Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Coronation Day!

“Queen Victoria was crowned at Westminster Abbey about a year after her accession, -- June the 28th, 1838. It would be easy to fill many of these pages with accounts of a ceremonial which has increased in splendor as it has diminished in significance. The whole ceremony was founded upon the belief that the Sovereign represented the Majesty, and wielded the power, of the great God of heaven and earth. So long as this belief was real and universal, the ceremony of the coronation, and all the complicated state and etiquette of royal life, was not altogether wanting in propriety. It was the attempt of rude and barbarous men to express their rude and barbarous conceptions of the divine government, and the sacredness and awfulness of even its poor human representative. But people no longer believe that any special divinity resides in, or is represented by, the convenient ducal houses of Germany, from which England borrows a monarch upon occasion. We need not dwell therefore upon the extremely laborious and expensive way in which the English of modern times get the crown placed for a few seconds upon a sovereign's head.
She was queen, then, at length.”
James Porter, 1868

Way to go, James! What, a little jealous, are we? At least you knew men were ‘rude and barbarous’ even as you wrote the most rude, belittling, irrelevant piece on a royal coronation.
Now this is more like it!

”I was awoke at four o'clock by the guns in the Park and could not get much sleep afterwards on account of the noise of the people, bands, etc., etc. Got up at seven, feeling strong and well; the Park presented a curious spectacle, crowds of people up to Constitution Hill, soldiers, bands, etc. I dressed, having taken a little breakfast before I dressed, and a little after. At half-past nine I went into the next room, dressed exactly in my House of Lords costume..."
"At 10 I got into the State Coach with the Duchess of Sutherland and Lord Albemarle and we began our progress... It was a fine day, and the crowds of people exceeded what I have ever seen; Their good humour and excessive loyalty was beyond everything, and I really cannot say how proud I feel to be the Queen of such a nation."
"I was alarmed at times for fear that the people would be crushed and squeezed on account of the tremendous rush and pressure. I reached the Abbey amid deafening cheers at a little after half-past eleven; I first went into a robing room quite close to the entrance where I found my eight train-bearers Lady Caroline Lennox, Lady Adelaide Paget, Lady Mary Talbot, Lady Fanny Cowper, Lady Wilhelmina Stanhope, Lady Anne Fitzwilliam, Lady Mary Grimston, and Lady Louisa Jenkinson, all dressed alike and beautifully in white satin and silver tissue with wreaths of silver corn ears in front, and a small one of pink roses round the plait behind, and pink roses in the trimming of the dresses."
"After putting on my mantles and the young ladies having properly got hold of it and Lord Conyngham holding the end of it, I left the robing room and the Procession began… The sight was splendid, the bank of Peeresses quite beautiful all in their robes, and the Peers on the other side. My young trainbearers were always near me, and helped me whenever I wanted anything. The Bishop of Durham stood on the side near me, but he was, as Lord Melbourne told me, remarkably maladroit and never could tell me what was to take place."
"At the beginning of the Anthem I retired to St. Edward's Chapel, a small dark place immediately behind the Altar, with my ladies and trainbearers took off my crimson robe and kirtle, and put on the supertunica of cloth of gold, also in the shape of a kirtle, which was put over a singular sort of little gown of linen trimmed with lace; I also took off my circlet of diamonds and then proceeded bareheaded into the Abbey; I was then seated upon St. Edward's chair where the Dalmatic robe was clasped round me by the Lord Great Chamberlain."
"Then followed all the various things; and last (of those things) the crown being placed on my head which was I must own a most beautiful impressive moment; all the Peers and Peeresses put on their coronets at the same instant..."
"The Enthronisation and the Homage of, first, all the Bishops, and then my Uncles, and lastly of all the Peers, in their respective order was very fine."
"Poor old Lord Rollo, who is 82 and dreadfully infirm, in attempting to ascend the steps fell and rolled quite down, but was not the least hurt; when he attempted to re-ascend them I got up and advanced to the 'end of the steps, in order to prevent another fall…"
"I then again descended from the Throne and repaired with all the Peers, bearing the Regalia, my Ladies and Train-bearers, to St. Edward's Chapel. The Procession being formed I replaced my Crown (which I had taken off for a few minutes), took the Orb in my left hand and the Sceptre in my right, and thus loaded, proceeded through the Abbey, which resounded with cheers, to the first robing-room; where I found the Duchess of Gloucester, Mamma, and the Duchess of Cambridge with their ladies. And here we waited for at least an hour, with all my ladies and trainbearers."
"The Archbishop had (most awkwardly) put the ring on the wrong finger, and the consequence was that I had the greatest difficulty to take it off again, which I at last did with great pain..."
"At about half-past four I re-entered my carriage, the Crown on my head and the Sceptre and Orb in my hands, and we proceeded the same way as we came-the crowds if possible having increased. The enthusiasm, affection, and loyalty were really touching, and I shall ever remember this day as the PROUDEST of my life! I came home a little after six, really not feeling tired. At eight we dined..."
from Queen Victoria’s diary

