28 October 2011

Sepia Saturday 98: Chaos in the Streets

Norwood Streetcar, From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
Having successfully taken two children through the long process of obtaining their driver's licenses, it is hard to believe that at one time there were few traffic lights, no turn signals and only a modest few driving guidelines.  To that absence of rules add horse-drawn carriages, pedestrians, bicycles and streetcars and you have chaos in the streets.

The Norwood streetcar above may be the same one Marie Warwick and Eldora McKinley attempted to board in Walnut Hills in 1923.  By 1923, automobile ownership had exploded creating traffic congestion and putting pedestrians at risk.   Marie Warwick was hit by a passing motorist while Eldora was more fortunate and jumped safely to the curb.  But Marie's tragic end was not entirely in vain.

The news of the death of a young woman, only 21 and soon to be married, made the front page of the paper and rekindled a long running debate about road safety.  Marie was one of two women killed by motorists on the same day.  The total for the year in Hamilton Co., Ohio was 135 with 80 pedestrians dying after being hit by automobiles.  For perspective, traffic fatalities in Hamilton County for 2009 were only 43.

Police Officer, 1900
From the Collection of The Public
Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
There was a flurry of traffic improvement activity in 1924 and 1925 with busy intersections monitored, additional stop signs purchased and the creation of a Citizens' Commission to make recommendations.  By far the most amazing was a crack down on jay-walkers on 27 August 1925.  The Cincinnati Commercial reported "Greater Cincinnatians and their visitors were treated to a free 'circus' yesterday when traffic policemen ... swooped down on the congested district and in a campaign to wipe out 'jay-walking' cited to court about 500 persons....  Witnesses enjoyed themselves, while violators in many instances were much embarrassed and many dignified women became highly indignant.  Guests at the large hotels enjoyed Cincinnati's effort to enforce its ordinance."  By the day the fines were due, "practically all the jay-walkers took their arrests good naturedly [sic] and grinned as they formed a line to pay the dollar." (The Times Star, 8 August 1925)

In an effort to control their own traffic problems, officials in Caracas, Venezuela have recently brought a circus of their own to town. Mimes now assist police with traffic direction - making fun of would-be traffic violators by pouting, glaring and grimacing. I suspect being accosted by a mime would be more embarrassing than receiving a citation!

So, as you go about your business this weekend, please follow the traffic laws.  You may save a life.  Besides, if things become too much of a circus, they might just send in the clowns!

In memoriam:  Pearl Marie 'Marie' Warwick (1902-1923) was the daughter of William Morehouse and Pearl (McDonough) Warwick. William was my great-grand uncle.  Pearl Marie was his only surviving child at the time of her death.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday 98 on the theme of buses or other public transportation.  For more takes on the theme, see Sepia Saturday

Who Were We was kind enough to comment about videos of the San Francisco earth quake that show just how chaotic the streets were in the early days of the automobile.  Here is one of many available on YouTube:  San Francisco 1905-1906 (short film).  Thanks!

A special thank-you to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County not only for participating in the Greater Cincinnati Memory Project but also for indexing so many of the local newspapers on Newsdex.
"500 'Jay-Walk' Way to Court as Drive Begins."   Cincinnati Commercial Tribune.  28 August 1925, page 1, col. 1; page 2, col. 5-6.

"Cincinnati History Slide Collection."  Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries. Greater Cincinnati Memory Project. http://www.cincinnatimemory.org/ : accessed 28 October 2011. Digital slide image.  "Police Officer, 1900." Identifier: ocp002909pccnb.  Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  Reproduced with permission of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

"Clyde N. Bowden Postcard Collection." Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries.  Greater Cincinnati Memory Project. http://www.cincinnatimemory.org/ : accessed 28 October 2011. Digital postcard image.  [Norwood Streetcar]. Identifier: ocp002909pccnb.  Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  Reproduced with permission of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

"Corners are Timed for Heaviest Traffic Hour."  Cincinnati Times-Star.  4 November 1925, page 14, col. 1.

"Creation of Citizens' Commission to Solve City's Traffic Problems to be Recommended to Council."  Cincinnati Commercial Tribune.  11 December 1924, page 12, col. 5.

"Crusade on Jay-Walkers Speeds Traffic."  Cincinnati Times-Star.  28 August 1925, page 1, col. 1; page 28, col. 3.

