be no doubt that James Buchanan was gay, before, during and after his four years in the White House. Moreover, the nation knew it, too — he was not far into the closet.
Today, I know no historian who has studied the matter and thinks Buchanan was heterosexual. Fifteen years ago, historian John Howard, author of “Men Like That,” a pioneering study of queer culture in Mississippi, shared with me the key documents, including Buchanan’s May 13, 1844, letter to a Mrs. Roosevelt. Describing his deteriorating social life after his great love, William Rufus King, senator from Alabama, had moved to Paris to become our ambassador to France, Buchanan wrote:
I am now “solitary and alone,” having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.
tl;dr Newsweek go fuck yourself. We’ve had a gay president before. Stop being a sensationalist piece of shit.
The Titanic really sank, discover shocked Twitterers
Remember all those Twitterers who didn’t know who Paul McCartney was when he performed at the Grammy Awards back in February? Well, we’re guessing there’s a lot of overlap between that crowd and the several people who’ve recently posted tweets marking their astonishment to learn that the Titanic was a real ship that actually sank, killing hundreds of people.
So I just made this.
History buffs should contribute. :D I reblogged some of the stuff I recently featured in the history tag.
Oh, I like this.
Solid blog concept. I like it.
Putting Women on the Map: New Women’s History Collections on Historypin
March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day! To celebrate, the National Archives has created four new collections focusing on women of the past in on Historypin.
The Women at Work collection depicts the role of women in the workforce throughout our national life – in farms, shipyards, hospitals, manufacturing plants, markets, and in the aviation industry - including “Mrs. William Wood manages a one hundred and twenty acre farm in Coloma, Michigan, with little male assistance.”
Historical photographs and documents reveal the struggle for woman suffrage in the collection of the same name, including women protesting at the White House in 1917.
Two more collections include Women in the military and famous women from National Archives holdings.
via NARAtions » Putting Women on the Map: New Women’s History Collections on Historypin »
Why you should be in passionate horny love with Elizabeth ‘Nellie Bly’ Cochrane
- Born in 1864/65, Elizabeth, one of 15 children, was always ‘the rebellious one’. Fierce as fuck from an early age, she testified against her abusive stepfather in her mother’s divorce trial.
- In 1880 she enrolled in a teacher-training college but had to leave after her first semester due to lack of funding - then moved to Pittsburgh to help run a goddamn boarding school.
- This is where we get to the good shit. Age 18, she wrote a letter-to-the-editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch bitchslapping the everloving fuck out of a sexist ballsack of an article entitled ‘What Girls Are Good For’.
- The editor was so goddamn wooed by her razor-sharp tongue that he RAN AN AD asking her to identify herself. Elizabeth owned up, and was hired instantaneously, her badassery radiating from her pores and intoxicating all within a twenty mile radius.
- Working under the pen-name Nellie Bly, Elizabeth kicked the butts of morons everywhere, writing articles aimed at social justice, particularly labour laws to protect working ‘girls’ and reform of Pennsylvania’s divorce law, which greatly favoured men.
- Not content with changing the world from behind her desk, Elizabeth became a founding mother of investigative journalism. She was expelled from Mexico for exposing political corruption, and henceforth wrapped in cotton wool by her editors. Infuriated by their mollycoddling, Lizzie left them a note essentially telling them to fuck themselves and hot footed it to NYC. She was still only 23.
- Within six months she was hired by Joseph fucking Pulitzer himself, and continued her batshit crazy investigations uninhibited. Her very first assingment had her feigning mental illness to expose repulsive conditions in Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum. Her cutting report was so fucking horrifying, compelling and persuasive that it triggered public and political action, leading to reform of the institution.
- In the next couple of years she had herself thrown in jail and hired by a sweatshop, all for shits and giggles. Oh, and to uncover incomprehensible injustice, cruelty, poverty, and the concealed, heinous treatment of the vulnerable and voiceless.
- But was pioneering journalism, social revolution and batshit badassery enough for our Liz? Like fuck it was. On a whim Nellie did what any self-respecting 25 year old woman in the 1800s would do - she emulated Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, and did it in 72.
- Millions followed her journey, and its appeal to a semi-literate populace resulted in greatly increased newspaper readership. So while travelling the entire globe (IN THE 1800s, AS A WOMAN) by ship, train, burro and balloon, she helped the world to read.
- Having essentially conquered the entire goddamn universe before hitting 30, Nellie retired, and wed 72 year old industrialist Robert Seaman. Their marriage was a happy one, and after his death she took over Iron Clad Manufacturing Co.
- But Lizzie was a writer, what would she know about the metal industry? Well, she INVENTED the steel barrel that became the model for the widely used 55-gallon drum and turned her inherited businesses into multimillion-dollar companies, so apparently a fuck ton.
- Furthermore, she set a precedent for working conditions, ensuring her workers had good pay, gymnasiums, staffed libraries, and health care, all completely unheard of at the time, while still writing to further the plight of the Suffragette movement.
- Nellie may have died age 58 of pneumonia, but HBICs live on forever.
Bachmann says that European immigrants “did not come here for the promise of a federal handout … or a welfare payment.” Instead, they came here for the “limitless opportunity” that the “most magnificent country” in history afforded them. Well, actually, European immigrants did get special federal handouts in the form of white-only citizenship rights: Germans, Greeks, Jews, Irish, Poles and Italians were never barred from the “white only” military, voter rolls, juries or federal jobs, unlike people of color. Keep in mind that citizenship itself was limited to “free white persons.” When more than 90 percent of black people were enslaved in the U.S., the Homestead Act of 1862 gave millions of acres of land to white immigrants. Yep, federal handouts.
Leaning Right: How Conservative Myths Stoke Racial Fear (via robot-heart-politics)
This is why I get so sick of white people claiming their ancestors never benefited from slavery or racism. Pick up a damned history book or three and read, or kindly shut the entire fuck up when we talk about white privilege in America.