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday 10: Qing China

10 Events (of dozens) in Qing China that led to the 1911 Revolution:

1. First Opium War 1839: For decades the Chinese desperately tried to stop the illegal opium smuggling conducted by foreign (mainly British) ships at Canton. Millions were addicted and corruption was rife among customs officials. Smuggling also drained the cash silver from the country, making it too poor to survive and open to invasion.

2. Treaty of Nanjing: Unequal Treat 1842: An Unequal Treaty (and China considers many they were forced to sign as such) is just what it implies – the stronger West forced horrible concessions on the weaker Qing Dynasty, as well as late Tokugawa Japan, and late Joseon Korea. The Nanjing (or Nanking) Treaty was signed aboard the British warship HMS Cornwallis by British representative Sir Henry Pottinger and Qing representatives, Qiying, Ilibu and Niujian. It consisted of thirteen articles and was ratified by Queen Victoria and the Daoguang Emperor ten months later.

3. Treaty of Wanghia 1844: A diplomatic agreement between the Dynasty and the US. Dispatched by President John Tyler under pressure from American merchants concerned about the British dominance in Chinese trade, Caleb Cussing was sent to force the Chinese into concessions much like the Treaty of Nanking. A physician and missionary, Peter Parker (I swear and had to include it because of the name), served as Cushing's Chinese interpreter. However, this one was slightly (very slightly) more favorable to the Chinese. Terms included declaring the Opium Trade illegal and handing over all offenders.

4. Taiping Rebellion 1851-1864: Led by by Christian convert Hong Xiuquanan this rebellion was against the Dynasty and included both the army and civil administration. He established the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace with capital Nanjing (Nanking) and gained control of significant parts of southern China, at one time ruling about 30 million people.

5. Third Pandemic of Bubonic plague 1855-1959: The Plague had been prevalent for centuries, since it was found in rodents in central Asia. However, due to political conflicts and global trade an influx of new people in new areas, led to the distribution of this disease throughout the world.

6. Second Opium War 1856-1860: Britain demanded a renegotiation of their Treaty of Nanjing (1850) citing their Most Favored Nation status, and wanting better terms than the Americans (Wangxia Treaty) and French (Treaty of Huangpu). Their new demands included:
a. Opening all of China to British merchants
b. Legalizing the opium trade
c. Exempting foreign imports from internal transit duties
d. Suppression of piracy
e. Regulation of the coolie trade
f. Permission for a British ambassador to reside in Beijing
g. The English-language version of all treaties to take precedence over the Chinese.

7. Burning the Old Summer Palace by British & French 1860: The destruction of the Gardens of Perfect Brightness is still regarded as a symbol of foreign aggression and humiliation in China. During the 2nd Opium War, French units diverted from the main attack force towards to the Old Summer Palace. Although the French commander, Montauban, assured the British commander, Grant, that "nothing had been touched", extensive looting, also undertaken by British and Chinese, took place. The Old Summer Palace was only now occupied by a few eunuchs, the Emperor Xianfeng having run away. There was no significant resistance to the looting from the Chinese, even though many Chinese Imperial soldiers were in the surrounding country.

8. Chefoo Convention 1876: An excuse for Great Britain to press for more concessions from China. The official reason for the treaty was to resolve the "Margary Affair", but the final treaty included a number of items that had no direct relation to the killing of Margary the year earlier. It was really Margary's own fault for traveling through semi-lawless provinces in a time when foreigners were all hated and reviled.

