Saturday, May 31, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Soldier, lesbian, war widow frustrated by the system- updated 5/19/14

Sgt. Donna Johnson
RAEFORD, N.C. — Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Tracy Dice is facing the same painful milestones as any other grieving military widow — first holidays alone, delivery of the headstone, and every other reminder, large and small, of her loss.
But there's one way in which Dice is unique among military widows: She's mourning the loss of her wife, 29-year-old Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson, one of three soldiers killed Oct. 1 in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber.
As far as is known, Dice and Johnson are the first same-sex married military couple to have suffered a casualty since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," said Stephen Peters, executive director of the American Military Partner Association.
And that makes Dice unique in another way, as well: She's ineligible for a number of benefits normally provided to widows because of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. More and video here.

*UPDATE: VA awards survivor benefits to first-known gay war widow. WP article here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memoriam cards

Monday, May 26, 2014

Decoration Day

"Memorial Day (or Decoration Day as it was originally named) is the day when Americans come together to remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice serving the country. Born out of the grief women from the north and south shared at the end of the Civil War, the origins of Memorial Day.
In 1865, just weeks following the end of the Civil War, groups of women who had lost their husbands, sons, brothers and friends, came together in solidarity to encourage reflection and to create memorials to fallen men. Women’s relief groups sprang up in both the north and south to not only memorialize the dead, but to care for the war’s disabled veterans and its widows and orphans. Women also ran soldiers’ homes (military veterans’ retirement and nursing homes), many of which became permanent homes for the veterans.  Ellen Call Long of Tallahassee, Florida, a leader in the campaign for Decoration Day, organized a woman’s memorial society to reconcile embittered enemies. On June 22, 1865 the memorial society adopted a profound and poignant resolution that sought to heal the wounds and bitter divide the war had caused." Via: NWHM

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Mourners and memory jug

via: mourning art
One way of honoring someone was to create a memory jug, essentially a mosaic of symbolic trinkets and images embedded in mortar on a vessel. This was a popular tradition in the 18th and 19th centuries, Like this: 19thC Antique American Folk Art Stoneware Memory Crock, Civil War GAR Soldiers

In Eric Bradley’s article in Antique Trader, he tells us that these objects go by many names, among them mourning jugs, forget-me-not jugs, memory vessels, spirit jars, ugly jars, whatnot jars, and whimsy jars. Experts trace their roots back to Africa’s Bakongo culture and, later, American slave culture. The belief was that the living world was connected to the spirit world by water, so a jug or other item that holds liquid could help the deceased person navigate the watery course to the afterlife. The Ohio Folk website describes these objects as “…memory laden mosaics...three dimensional scrapbooks. In essence they are fascinating time capsules that link the past to the present as poignant narratives.” What makes today’s memory jug stand out is its level of ornamentation. The listing description gives the details:

'Someone Had To Do It': Airman Gives Fallen Soldiers A Final Salute

MaCherie Dunbar (right), with her girlfriend, Barb Maglaqui, an active duty Air National Guard medic. Dunbar, who is currently enrolled at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, hopes to retire from the Air Force this year.
"You line up in two columns, up to the back of a C-130. And you give them final salute as they're loaded onto the plane. Not that many people showed up to do it," Dunbar told her girlfriend, Barb Maglaqui, on a visit to StoryCorps in Fairbanks, Alaska.
"The first time I volunteered for one, I didn't really know what it was," she says. "I thought maybe it was going to be just one or two coffins. But they just kept coming, one after the other, and then another, and then another."
It was one of the hardest things she had to do while overseas, says Dunbar, who has been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I don't know how many I sent home. But someone had to do it. Someone had to send them home," she says.
"So I volunteered almost every time they needed people after that. Even if I'd just come off of a 14-hour shift. But then we'd just move on to the next day. And it was just business as usual."
Listen to the full Story via: NPR StoryCorps

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dish with figure, Edo period (1615–1868)

ca. 1620 Japan Porcelain with underglaze blue (Hizen ware, early Imari type)