"Hamilton County ranks fifth in Ohio for reducing number of traffic fatalities."  Press Release. Hamilton County Public Health. http://www.hamiltoncountyhealth.org/files/files/Press%20Releases/Traffic%20Fatalities.pdf : accessed 28 October 2011.

"Pedestrian is Chief Victim."  Cincinnati Post.  29 December 1923, page 2, col. 3.

"Stop Signs to Mark More Streets."  The Enquirer (Cincinnati).  29 August 1925, page 8, col. 1-4.

"Two Women are Killed by Autos."  Cincinnati Enquirer.  7 September 1923, page 1, col. 2; page 5, col. 1.

Updated 8 September 2016 to remove broken links.

22 October 2011

Sepia Saturday 97: Just another Cock and Bull Story

Charles W. Stratton II, tintype, 1880s, Lee, Massachusetts
The origins of the phrase "Cock and Bull Story" are debatable but certainly it has been in existence far longer than the photo depicting a young Charles W. Stratton II (1876-1945) with his bull.  Charles continued to love cattle and bred them competitively even after beginning his medical practice.  His cow, Flower, of  Hidden Farm set three records for milk production.  Not all his ventures were as successful.  The son of one of Charles' good friends said that Charles paid a lot of money for prize bulls and entered them in contests.  He hated losing to local farmers but frequently did.  Perhaps he had more winning ways with the females of the species.
American Standard of Perfection, Rose-Comb Black Bantam, ca 1905, Wikipedia

But this wouldn't be a cock and bull story without a cock.  Charles also raised prize chickens. His successful and unsuccessful attempts to win prizes for his chickens are sprinkled throughout his diaries.

Clearly many had a great time teasing the doctor about his farming pursuits.  A pair of Black Rose Comb Bantam stuffed-animals were sent to Dr. Stratton as a Christmas joke.  The newspaper clipping (source unknown) at left was found amongst his papers.  So, that leads to the question of just who was David Scott?  Could Mira (Main) Stratton be the lady in the case?  Hopefully diary entries, letters and boxes not yet explored will answer these questions.

While this was quite literally a story about cocks and bulls, a 'Cock and Bull Story,' more typically refers to an embellished or fictitious tale - usually convoluted and unbelievable.  The Phrase Finder debunks a myth that the phrase originated at Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, England with two competing coaching inns, The Cock and The Bull.  But, should any family member ever open a pub, "The Cock and Bull" would be a perfect name.

More stories, though doubtful to be 'cock and bull stories,' can be found at Sepia Saturday 97.  The connection to the photo prompt of the week is tenuous - a boy and someone looking on through the glass.

"A Cock and Bull Story."  Article. The Phrase Finder.   http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/cock%20and%20bull%20story.html : accessed 22 October 2011.

"Rosecomb."  Wikipedia.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosecomb : 22 October 2011.

Stratton, Charles W.,  II (Lee).  Tintype.  ca 1880s.  Digital image.  Privately held by Liz Stratton, [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2003.

Stratton, Charles W., II. "Diary." MS.  Lee, Massachusetts, 1901.  Privately held by Liz Stratton, [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2011.

Stratton Family Papers.  Privately held by Liz Stratton  [ADDRESS FOR PERSONAL USE,] Cincinnati, Ohio. 2011.

15 October 2011

Sepia Saturday 96: Lane's Mill

The following photos are a then and, unfortunately, not so much now. Followed by a stroll down Wallace Road ca 1983.  A history of Lane's Mill can be found at Darrtown, Ohio

Lane's Mill ca 1931
The Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 but not maintained.  Only a skeleton of the original Mill remains as can be seen on Wikipedia's Lane's Mill article.

Google Maps, Lane's Mill and Wallace Road showing the remains of Lane's Mill
© 2011 Google Maps

And now for a virtual stroll along Wallace Road ca 1983 when the old Mill still stood proudly facing the setting sun.

Wallace Road is to the right - a single lane road that snakes around the farm property and mill.
Lane's Mill, ca 1983

Barn opposite Lane's Mill

Returning home to the setting of the sun.

The Wallace Road images were scanned from slides with minimal-no processing.  It is a rare treat to see some of these old slides again!  I can't wait to see more and have more of my image collection available in digital form.

Thanks to Sepia Saturday for providing the inspiration to continue digitizing.  It is great fun to look through images for ones that might match the weekly theme.  I'm off-theme this week as I am awaiting permissions to use some WWII photographs - perhaps another time.  More on the theme of kidneys, World War II, cooks, strange outfits or anything else can be found at Sepia Saturday 96.