9. Sino-French War 1884-1885: It was fought to decide whether France should replace China in control of Tonkin (northern Vietnam). On one had, the French achieved their war goals, so are are usually considered the victors. But the French triumph was marred by a number of defeats, and the Chinese armies performed quite well and far superior to their other 19th century conflicts. This war saw the emergence of a strong Chinese nationalist movement, and some Chinese scholars hail it as ‘the Qing dynasty’s sole victory in arms against a foreign opponent'.

10. Hundred Days' Reform 1898: Between June 11 and September 21 Emperor Guangxu and his reform-minded supporters led by Kang Youwei undertook a failed 104-day national cultural, political and educational reform. The movement proved to be short-lived, ending in a coup d'état "The Coup of 1898" by powerful conservative opponents led by Empress Dowager Cixi. The movement aimed at making sweeping social and institutional changes in response to weaknesses exposed by China's defeat by Japan in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95). The defeat was a major shock to the Chinese as Japan had been a tributary state, was much smaller than China, and was regarded as inferior. Moreover, the defeat of China by Japan led to a scramble of 'privileges' in China by other foreign powers, notably the German Empire and Russia, further awakening the stubborn conservatives.

And we wonder why China still harbors such ill-will towards the West. Can’t blame them when they were treated so horribly in the past.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Public reading

Tonight I’ll be giving another public reading at my library. Let’s recap prior experiences, shall we?

Reading number one: Although practice had me a minute under time, apparently I went over during the actual reading. The moderator of the evening, while without a giant hook, did cover the microphone just as I finished. This was a low-tech event, but the lights would have been turned off and the orchestra would have played louder if we’d had those things.

Reading number two: I followed a heart-breaking story from the reader ahead of me. No one else in the room seemed affected, but I was sobbing my eyes out. I couldn’t see the page to read from it, and my voice quavered and tightened to the point that I basically stood there and sniffled.

Reading number three: I made sure my practices had me at half the time allotted. I also asked to go first. It went great, I felt I was finally getting the hang of it. Until I finished reading, then spilled coffee all over everything.

What will happen this time? Perhaps I’ll set fire to the building, or maybe just drop my papers in a puddle on the way inside. Will I knock the podium over? Anything’s possible.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Viewing the Civil War, Under Water

Welcome to the Victorian era, my Muse whispers, while I draft scenes about a 19th Century submarine for my anthology story with other co-bloggers. So I let my Muse teleport me back to when an enthusiastic child-cousin raced up to me at a café near dawn one day -- because of a Civil War submarine … not in the military but for sale somewhere....

I was fully expecting that his new hobby as a Civil War buff was the reason. True to form, it was about wartime tools and weapons and most of all submersibles. The youthful cousins, it seemed, had honed in on an innovative wooden submersible from the Civil War ingenuity. (Many inventors were drafted or otherwise pressed into service, but not all.)

A wooden submersible was the aim of an open-water dive in Hawaii for myself and a few cousins. They missed the fact that I was the babysitter-slash-chaperone for the day while playing with a Civil War invention they’d located somewhere. I still to this day don’t know who invented it, because the sites for the U.S. Navy and similar track their projects. I presume many other records were lost or otherwise secreted during the Civil War aka, War of Aggression to the Confederates.

Sharing my alternator mouthpiece and air tank with the enthusiastic young cousin killed two proverbial birds with one stone as we practiced underwater lifesaving techniques and also descended to 19th Century underwater craft.

As the bubbles cleared, it came into view. The coral beds and schools of vibrantly tinted fish parted in the luminescent waters. A wooden cylindrical object with a paddle wheel attached was the target of the dive. Yes, the cousins had located a one-manned invention that utilized not a hand-cranked propeller but a one-man pedal-activated-paddle-wheeled-submersible. Needless to say, the dive guides monitoring decided to have a gander, too. Peddling it around a tropical bay was about as much fun as I’ve ever had in the Deep Blue.

Privateers and smugglers – sometimes from the most surprising quadrants and echelons – utilized underwater submersibles during the Civil War. Contraband as well as weaponry were secreted aboard the underwater crafts, in active use since the American Revolution.

Easily the most popularized Civil War submarine is familiar to readers and American audiences, the HL Hunley. I won’t belabor by repeating.

A few sites about the known history of Civil War submersibles appear on the Internet and on the popular Enjoy the viewing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday Ten, Famous Victorian Women

Today I thought I’d talk about famous women in the 19th century. Many of the names on the list you’ll know; I hope to add some information you may not know about them, as they are only names of women you (and I) remember from our early education. Some you many not know at all. I’ll start with one woman I never heard of until today, who I found fascinating. If only she were born 10 years earlier, my women’s right’s advocate heroine would have loved her.