The Overwhelming Whiteness of Black Art

If you go to Kara Walker’s new exhibit, “A Subtlety,” at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, a lot will overwhelm you. You’ll likely wait outside in a line that snakes down Kent Street, across from rowhouses that were once owned by Puerto Rican families and now fetch millions. You’ll sign a waiver absolving the show’s curators of legal responsibility for the asbestos and lead that you’ll inhale while you’re in the dilapidated 158-year old factory. And, once inside, you’ll see at least a dozen “sugar babies” made of molasses and resin—molds of black children literally melting before your eyes. You’ll smell the molasses as you walk through the exhibit anchored by a 35-foot tall sphinx made of what the artist has called “blood sugar” and sculpted into the shape of a naked mammy. You’ll also see white people. Lots of white people. 
This is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s reassuring that so many white people have a vested — or at least passing — interest in consuming art that deals with race. At the same time I found it unsettling to view art by a black artist about racism in an audience that’s mostly white. It reinforced the idea that black people’s histories are best viewed but not physically experienced.  
sugarsphinx_052014.jpgStill, the exhibit itself is a striking and incredibly well executed commentary on the historical relationship between race and capital, namely the money made off the backs of black slaves on sugar plantations throughout the Western Hemisphere. So the presence of so many white people — and my own presence as a black woman who’s a descendant of slaves — seemed to also be part of the show. So often, race and racism in America are seen as the sole burdens of people of color, but this subtle interaction demands that white people be part of the conversation. It also, uncomfortably, reintroduces the slave as spectacle. Nearly everyone had their phone out and the Instagram hashtag #KaraWalkerDomino was filled with images of the exhibit (my own included). In that way, it was a deeply interactive exhibit, one as much about the present as the past. - by Jamilah King. Full Article here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"Dutch Gap Canal, November, 1864."

Images from Library of Congress:

Photographs of African Americans During the Civil War

Clara Barton

Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross, said that the Civil War caused “fifty years in the advance of the normal position” of women. History may differ in its interpretation of the motives or mental state of the women who chose to serve, but their service supported not only their cause, but also the women’s rights movement.
“If I can’t be a soldier, I’ll help soldiers.”—Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross today in 1881. Barton was the organization’s first president; she held the position until 1904. (Photo: National Archives).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

sandra juto

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lygia Clark


82nd & Fifth

Amazing. Thank you Met Museum.

Just one of the fantastic posts. Dedicated to Myself by Doug Eklund.  Introduces us to the photo album ‘Girls I Have Known’ (1916-17) put together by Dan Rochford when he was sixteen. This scrapbook, filled with handwritten commentary, folded notes passed in school, and snapshot portraits, documents the girls the author has liked (and disliked), from his first kindergarten crushes to later, unrequited high-school romances.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Cyanometer...

is a 225-Year-Old Tool for Measuring the Blueness of the Sky

Friday, May 9, 2014

Victorian Mourning Arts and Bjork's Medulla

Victorian Mourning Hair Art Wreath- Jewelry- Memorial- Love Wedding -Hair Woven

Goth. Gotta love the night...

1880's mourning dress

"You Just Can’t Kill It"- New York Times, September 17, 2008

Bang Bang

" Bang Bang ( My baby shot me down ) " top video clip 2013 from Federico Wardal on Vimeo.

The legendary Count Wardal give his personal interpretation.He, Italian by birth and friend of Dalida in her homage sung in Italian and only the finale in English.Wardal said: the Italian translation is superb, the song is about love ( a not respected love...) and Italian language is great about love.English is great for the 'finale' being very strong and direct".

Mourning dresses


 Unidentified girl in mourning dress holding framed photograph of her father as a cavalryman with sword and Hardee hat. Sixth-plate, hand-colored tintype. Liljenquist Family Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
[Digital ID # ppmsca-26863] from this website

More info can be found on the 19th Century Art of Mourning website

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

El Lissitzky

Artwork for the poems of Vladimir Majakowski, Dlja Glossa, Für die Stimme, 1923. Via pinhole lantern


civil war music


chanel 1920's

Coco during Hitler’s war years, photographed by a then young Richard Avedon visiting France.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

was coco chanel a nazi?