08 October 2011

Sepia Saturday 95: Aunt Vi and the Dayton Soldiers' Service Club

William Saroyan, 1941,
Library of Congress, Al Aumuller photographer

It all started with My Name is Aram.  It was a hot summer day - the last of the library books sat on my desk, my best friend was on vacation and it was a Thursday ... in August.   I was bored.  School would not start again for another 4 long weeks ... two more days until my next trip to the library.

The book was disappointingly short.  I poured a cup of tea before settling into the recliner for what I hoped would be a leisurely read.  I was immediately transported back in time to an immigrant neighborhood in depression-era Fresno, California.  (Is this what sparked my quest to know the experiences of my immigrant ancestors?)

Soon, reader's remorse set in - I tried to read slower to prolong my escape but failed.  What to read next, the encyclopedia?  My father's old college texts?  Saved!  The shadow of the postman traced across the floor.  I raced to the door to retrieve the mail ... surely there would be something to read.

A letter!  And this was not just any letter, this one was from Great Aunt Vi.  Her letters were full of political intrigue and exuded a sense of indomitability.  I can still see her hand-writing and the position of the words  "Bill Saroyan" on the page.  It was an off-hand remark.  'Bill Saroyan' was in town, something about plays - WHAT????  My Great Aunt knew William Saroyan?!  Glad my Dad was home, I peppered him with questions and learned what a remarkable woman Great Aunt Vi was.

Viola D. "Great Aunt Vi" (Manchester) Mansur (1894-1981) was the Director of the Dayton Soldiers' Service Club during World War II.  From its inception on 7 December 1941 following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it took Vi only 12 days to rally local women's groups and businesses to the cause.  The Soldiers' Club of Dayton ensured that none of the troops became bored:
"The Club is a happy playground.  Deafening noises from the juke box, laughter from the dozen game tables, poolballs clicking, ping pong balls singing through the air, some boy hammering out boogie-woogie on one piano, a former concert pianist at the grand piano, no one has time to be lonely with all these fine American boys and girls at play." - Viola D. Mansur, City of Dayton Annual Report for 1943.
This is also where Vi met William 'Bill' Saroyan.  "Not long ago, a group of men from Company 'C,' Wright Field, wrote and produced a 'Gay 90's Review.'  This began as an amateur production but with such men as Lynn Riggs and William Saroyan planning it, it turned out to be a real production and art creation."

Vi's organizational abilities and indomitable spirit were honed in the 1930s when she was President of the Dayton Women's Group,
"the Women's Civic Group has followed, in the main, Theodore Roosevelt's advice to 'tread softly but carry a big stick.'  Much of its success in fact, more than the general public realizes has been accomplished through quiet cooperation with public officials. Where that has not produced results, steady pressure without fanfare of publicity has brought other officials to see the need of changes in policy." - Viola D. Mansur, National Municipal Review, May 1940
During the 1930s, Vi was also Financial Director of the Dayton League of Women Voters.  The League had its roots in the successful suffrage movement of the 1910s.

"Over the Teacups" makes no mention of Vi's participation in the suffrage movement.  Was Great Aunt Vi an active member? Or did she support the cause but reject the fanfare?  The answers to these questions will have to wait for further research.  My fascination with the role my ancestors and their families played in history continues to stave off any possibility of boredom!

This has been a rather circuitous path to the Sepia Saturday theme of the week, suffrage.  For more suffragettes and other takes on the theme, see Sepia Saturday 95.

Woman suffrage headquarters in Upper Euclid Avenue, Cleveland--A. (at extreme right) is Miss Belle Sherwin, President, National League of Women Voters; B. is Judge Florence E. Allen (holding the flag); C. is Mrs. Malcolm McBride.   Library of Congress.

A special thanks to Steve Koons who stumbled on the Teacup article, knew I would be interested and sent me a copy.

Sources and Further Reading:
"Keeping Up Morale."  Curt Dalton, President.  Dayton History Books Online.  http://www.daytonhistorybooks.com/soldiersserviceclub.html : 2011.  Citing Dalton, Curt.  Home Sweet Home Front:  Dayton during World War II.  [Dayton]: Curt Dalton, 2000.

"William Saroyan."  Wikipedia.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Saroyan#Short_stories : accessed 7:43, 8 October 2011.

