Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Charles Pomeroy Stone

Charles Stone and his daughter Hettie, photographed in the spring of 1863. 
Stone's USMA class ring can be seen on the little finger of his right hand. Unknown photographer, restored by Michel Vuijlsteke.

In 1861 Charles Pomeroy Stone (1824-1887) was named brigadier general of volunteers and given command of the right flank division of the Army of the Potomac. On October 21 came the disastrous Battle of Ball’s Bluff which resulted in his arrest (more because of political rivalries in Congress than because of the defeat at Ball’s Bluff). He spent six months in prison, but no charges were filed against him despite his frequent attempts to be granted a court-martial, and he was released the following August with no explanation from the War Department. He then served as General Nathaniel Banks’ Chief of Staff until April 1864 when Banks relieved him after a falling out. In August General Grant gave him a brigade in the V Corps, but typhoid and an impending nervous breakdown resulted in his decision to resign from the army.

Work progress on Bedloe's Island (illustration from The Daily Graphic)

After the war he accepted a job as Chief of Staff in Egypt and spent over 12 years building up an Egyptian army and overseeing a dozen major explorations and surveys of the Nile River area. With the British takeover of Egypt in 1882, Stone resigned his position and returned to the United States where he was hired as chief engineer for the pedestal construction of the Statue of Liberty. He served as Grand Marshal of the statue’s dedication parade on October 28, 1886. Three months later, he contracted pneumonia and died in New York City on January 24, 1887. Charles P. Stone was buried with full military honors at West Point.

next episode: ice

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Zinaida Yussupova

Princess/Duchess Zinaida Yussupova (Christina Robertson, 1840)

next episode: Charles Pomeroy Stone

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Skeleton of a Human and a Gorilla

Skeleton of a human and a gorilla, displayed side by side (Roger Fenton, ca. 1860, Wellcome Library, London)

"When this photograph was taken, Roger Fenton was the official photographer at the British Museum  (the British Museum then held the collections that now comprise the Natural History Museum).

The human skeleton depicted is of no special significance, apart from the fact that it is probably of a European. The gorilla, however, shows evidence of severe trauma to its left arm - a bite from a lion to the lower part of its left humerus. Gorillas do not spend much time ‘standing’ upright because it takes muscle energy for them to do so. Thus, the supposedly ‘neutral’ presentation of a gorilla skeleton is in fact the presentation of an idea: ‘a gorilla standing is not too different from a human standing’" (source).

next episode: Zinaida

Friday, October 17, 2014

Barbara Stanwyck

next episode: skeletons

Monday, October 13, 2014



Marrakesh, Morocco (photos by RfA, 2011)

next episode: Barbara

Thursday, October 9, 2014

CDV (19th Century)

Carte De Visite (from my own collection). Reston, Stretford Photographic Studio, 6 Dorset Street, Stretford, Manchester

The carte de visite (CDV) was a type of small photograph the size of a visiting card.

next episode: Marrakesh

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rebuilding The Jewish Temple Of Jerusalem

An artist impression of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple

There are serious efforts (even a crowdfunding campaign) to rebuild the Jewish temple at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It seems possible to rebuild the temple, destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans, without having to demolish the islamic Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

It would be the third temple, after Solomon's first temple (10th century BC - 587 BC) and the second one (516 BC - 70 AD) (3D-tour). I wonder what would be the implications on Jewish faith if this temple was indeed rebuild. After the muslims conquered Jerusalem in 634, they constructed the Dome of the Rock as a victory monument, so I also wonder how they will react if the Jewish temple will be built adjacent to the Dome.

next episode: CDV

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Little Savoyards

Queen Victoria’s children, Princess Alice, Prince Alfred, Princess Victoria (the Princess Royal) and Princess Helena in ‘Les deux petits Savoyards. Taken by Roger Fenton at Windsor in 1854.

next episode: 3rd temple


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