Nellie Bly—Born Elizabeth Jane Cochrane in 1864, she was nicknamed Pink because her mother had her christened in a pink gown. Her father died when she was quite young and her mother, following one of the few choices for women of the time period, remarried. The man, apparently, was abusive. It may what have made Nellie so passionate about women’s rights.

At all events, at the age of 18 she read an editorial in the Pittsburg Dispatch that was blatantly sexist (but I imagine pretty “normal” for the time). She wrote a rebuttal piece to the whole concept of the “women’s sphere” which, along with showing up at the newspaper office itself, landed her a job as a journalist. Because at the time journalism was not a proper occupation for a woman, she was given the pen name Nellie Bly. Nellie was not happy just writing “fluff” however, and dug deep into the sociological disparities of the era as an investigative reporter. In 1887 working for the New York World, she had herself committed to an insane asylum for purposes of an expose on that. It was this piece that threw her into the journalistic limelight.

Still, it wasn’t enough for Nellie. When the World considered sending a man around the world in less than 80 days, like the Jules Verne Novel, Nellie volunteered—whatever a man could do, she could do just as well, if not better! They took her on and she made it in 72 days. It gave her fame world wide fame, and spawned a board game, trading cards and even a song.

Florence Nightingale: Born in May 12 1820, in yes, Florence Italy. We know her for her work in the Crimean war, and we all have heard of the Florence Nigthtingale effect. What I didn’t know was that she was born to wealth, was considered attractive and expected to marry well. Instead, as well all know, she developed a keen interest in nursing even though it was not at that time considered an honorable profession for a woman, not that there were many proper professions for a woman of means. Regardless, she eventually under went 3 months of training as a nurse in Germany. Which eventually qualified her for a job as Superindetend of the Establishment at 1 Harley street in London. When the Crimean War broke out in 1854, an acquaintenance of her, knowing her background asked her to oversee the introduction of female nurses at Britains military hospitals where the condtions were considered deplorable. Her actions, specifically in relation to cleanliness, reduced the mortality rates from 40% to 2%!

Like Nelly Bly, however, this was not enough for her. Florence returned home after the war with a purpose. Despite ill health which eventually made her an invalid, she founded the the Nightingale School and Home for Nurses at St. Thomas's Hospital and a year later, another school at Kings College for Midwives. Bascially her efforts raised the level of respectability for nurses, who in her school now studied for a full year. It may not seem like much to the 21st century mind, but consider that women still have very few basic rights at this time.
Florence was also an extensive researcher and stistichian, publishing over 200 books report and pamphlets. Finally we this amazing woman to thank (or curse) for the creation of the Pie Graph. All of which brings us naturally to :

Clara Barton—Famous civil war nurse, this woman’s “work” began when she was in her 40’s. She is totally all right by me! Although considered “shy” she opened her own school in New Jersey after teaching 10 years previously. When (not sure how this happened if it was her won school) the board hired a man to lead it, she moved to Washington D.C. where she worked in a U.S. Patent Office, as a clerk, rare for women in those days. Following these studies, Barton opened a free school in New Jersey. The attendance under her leadership grew to 600 but instead of hiring Barton to head the school, the board hired a man instead. Frustrated, she moved to Washington D.C. and began work as a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office; this was the first time a woman had received a substantial clerkship in the federal government.
When the Civil War started, Clara, devoted to the Union cause, decided she wanted to volunteer her help. But women had never been allowed to work in hospitals, camps or battle fields before, and she met resistance. Eventually though, she gained their trust and worked so diligently that she became known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” and was promoted to superintendent of Union nurses

In 1869 after the war ended she traveld to Europe and learned about the Red Cross. The more she learned, the more she liked, which at this point was basically a twelve nation treaty. Upon returning to the U.S. she worked to have the US. Join the treaty thus creating the US Red Cross, which she expanded to include assistance and aid in national disasters.