Mansur, Viola D.  "Many Women Show How."  National Municipal Review.  29 (May 1940): 336-339.

Mansur, Viola D.  "The Soldiers’ Service Club."  Digital transcription.  1942. Curt Dalton, President.  Dayton History Books Online. http://www.daytonhistorybooks.com/soldiersserviceclub.html : 2008.  Citing City of Dayton Annual Report for 1942, 14-17.

Mansur, Viola D.  "Soldiers’ Service Club Activities."  Digital transcription.  1943. Curt Dalton, President.  Dayton History Books Online.  http://www.daytonhistorybooks.com/soldiersservice.html : 2011.  Citing City of Dayton Annual Report for 1943.

McMarty, Mary.  "Dangerous Dames of Dayton."  Web edition. 25 September 2010.  Cox Ohio Publishing.  Dayton Daily News.  http://www.daytondailynews.com/lifestyle/dangerous-dames-of-dayton--943927.html : 2011.

Ohio.  Dayton.  Dayton Daily News.  22 September 1935.  "Over the Teacups." 

Saroyan, William.  Digital image.  1940.  Library of Congress.  Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.   New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/97502041/ : 2011.

Saroyan, William. My Name Is Aram. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968.

Woman suffrage headquarters in Upper Euclid Avenue, Cleveland--A. (at extreme right) is Miss Belle Sherwin, President, National League of Women Voters; B. is Judge Florence E. Allen (holding the flag); C. is Mrs. Malcolm McBride.  1912.  Library of Congress.  Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.  Miscellaneous Items in High Demand Collection.  http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/97500065/ : 2011.

05 October 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Nearly): Stratton Family Photo

The Stratton Family
This is a stereograph family picture taken outside the family home.  The photographer was E. A. Morley of East Lee, Berkshire, Massachusetts.  Edward A. Morley is listed as a traveling photographer in the 1880 US population census residing in Berkshire County.  The photo dates from ca 1881.

From left to right:  Charles Stratton II (1876-1945), Charles Stratton I (1832-1886), Lucy (Baker) Stratton (1839-1926), Lucy (Hamblin) Baker (1804-1895) and Frances Leda Stratton (1878-1968).

Charles Stratton II, Charles Stratton I

Lucy (Baker) Stratton and Leda Stratton

Historically, people had somber expressions when their photos were taken.  The unusually light coloration of Charles I and Lucy (Hamblin) Baker's eyes may be due to the photographic processes used in early photographs as discussed by Brett Payne in "The Man with the Piercing Blue Eyes."

Lucy (Hamblin) Baker

01 October 2011

Opening Day 2: Slide Box

Its opening day! This is the second box in my voyage of discovery through boxes of memorabilia rescued from attics and closets. I didn't realize there were this many different types of slides!  These are the first slides I've run across so I need to decide how I'm going to catalog, digitize and archive them.

I've tried to scan slides before with less than ideal results.  Digital image processing services?  These might be an excellent option for handling the slides.  Digital image processing centers take the photographic materials you send (or hand deliver) and scan them for you.  The originals are returned along with a digital copy of your photographs or slides.  Different processing centers handle different media (slides, photographs, etc.) and offer different options for the size of the digital image.  Images might be mailed to you on DVDs or hard drives or put online.

There are many different services and many reviews on the web including Mac World's "Outsource your Photo Scanning Projects."  A few of the more popular services are: ScanDigital, Digital Pickle, ScanMyPhotos, Digital Scanning Services, ScanCafe, Lee Digital Scanning, FotoBridge, Larsen Digital Services, SlidestoDigital, DigMyPics. 

Slides have many of the same archival storage requirements as photographs – about 70 degrees (cooler is better) and 30 percent relative humidity.  They can be safely stored in carousels, polypropylene sleeves or slide boxes.  All storage materials should be photo-safe.  I’ve elected to store my slides in boxes since they will take less room, do not require upright storage like a binder and have passed the Photo Activity Test.

I'm left with two questions to explore further - slide sizes and digital imaging services.  If you've ever used a digital imaging service, I'd love to learn about your experiences!  Know of a great resource on the history of slides that include their sizes?  Pass it along!

Long, Jane S. and Richard W. Long.  Caring for your Family Treasures.  New York:  Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000.

Taylor, Maureen A.  Preserving your Family Photographs.  Charleston:  Picture Perfect Press, 2010.