Critics have long questioned Chanel's links to the Nazis; she spent most of the war staying at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, sharing close quarters with Nazi general officers, agents, and spies, including Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels.
It is well documented she took as a lover the German officer Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage, some 13 years her junior, allowing her to pass freely among restricted areas. When questioned on their relationship she famously told Cecil Beaton: "Really, sir, a woman of my age cannot be expected to look at his passport if she has a chance of a lover."
But previous works have depicted her more as an amoral opportunist and shrewd businesswoman than an active collaborator, while Von Dincklage, known by his friends as Spatz – the German for sparrow – has come across as a handsome but feckless mondain, more bent on enjoying the high life that recruiting spies. The

Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War

It has long been known that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel—the legendary French designer whose fashion empire bears her name—was, during the Second World War, the lover of a Nazi officer named Hans Günther von Dincklage. But in “Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War,” the veteran journalist and investigative reporter Hal Vaughan offers convincing evidence that she was also a Nazi intelligence operative and an incorrigible anti-Semite. The New

Drawing on American, German, French, and British archives, Vaughan reveals that von Dincklage and Chanel—Abwehr Agent 7124 whose code name was “Westminster”—went on missions around Europe to recruit new agents for the Third Reich. And in what is perhaps its most fascinating section, “Sleeping with the Enemy” sheds new light on Chanel’s dealings with the famously tight-lipped Wertheimer family, which purchased a large stake of the business in the nineteen-twenties and controls the entire Chanel empire today. Remarkably enough, the Wertheimers—despite Chanel’s wartime behavior—ultimately decided to finance her reëstablishment in France and eventually agreed to pay her bills for the rest of her life. To this day, the family refuses to discuss Coco Chanel with the media, but Vaughan still manages to paint an engrossing portrait of the dealings between the two.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Jennie's Secret

Jennie Hodgers a.k.a. Albert D. J. Cashier (on right) with unknown comrade of the 95th Ill.
 For Memorial Day, Transom is featuring an unusual veteran’s story. “Jennie’s Secret” is about a woman who posed as a man during the Civil War and went on to live most of her life as a man in the tiny town of Saunemin, Illinois. Over the years the town has been ambivalent about their most famous citizen and is struggling to figure out how to honor the memory of Jennie Hodgers/Albert Cashier.Producer Linda Paul became “obsessed” with this story and tracked down all sorts of interesting people to talk to. It’s the kind of piece that was once easy to place in a public radio magazine show, but it’s eighteen minutes long and it’s not news. That makes it an orphan these days. It’s worth pondering what we should do with stories like this–when an obsessed producer and a fascinating story converge, and the story isn’t news and doesn’t fit the mold. Read and listen here.
NPR story here.

The Cross-Dressing Reenactors of Gettysburg

... "Cashier belongs to a group of an estimated one thousand women who fought, cross-dressed as men, for the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. We are currently in the middle of the war’s sesquicentennial, and over the Fourth of July weekend, I traveled with my mom, a reenactor, to the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, where there were plenty of ladies in hoopskirts and hairnets, but also some cross-dressed women portraying soldiers. At least five women fought in the battle of Gettysburg in 1863, including an unidentified drummer girl who swore that once she healed from her injuries she would never wear a dress again, and two female Confederates who were casualties of Pickett’s Charge.".. full article here. and genealogy here.

NPR story Women in Combat

Friday, May 2, 2014

buffalo girls

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dress under difficulties

"How we patched and pieced and ripped and altered! How we cut out, and turned and twisted; how we made our new dress out of two old ones; how we squeezed new waists out of single breadths taken from skirts which could ill spare a single fold; how we worked and strained to find out new fashions and then worked and strained a little harder to adopt them - all these things form chapters in the lives of most of us, which will not be easily forgotten. Those who wish to learn economy in perfection, as well as those who interest themselves in curious invention, will do well to study the experience of the blockaded devotee of fashion."
 -excerpt from Dress Under Difficulties: 
American Civil War Fashions in the South during the Blockade