Lucy Stone—Born in Massachusetts 1818, she was “first” in oh so many things. First woman in the state to earn a college degree, a degree that she pretty much saved up for and paid for herself. She earned it in Oberlin college Ohio, the first college to admit both men and women. Dedicated to women’s rights, she was determined never to marry. But eventually she could not resist the courtship of Henry Blackwell, a fellow abolitionist. Still, she refused to forfeit her freedom and so upon marriage she kept her name (which is why she is Lucy Stone and not Blackwell). They married in 1855 and the couple issued a statement, which the reverend not only read, but passed around. You can read it here:

Basically it says that a wife is not the property of her husband, a very radical idea back then.
When Lucy Stone died in 1893, sadly many years before women finally did get the vote, she was the first woman in New England to be cremated.

Lucy Stone’s sister-in-law was also an activist in her way:

Elizabeth Blackwell--born in England in 1821, she was the first US female to graduate from medical school. Her father brought the family to the U.S. in 1832. When years later her father died, leaving the family to fend for themselves, the women opened a school. Here, Elizabeth became a teacher and learned something about medical study. Eventually medicine became not only a calling but receiving and education “assumed the aspect of a great moral struggle,” In 1847 she started searching for a college that would admit her. She was rejected over and over again (writers everywhere can commiserate with her!). At the Geneva Medical school, however, the faculty put it to the students to vote. Believing that it was a joke, they voted to accept her. She graduated in 1849, first in her class. A huge accomplishment, I would expect, because I can’t imagine they made it very easy for her.

In 1868, after studying abroad, she and her sister opened the Women’s Medical College in New York in 1868, a plan worked on with Florence Nightingale, whom she met and became friends with in England. Eventually, though, Elizabeth returned to England where she became a professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Children.

Susan B. Anthony—You can’t really talk about Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Blackwell etc, without mentioning this woman. Of course we’ve read tons about her, had a coin minted with her on it, etc. She worked alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton to found the National Woman’s Suffrage Association. I’m not going to write much about her here. If I did then I would be remiss in not mentioning Amelia Bloomer and a whole host of other activist-type women. Let us suffice to say there were lots of women working in this arena during this era, many of whom I’ve already talked about.

Mary Cassat—born May 22 1844. Mostly when I think of impressionists I think of Degas and Monet. But did you know there was this female impressionist too? She was the daughter of a Pittsburgh businessman, she studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In 1874 she went to Europe to continue her studies and settled in Paris. There, at the beginning of the impressionist movement she became close friends with many of those artists including Degas. She participated in the exhibitions of 1879, 1880, 1881 and 1886. She offered financial support and encouragement to her fellow painters, and helped them to establish their work in America as well. Her own paintings were also displayed in her homeland, to much acclaim. Although she did not take up the suffrage movement until much later in life, the fact that she was a female in a typically male profession is pretty remarkable. She never married, but spent many hours studying family life, which is what is reflected in her paintings.

Marie Curie—Born 1867 Poland. You just can’t talk about famous 19th century women without mentioning her. Granted most of her work and acclaim came in the early 20th century, but she did get a Nobel prize for Physics, alongside her husband, in 1903, which was technically still the Victorian Era. The prize was awarded for the study of spontaneous radiation, which honestly I cannot begin to understand. I just think it was so cool at by the end of the era we had come to a point where a woman could not only attend college but get a Nobel prize. She was also the first woman to teach at Sorbonne. She went on to get another Nobel prize after her husband died, making her the only person to ever win Nobel prizes in two different sciences, physics and Chemistry. Of course all of this took place in Europe, not America which is where all my books (currently) take place but still, oh so cool.

Emmeline Pankhurst—Born England 1858. Okay so one more suffragette, but this one on the other side of the pond! She was one of the British suffragettes, founding the Women’s Franchise League. Her father was an active anti-slavery man, her mother a staunch women’s rights advocate, who started taking her daughter to meetings in the 1870’s, Much like Lucy Stone, she married a man as committed to the cause as she was, Richard Pankhurst. He was main person responsible for drafting a women’s property bill that Parliament passed in 1870. She grew up reading abolitionist literature like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which brings me to my final famous woman. . . .

