Monday, December 31, 2007

Emigrants at Ellis Island

Today we have a picture of Emigrants arriving at Ellis Island in the early 1900's. What an exciting day this must have been these people, and you have to wonder if they all achieved their dreams here.

Ellis Island was first opened on this day, December 31, in the year 1891.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rudyard Kipling

Today we feature a portrait of Rudyard Kipling. Kipling is perhaps best remembered as the author of "The Jungle Book", a book that has been a favorite of children for the last hundred years. He was born on this day, December 30, in the year 1865 in Bombay, India.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Texas Cowboys

This picture was taken in 1907, and shows a group of Texas Cowboys pausing for lunch. The men are eating canned tomatoes. Both canned tomatoes and canned peaches were cowboy favorites on the range.
There is something inspiring about the authentic American cowboy. They lived by a simple, and honorable code . . . we need more men like that today. Not necessarily out in the saddle, but living lives guided by honesty, integrity, and hard work.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Soldiers Playing Cards

This picture was taken in 1864 near Petersburg, Virginia. It shows several Union soldiers playing cards. The men appear to be fairly well supplied, even enjoying a table and chairs in their campsite.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Horse Drawn Street Car

This picture was taken in 1908 in New York City. It shows a horse drawn street car. The conductor is feeding the horses. I wonder how they kept the streets clean back then.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Secession Hall

Today we feature a photograph of the ruins of Secession Hall in Charleston, South Carolina. The picture was taken in 1865 at the close of the Civil War. Much of the city was in ruins.

It was on this day, December 20, in the year 1860 that South Carolina seceded from the Union, ushering in the Civil War.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New York City Fireman

This picture was taken in 1908 in New York City. It shows a city fireman at a fire hydrant.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deadwood Stage

This is a photo from 1889 showing the Deadwood Stagecoach. Two stages can be seen crossing an old bridge.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Civil War Supply Wagons

This photograph was taken in 1862 near Savage Station, Virginia. The picture has a nice view of a Civil War camp, including supply wagons. It always amazes me what quality was achieved in these Civil War photographs. Photography was still in its infancy, and taking a single picture was a very complex process. This picture was taken by George Barnard, who was working for Mathew Brady. Mathew Brady was a true visionary, and was responsible for many if not most of the Civil War photographs we now enjoy. Brady paid for the work himself in the hopes of selling images after the war. He bought many of his photographic supplies on credit from Anthony's studio in New York. After the war, Brady was unable to recoup his considerable expenses, and in the end, much of his photographic collection was given to Anthony in exchange for money owed. Brady died in poverty and relative obscurity. It is amazing how true genius is often not recognized until generations later.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chief Two Guns White Calf

Today we feature a portrait of Chief Two Guns White Calf. In case you think he looks familiar, there is a good reason. His likeness was used on the American Buffalo Nickel.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jail House Rock

This is one of my all time favorite pictures. It shows inmates in the Greene County jail in Georgia. It was taken in 1941. It shows the prisoners singing and dancing. There is something encouraging about this picture . . . people celebrating despite their condition. One has to wonder if all of them were actually guilty of anything.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Native Americans on Horseback

This photograph was taken in 1908, and shows a group of Native American men on horseback. The photograph is by Edward Curtis. These Native American photographs from this era are always sad to me, as you see such a distinct way of life coming to an end.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Colonel Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders

Today we feature a photograph of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders atop San Juan Hill. In 1898 in the Spanish American war in Cuba, Colonel Teddy Roosevelt led his "Rough Riders" in their famed charge up San Juan Hill. This was a bold, Civil War style attack. Roosevelt was successful in the attack, and this picture was taken shortly after the hill was captured. Doubtless that this was a day that these men spoke of for the rest of their lives.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bucking Bronco

Today's picture shows a cowboy riding a bucking bronco. The photo was taken in Wyoming in 1911.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Roosevelt Declares War on Japan

This photograph shows President Franklin Roosevelt signing the Declaration of War against Japan, which he did on this date, December 8, 1941. This occurred after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Folks, lets get the Christmas shopping done early this year, and not wait to the last minute to mail those special Christmas gifts! The postman pictured above looks like he is in the middle of the busy holiday mail season. The picture was taken in the early part of the last century.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


This photograph was taken in 1865 in Richmond Virginia. It shows a group of recently freed slaves, who became free with the fall of Richmond.
It was on this date, December 6, in the year 1865 that the 13th amendment was ratified, banning slavery in the United States. Abraham Lincoln did not live to see this day, but on the day after Richmond fell, Lincoln walked the streets of Richmond, and was greeted by throngs of men and women who had been slaves just the day before. This was just ten days before his death. As Mr. Lincoln and his son Tad entered the city, a group of newly freed slaves cried out, "Glory Hallelujah!", and fell to their knees before the president. Lincoln paused, and motioned for them to rise. "Don't kneel to me," he told them, "You must kneel only to God, and thank him for your freedom. Liberty is your birthright. God gave it to you as he gave it to others, and it is a sin that you have been deprived of it for so many years."
While Lincoln did not live to see the 13th amendment ratified, he did get a glimpse of the freedom which he had fought so hard for.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Chuck Wagon

This is a nice picture of a cowboy cook with his chuck wagon. The photograph was taken in 1907 on a Texas Ranch. I don't know if you have ever had the chance to eat real cowboy cooking, but let me tell you that it is really good. I grew up on West Texas cowboy cooking. Cowboy food is not about living long, but living large. A chuckwagon like this one would likely be cooking up buttermilk biscuits prepared in a dutch oven on a campfire, beef, lamb, and goat slow cooked over oak coals, hard cured hams, pinto beans, cowboy coffee and even peach cobbler. The food is typically high fat, and high salt. You can bet that this cowboy is not serving up a salad with the meal he is preparing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Will Rogers

Today we feature a portrait of American Cowboy and humorist Will Rogers. Rogers was one of the most beloved characters of the early 1900's and was described as Oklahoma's favorite son. He was a popular performer until his death in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935.

Monday, December 3, 2007

President and Mrs. Herbert Hoover

Today we feature a portrait of President and Mrs. Herbert Hoover. On this day in 1929 Mr. Hoover told the US congress that the worst of the recent stock market crash was over, and that American citizens had renewed faith in the economy. In reality, the Great Depression was just beginning and would lead to untold misery and poverty for the next ten years. The stock market did not recover to pre-crash levels until 1954.