Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln

Marilyn Monroe’s 90th Birthday

June 1, 2016 Would Have Been Marilyn Monroe’s 90th Birthday

10 Rare Photographs From Her Life

A simply stunning unadorned Marilyn Monroe at agent Johnny Hyde's home 1950 photograph: Earl Leaf

A simply stunning, unadorned Marilyn Monroe at agent Johnny Hyde’s home 1950 photograph: Earl Leaf

June 1 marks Marilyn Monroe’s 90th birthday. We have pondered this before: what would an elderly Marilyn Monroe have been like? Reclusive and mentally ill like her mother was? Elder stateswoman of the movies and spokesperson for women’s rights? It’s all conjecture, there’s obviously no clear answer.

Marilyn Monroe at age 11 when she was just Norma Jeane Baker

Marilyn Monroe at age 11 when she was just Norma Jeane Baker

As much as Marilyn accomplished, her life was unfulfilled. No babies, no aging to segue into nuanced character roles in films, no Broadway or television career, no venturing into social activism on issues that would have concerned her.

When Marilyn died at the age of 36 in 1962, she became immortalized in ways that probably would have amused her. The movie goddess is still forever young, and has become an icon of many things: the 1950s; glamor; gay rights; womanhood and sex to name a few.

As time passes and the people who actually knew her pass away, Marilyn becomes more of a figurehead of a time rather than a once living flesh and blood person. Authors are drawn to Marilyn and have made her the subject of hundreds of books and millions of words analyzing her without knowing her.

Marilyn Monroe in a publicity photo for Hometown Story a rarely seen 1950 film which includes Alan Hale Jr. (yes, the Skipper from Gilligan's Island!)

Marilyn Monroe in a publicity photo for Hometown Story a rarely seen 1951 film which includes Donald Crisp, Jeffrey Lynn and Alan Hale Jr. (yes, the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island!)

This literary interest in every aspect of Marilyn’s life was not displayed when she was alive. Only six books were written about her during her lifetime. True, there were the articles in magazines that gave superficial glimpses into her life. But Marilyn and the publicity machine that surrounded her obfuscated much of who she really was.

Marilyn Monroe in a parka 1951 photograph: JR Eyerman

Marilyn Monroe in a parka 1951 photograph: JR Eyerman

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The Mystery Man Who Let John Wilkes Booth Escape

Lieut. Charles H Jones Witnessed Lincoln’s Assassination And Claimed Someone Came On Stage And Stopped The Pursuit of John Wilkes Booth

Lincoln assassination witness Lieutenant Charles H. Jones

Lincoln assassination witness Lieutenant Charles H. Jones

On April 14, 1865 Lieutenant Charles H. Jones came to Ford’s Theatre to see General Grant who was supposed to attend that evening’s performance of the play Our American Cousin.

But, General Grant had decided earlier in the day that he was going to visit his children in Burlington, NJ, so he was not at the theatre to the great disappointment of many in the audience including Lieutenant Jones.

Instead of seeing General Grant, Jones witnessed the shocking assassination of President Lincoln.

Lieutenant Jones in 1915 telling his account of the assassination said he saw something that no other history of the Lincoln assassination ever mentions: that a man came on stage a few seconds after Booth had fled the theatre through a side stage door and announced that the assassin had been captured. This announcement the mystery man made was not true, and it delayed the pursuit of John Wilkes Booth.

In an earlier 1908 account of witnessing the assassination Lieutenant Jones said he never entered the President’s box after Lincoln was shot, which contradicts the account he gave below. So does his eyewitness account have any validity?

From The New York Call April 14, 1915

When John Wilkes Booth sprang from the president’s box in Ford’s Theater, April 14, 1865, and challenged the world with his dramatic cry, “The south is avenged,” only one man Continue reading

How The 50th Anniversary Of President Lincoln’s Assassination Was Observed

With The JFK Assassination Anniversary Approaching, A Look At  How The Nation Remembered President Lincoln On The 50th Anniversary Of His Assassination – April 15, 1915

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper April 29 1865

Leading up to November 22, 2013, there has been an abundance of media recalling the fateful weekend fifty years ago when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

Over the years many parallels and coincidences have been drawn between the assassinations of President’s Lincoln and Kennedy. Several of these are urban legends-  i.e. Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy; Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln. Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln, but there is no evidence Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy. But some parallels are true: Both presidents were shot on a Friday in the presence of their wives. Both presidents were shot in the head. Both presidents were accompanied by another couple, etc.

Burlington Weekly Free Press April 15, 1915 - click to enlarge

Burlington Weekly Free Press April 15, 1915 – click to enlarge

For the 50th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination the media coverage was not the front page kind that the Kennedy assassination is receiving now. Obviously in the 21st century we have film, TV radio, magazines, newspapers and of course the internet to propagate thousands of stories about JFK and the assassination.

In 1915 print reigned supreme as the main mass medium, with motion picture newsreels still in their infancy.

Surprisingly, in the days leading up to and after the date of the 50th anniversary of the Lincoln assassination, newspaper and magazine stories were not that widespread.

So how exactly did the nation remember the martyred president on the 50th anniversary of his assassination and what were the stories about?

Many newspapers covered the fact that President Woodrow Wilson issued an executive order that on Thursday April 15, 1915 to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of President Abraham Lincoln, that all the executive offices be closed. The American flag would be placed at half staff on all public buildings, forts, military posts and United States vessels.

New York Governor Charles S. Whitman also issued a proclamation that mirrored part of President Wilson’s executive order by  ordering the lowering of all flags on public buildings.

In the week leading up to the anniversary some newspapers such as The Washington Herald ran a series of long stories surrounding little known facts about Lincoln and his last days in office. The series included profiles of the assassin John Wilkes Booth and other key people, accounts of the assassination itself and the aftermath.

Like the current coverage of Kennedy’s assassination, a lot of the stories in 1915 are about the assassin and the conspiracy rather than about Lincoln. Continue reading

Life In 1909 – Random News And Advertising

What Was Happening On January 21, 1909

I picked a random day 103 years ago to see what was in the news. I read the entire New York Times newspaper for Thursday, January 21, 1909 to come up with the some interesting stories and unusual items.  The paper was only 18 pages! The major differences compared to current newspapers: few photographs accompany any story and  articles of different types are interspersed on the same page, so the news is not sectioned by category.  I have put the article summary in blue and my comments are in black italics.

Crowds flocked to the Auto Show at Madison Square Garden. Lots of famous people showed up including Colonel John Jacob Astor and Mr. & Mrs. George J. Gould. There was a selection in gasoline powered and electric cars on display.

Not many people realize that in the early days of automobile manufacturing gasoline and electric cars were battling for market share. Steam cars were also an option, but were left unmentioned in the article.  Before 1909 over 600 companies in the United States had at one time started manufacturing automobiles and half of them had already run out of business.  An estimated 200,000 automobiles were in use in the United States according to the  Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers. What would our current energy situation be like today had the electric car won the battle for vehicular supremacy over the gasoline powered engine?

An advertisement for Renault showed they led all automobile companies in US imports with 214 in 1907 and 244 in 1908.

The runner-up for sales in each year (by half as much) were in order: Mercedes, Fiat and Panhard?!

The Conference Committee of the Independent Telephone Officers to meet the following week on plans to build a long distance telephone line from Boston to Omaha. The cost: $5,000,000 immediate expenditure and $30,000,000 over the next four years! Continue reading