Harriet Beecher Stowe—June 14th 1811. She published her first book at 22 under her sister Catherine’s name. She helped support her family by writing many different kinds of literature, but we know her mostly for Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Although she didn’t live in the south she apparently lived fairly close to Kentucky and used the knowledge that she gained from that and the underground railroad to write the book, which was originally published in installments. It brought her great fame, as we know. Other than that much of her work was Christian in nature and about family life. Which only made sense as her father was a preacher, her husband a biblical scholar and many of her brothers went on to become preachers also, the most famous one Henry Ward Beecher. Famous (or in this case infamous as he was a well known preacher that became involved in a sex scandal—and you only thought that happened in the modern era, huh?) men however, are for another blog.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday Ten: Unsung Heroes of Gettysburg

With the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg just a couple of weeks away, as I’m working on polishing up the final draft of Northern Temptress, the Civil War historical (set in and around the Battle of Gettysburg) I have under contract with The Wild Rose Press, it’s not surprising that my thoughts these days keep returning to that historic battle. Not the battle fought by soldiers in blue and grey, but the one forged by some incredibly brave people. The civilians of Gettysburg. (Little wonder I decided to make my heroine in Northern Temptress, a civilian of that little town,)

Some fast facts before we meet our Tuesday Ten heroes:

The town of Gettysburg consisted of 2,400 civilians in 1863.

When the armies moved out, they left behind 22,000 wounded men.

In all 51,000 men were reported killed or missing.

And let’s not forget the hundreds of horses, mules and livestock killed during the battle.

While John Burns and Jennie Wade (see below) are arguably the most famous civilians of Gettysburg, there are other unsung heroes and heroines who quietly did what needed to be done.

Elizabeth Thorn. German immigrant who was acting as caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery, a job normally performed by her husband, Peter. But Peter was with the 138th Pennsylvania, and during the Battle of Gettysburg, he was stationed at Harper’s Ferry and Washington, D.C. Elizabeth moved her family, which consisted of her elderly parents and three sons ages 7, 5 and 2 from their little gatehouse out of harm’s way and back again more than once during the three-day battle. She also dug graves for more than 90 dead soldiers during those three days. She did all of this while six months pregnant.

Salome Myers. Salome “Sally” Myers was a schoolteacher and assistant to the principal in Gettysburg. She lived at home with her family during the battle. Her father was a justice of the peace and the Myers’ were one of the wealthier families in town. She admitted to being squeamish at the sight of blood, yet got over this quickly and cared for many wounded men from both sides of the battle. She risked her life many times by traveling back and forth from her home to makeshift hospitals. In the early days of the battle she cared for a badly wounded soldier by the name of Alexander Stuart, sitting with him for days until he succumbed to his injuries. In late July of 1863 she received a thank you letter from his mother. A year later Stuart’s mother—along with his brother Henry—traveled to Gettysburg to personally thank Miss Myers. A romance developed between Sally and Henry and they married in 1867.

Matilda “Tillie” Pierce. Tillie was only 15 years old at the time of the battle. Her parents sent her to a neighbor’s farm to wait out the battle. The farm sat behind what we now call “Little Round Top” and Tillie became an eyewitness to some of the fiercest fighting of the Battle of Gettysburg. Tillie provided food and water for the wounded and assisted surgeons and nurses caring for the wounded. Twenty six years later she wrote of her experiences during those three days in July, 1863.

Virginia “Jennie” Wade. Jenny, as most people know, was the only civilian killed during the battle. On the third day of the battle, the twenty-year-old was baking bread to feed the Union soldiers when she was struck by a single bullet that traveled through two doors.

John Burns. Much like Jennie Wade’s story, Mr. Burns’ story has been told and retold so many times it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Nearly 70 years old at the time of the battle, John Burns was a veteran of the War of 1812. When the rebels invaded his hometown, the elder patriot took up his trusty musket and joined the Union soldiers in battle. He fired 18 of his 25 rounds of ammunition before he was wounded, and claimed to have killed three rebels.

Elizabeth Butler, AKA “Old Liz”. 53 year old Elizabeth Butler was a washerwoman in Gettysburg. Her husband Samuel was a wagon maker. They owned their own home and enjoyed a comfortable standard of living compared to most African-Americans in 1863. In the earliest days of the battle Old Liz was taken captive by the Confederate army, who planned to send her South to be sold into slavery. She escaped her captors and returned home the day after the Confederate army retreated.

Daniel Skelly. Daniel was a teenager during the battle. While confederate troops camped in the street outside his home on Baltimore Street, Daniel and his mother hid union soldiers in their cellars and outbuildings. Later during the battle he helped his mother care for wounded soldiers.
Daniel also went on to write about his experiences.

