Blog Post: April A-Z, Letters A through D

This month we’re participating in the April A-Z blogging challenge. Never fear, our regularly scheduled podcast episodes will still release every other Thursday. In between those episodes, enjoy some historical photographs themed to the letter of the day. This page will be updated each day until we run through our letters for this batch, then we’ll start a new page with new letters. I hope this brings some new history resources to light for you!

A is for Ansel Adams

You may know Ansel Adams as a famous nature photographer, but did you know he also took photographs at a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II?

Baton Practice, Florence Kuwata, Manzanar Relocation Center

You can view Adams’ images of the Manzanar War Relocation Center at the Library of Congress website. I chose this photograph to spotlight because it had such a spirit of hope. Life goes on, no matter the circumstances, and for Florence, the woman in the picture, that meant baton practice went on too.

Image Credit: Ansel Adams, Library of Congress Collection

–April 1, 2015

B is for Bike

I’m slanting it a bit for this entry and saying a motorbike still counts as a bike, and therefore B.

Sally Halterman, first woman to get a D.C. motorcycle license

And what a bike! This photograph, taken in 1937, isn’t just a cool lady on her motorcycle, either. Here’s the full caption to the picture from the Library of Congress:

“First of fair sex to obtain motorcycle license in Capital. Washington, D.C., Sept. 15. Although she weights only 88 pounds–one-third of the machine she rides, Mrs. Sally Halterman is the first woman to be granted a license to operate a motorcycle in the District of Columbia. She is 27 years old and 4 feet, 11 inches tall. Immediately after receiving her permit, Mrs. Halterman was initiated into the D.C. Motorcycle Club – the only girl ever to be accorded this honor.”

I’ve not had the time to research Sally Halterman this morning, but I bet she’s an interesting lady… and apparently a tiny one! It does irk me a bit that, despite the fact she’s 27 years old, Sally is described as a “girl.” Does it bother you?

Image Credit: Harris & Ewing: Library of Congress Collection

–April 2, 2015

C is for Civil War

So I was looking at civil war photos from Brandy Station, Virginia, a town close to me, and I wanted something that didn’t look too posed, a feat difficult to achieve in an era of long exposure times.

But instead I found…

Brandy Station, Virginia. Discussing the probilities (sic) of the next move

Oh, two guys talking. Pretty natural looking compared with many photos of the era.

Brandy Station, Va. Two men “discussing the probabilities of the next advance”

Wait a minute.

Ultimately, I was more intrigued by how obviously posed these two photos are. Which was taken first? Did the photographer always intend to do more than one setting for this pose? How did the subjects feel about it? It wasn’t what I was first hoping to show you guys, but I think it’s better. Just imagining this interaction made my morning.

You can find all of the Library of Congress collection in which these photographs appear right here.

Image Credit (Both Images): Creator Unknown, Library of Congress Collection

–April 3, 2015

D is for Dancing

Take a gander at this 1901 dancing lesson.

The Minuet

I love the expressions on the kids’ faces. The girl on the right thinks this is hilarious.

This image is part of the Library of Congress collection, Miscellaneous Items in High Demand.

Image Credit: Tonesson Sisters, Library of Congress Collection

–April 4, 2015

–Connie B. Dowell

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