Sunday, December 28, 2014

Main Street, Dayton, Ohio

Main Street, Dayton, Ohio, 1904 (Detroit Publishing Company)

Excerpt from a photo found on

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry & Happy Christmas

Heiligenbergerbeek, Amersfoort (photo RfA)

Merry & Happy Christmas

next episode: Ohio

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Operation Reindeer (Unternehmen Rentier)

Operation Rentier (Reindeer) was a German operation during World War II intended to secure the nickel-mines around Petsamo, in Finland, against a Soviet attack in the event of a renewed war between Finland and the Soviet Union.

The planning for the operation started on 13 August 1940, after the German occupation of Norway was complete, and was finalized in October that year. The plan called for the two divisions of the Alpine Corps Norwegen to occupy Petsamo and prevent Soviet capture of strategically important mines.

Petsamo (Wikipedia)

The operation was eventually carried out as part of Operation Barbarossa, the German attack on the Soviet Union. The operation commenced on 22 June 1941, and proceeded without any incidents. The German 2nd Mountain Division occupied the area around Liinakhamari and the German 3rd Mountain Division occupied Luostari.

The operation was followed up by Operation Platinum Fox, which was an attack by the two divisions against Murmansk as a part of the larger Operation Silver Fox.

next episode: xmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


French cantinière during the Crimean War, by Roger Fenton (1855).

A cantinière was a civilian woman attached to the French Army on an official basis, who sold food and liquor to the soldiers above and beyond what they received as rations. She had to be married to a soldier of the regiment, and received no pay, living off her earnings instead. This cantinière was attached to a zouave regiment (zouaves were originally Algerian troops), and therefore wears baggy trousers (source: The National Army Museum).

'Le Zouave blessé' by Roger Fenton (Crimea, February 29, 1855). A cantiniere on the Crimea War battlefield administering fluid to a wounded soldier.

As well as providing the troops with extra food and alcoholic drinks, the cantinière also played an important social role in the regiment, providing female companionship to the men away from home. For a fee she might also undertake cooking, laundry, or sewing. During a battle, she might distribute brandy and cartridges to the troops, and assist the wounded. Cantinières, usually from lower class backgrounds, lived and travelled with a regiment and shared the same hardships as the soldiers (source: The National Army Museum).

next episode: reindeer

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Eva Waceter

Eva Waceter, Arntzen Studio Mt. Vernon, Washington, ca. 1916-1919 (from my own collection)

The cabinet card was a type of photograph mounted on a card.

next episode: cantiniere

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Buddha Statue with Mummy in Hospital

Chinese mummy inside of a Buddha statue
(private collection, photo by M. Elsevier Stokmans)

This Buddha statue was exhibited earlier this year in an exhibition in the Drents Museum (where it was shown for the first time outside China). The mummified body of the Buddhist master Liuquan, a monk who lived around the year 1100 and who belonged to the Chinese Meditation School, is hidden in this precious reliquary dating from the eleventh or twelfth century.

The statue was examined with a CT scan (photo by Jan van Esch) 

In Amersfoort's main hospital, Meander Medical Centre, the nearly thousand year old mummy has been recently examined with a CT scan and an endoscope. Several hospital employees helped with this unique project in their free time. A gastrointestinal and liver doctor took samples of yet unidentified material and examined the thoracic and abdominal cavities.

The hospital: "He made a spectacular discovery: at the place where once had been organs, he found, among all kinds of rotten material, paper scraps that were printed with ancient Chinese characters."

(photo by Jan van Esch) 

Also samples of bones were taken for DNA testing. The research will be published in a monograph that will appear about Master Liuquan. Meanwhile the mummy has been transported to Hungary where it will be on display in the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest until May 2015.

Update February 23, 2015: more info about self-mummification can be found at The History Blog.

next episode: Eva

Rome City Walls

(photos by RfA, 2006)

next episode: mummy

Friday, December 5, 2014

Maude Fealy

next episode: Rome

Monday, December 1, 2014

F Street in Washington, D.C

F Street Northwest in Washington, D.C., ca. 1906 (Detroit Publishing Company).

Excerpt from a photo found on

next episode: Maude


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