Catherine Garlach. Catherine and her 12-year-old son, Will also lived on Baltimore Street. Since their house was in direct line of fire for Union sharpshooters, they hid in their basement. Several times Confederate soldiers tried to commandeer the Garlach home –and each time they were driven back by Mrs. Garlach herself.

Albertus McCreary. First young Albertus was nearly killed by Confederate sharpshooters while peeking out a rooftop door of his home. Then a short while later, while standing on the porch of his family home, wearing a Union kepi given to him by a solider, a Confederate officer tried to take him captive, assuming he was a soldier. It was only over the protest of his father, and after questioning several neighbors as to whether or not the boy actually lived in town, that the officer let him go.

Agnes Barr. While other townspeople hid inside their homes on July 3, avoiding the fetid smell of decaying men and animals, Mrs. Barr left her home on Baltimore Street—darting between buildings to avoid the sharpshooters—many times in order to take food and supplies to the makeshift hospitals and care for wounded soldiers.

Source: When the Smoke Cleared at Gettysburg, George Sheldon; Days of Darkness: The Gettysburg Civilians, William G. Williams; What A Girl Saw and Heard by Tillie Pierce Allman; A Boy’s Experiences During the Battle of Gettysburg by Daniel Skelly.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

10 Communication Discoveries 1839-1901

I could do my Tuesday 10 from now through next year on scientific discoveries, but these are all on communication.

1. Fax Machine 1843 (Fig. 1) The first fax machine was invented by Alexander Bain. In 1843, Bain received a British patent for “improvements in producing and regulating electric currents and improvements in timepieces and in electric printing and signal telegraphs”, in laymen's terms a fax machine.

2. Rotary Printing Press 1846 Made by Richard M. Hoe, a prolific New York City inventor of presses and press components, this new press fastened lead type around the circumference of a very large cylinder in the center of the press. By rotating the cylinder, he created a rotary press that turned constantly in one direction. The number of pages printed per hour now depended on how fast this large cylinder turned--and on how many impression cylinders were fitted around its circumference.

3. Kinematoscope, 1861 The invention aimed to present the illusion of motion. The patent was filed by Coleman Sellers of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as an "improvement in exhibiting stereoscopic pictures". Coleman applied stereoscopy to the existing principle of toy phantasmascopes using rotating discs.

4. Linotype, 1884 This machine enabled one operator to be machinist, type-setter, justifier, typefounder, and type-distributor all at once. HUH? Basically, now a printer could easily and quickly set movable type. Prior to Ottmar Mergenthaler's invention, no newspaper in the world had more than eight pages.

5. Mimeograph, 1887 The image transfer medium is waxed mulberry paper, backed by a sheet of stiff card stock, with the sheets bound at the top. This "stencil" assemblage is placed in a typewriter to create the original, although the typewriter ribbon has to be disabled so that the bare, sharp type element strikes the stencil directly - "cutting a stencil." Edison didn’t coin the word "mimeograph", which was first used by Albert Blake Dick when he licensed Edison's patents in 1887.

6. Electromechanial Television System, 1884(See fig. 2 left) Paul Nipkow devised the notion of dissecting the image and transmitting it sequentially. To do this he designed the first television scanning device.

7. Paper, 1866 I know you’re probably thinking I’ve lost my mind, but no. Seriously, paper – from wood pulp. Benjamin Chew Tilghman refined the sulfite method of fiber reduction for paper production.

8. Three color camera, 1892 Not much on this invention by Frederick Eugene Ives, but according to the Smithsonian, he patented his ideas, but didn’t license them. Go figure.

9. Practical Mechanical Typewriter, 1867 This one, invented by Christopher Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the first commercially successful one. The patent was sold for $12,000 to Densmore and Yost, who made an agreement with E. Remington and Sons to commercialize the Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer. (Contradicting claims: In 1861, Father Francisco João de Azevedo, a Brazilian priest, made his own typewriter with basic materials and tools, such as wood and knives. Don Pedro I, the Brazilian emperor, in that same year,o presented a gold medal to Father Azevedo for this invention. Many Brazilian people as well as the Brazilian federal government recognize Fr. Azevedo as the real inventor of the typewriter, a claim that has been the subject of some controversy.)

10. Wireless telegraphy, 1896 (fig. 3 below) Guglielmo Marconi invented early radio telegraph originally used to describe electrical signaling without the electric wires to connect the end points. They wanted to distinguish it from the conventional electric telegraph signaling of the day that required wire connection between the end points.