Monday, December 31, 2007

Emigrants at Ellis Island

Today we have a picture of Emigrants arriving at Ellis Island in the early 1900's. What an exciting day this must have been these people, and you have to wonder if they all achieved their dreams here.

Ellis Island was first opened on this day, December 31, in the year 1891.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rudyard Kipling

Today we feature a portrait of Rudyard Kipling. Kipling is perhaps best remembered as the author of "The Jungle Book", a book that has been a favorite of children for the last hundred years. He was born on this day, December 30, in the year 1865 in Bombay, India.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Texas Cowboys

This picture was taken in 1907, and shows a group of Texas Cowboys pausing for lunch. The men are eating canned tomatoes. Both canned tomatoes and canned peaches were cowboy favorites on the range.
There is something inspiring about the authentic American cowboy. They lived by a simple, and honorable code . . . we need more men like that today. Not necessarily out in the saddle, but living lives guided by honesty, integrity, and hard work.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Soldiers Playing Cards

This picture was taken in 1864 near Petersburg, Virginia. It shows several Union soldiers playing cards. The men appear to be fairly well supplied, even enjoying a table and chairs in their campsite.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Horse Drawn Street Car

This picture was taken in 1908 in New York City. It shows a horse drawn street car. The conductor is feeding the horses. I wonder how they kept the streets clean back then.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Secession Hall

Today we feature a photograph of the ruins of Secession Hall in Charleston, South Carolina. The picture was taken in 1865 at the close of the Civil War. Much of the city was in ruins.

It was on this day, December 20, in the year 1860 that South Carolina seceded from the Union, ushering in the Civil War.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New York City Fireman

This picture was taken in 1908 in New York City. It shows a city fireman at a fire hydrant.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deadwood Stage

This is a photo from 1889 showing the Deadwood Stagecoach. Two stages can be seen crossing an old bridge.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Civil War Supply Wagons

This photograph was taken in 1862 near Savage Station, Virginia. The picture has a nice view of a Civil War camp, including supply wagons. It always amazes me what quality was achieved in these Civil War photographs. Photography was still in its infancy, and taking a single picture was a very complex process. This picture was taken by George Barnard, who was working for Mathew Brady. Mathew Brady was a true visionary, and was responsible for many if not most of the Civil War photographs we now enjoy. Brady paid for the work himself in the hopes of selling images after the war. He bought many of his photographic supplies on credit from Anthony's studio in New York. After the war, Brady was unable to recoup his considerable expenses, and in the end, much of his photographic collection was given to Anthony in exchange for money owed. Brady died in poverty and relative obscurity. It is amazing how true genius is often not recognized until generations later.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chief Two Guns White Calf

Today we feature a portrait of Chief Two Guns White Calf. In case you think he looks familiar, there is a good reason. His likeness was used on the American Buffalo Nickel.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jail House Rock

This is one of my all time favorite pictures. It shows inmates in the Greene County jail in Georgia. It was taken in 1941. It shows the prisoners singing and dancing. There is something encouraging about this picture . . . people celebrating despite their condition. One has to wonder if all of them were actually guilty of anything.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Native Americans on Horseback

This photograph was taken in 1908, and shows a group of Native American men on horseback. The photograph is by Edward Curtis. These Native American photographs from this era are always sad to me, as you see such a distinct way of life coming to an end.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Colonel Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders

Today we feature a photograph of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders atop San Juan Hill. In 1898 in the Spanish American war in Cuba, Colonel Teddy Roosevelt led his "Rough Riders" in their famed charge up San Juan Hill. This was a bold, Civil War style attack. Roosevelt was successful in the attack, and this picture was taken shortly after the hill was captured. Doubtless that this was a day that these men spoke of for the rest of their lives.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bucking Bronco

Today's picture shows a cowboy riding a bucking bronco. The photo was taken in Wyoming in 1911.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Roosevelt Declares War on Japan

This photograph shows President Franklin Roosevelt signing the Declaration of War against Japan, which he did on this date, December 8, 1941. This occurred after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Folks, lets get the Christmas shopping done early this year, and not wait to the last minute to mail those special Christmas gifts! The postman pictured above looks like he is in the middle of the busy holiday mail season. The picture was taken in the early part of the last century.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


This photograph was taken in 1865 in Richmond Virginia. It shows a group of recently freed slaves, who became free with the fall of Richmond.
It was on this date, December 6, in the year 1865 that the 13th amendment was ratified, banning slavery in the United States. Abraham Lincoln did not live to see this day, but on the day after Richmond fell, Lincoln walked the streets of Richmond, and was greeted by throngs of men and women who had been slaves just the day before. This was just ten days before his death. As Mr. Lincoln and his son Tad entered the city, a group of newly freed slaves cried out, "Glory Hallelujah!", and fell to their knees before the president. Lincoln paused, and motioned for them to rise. "Don't kneel to me," he told them, "You must kneel only to God, and thank him for your freedom. Liberty is your birthright. God gave it to you as he gave it to others, and it is a sin that you have been deprived of it for so many years."
While Lincoln did not live to see the 13th amendment ratified, he did get a glimpse of the freedom which he had fought so hard for.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Chuck Wagon

This is a nice picture of a cowboy cook with his chuck wagon. The photograph was taken in 1907 on a Texas Ranch. I don't know if you have ever had the chance to eat real cowboy cooking, but let me tell you that it is really good. I grew up on West Texas cowboy cooking. Cowboy food is not about living long, but living large. A chuckwagon like this one would likely be cooking up buttermilk biscuits prepared in a dutch oven on a campfire, beef, lamb, and goat slow cooked over oak coals, hard cured hams, pinto beans, cowboy coffee and even peach cobbler. The food is typically high fat, and high salt. You can bet that this cowboy is not serving up a salad with the meal he is preparing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Will Rogers

Today we feature a portrait of American Cowboy and humorist Will Rogers. Rogers was one of the most beloved characters of the early 1900's and was described as Oklahoma's favorite son. He was a popular performer until his death in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935.

Monday, December 3, 2007

President and Mrs. Herbert Hoover

Today we feature a portrait of President and Mrs. Herbert Hoover. On this day in 1929 Mr. Hoover told the US congress that the worst of the recent stock market crash was over, and that American citizens had renewed faith in the economy. In reality, the Great Depression was just beginning and would lead to untold misery and poverty for the next ten years. The stock market did not recover to pre-crash levels until 1954.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Cole Younger

Today we feature a portrait of the Civil War Raider, and Old West outlaw Cole Younger. He rode with Jesse James, and was a raider in the Civil War. Younger joined the notorious guerrilla fighter William Clarke Quantrill in the Civil War. After the war, he joined up with Frank and Jesse James, and formed the infamous James-Younger gang. On September 7, 1876, the gang attempted to rob a bank in Northfield, Minnesota. Cole Younger and his brother Bob would both later say that they selected the bank because of its connection to two former Union generals Benjamin Butler and Adelbert Ames. Cole was captured and pleaded guilty to avoid hanging. After he was released from prison, Cole became a popular speaker across the country. Cole Younger died March 21, 1916.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cheyenne Warriors

Today we feature a photograph of Cheyenne Warriors on horseback. It was on this day, November 29, in the year 1864, that US military forces massacred hundreds of Cheyenne noncombatants in the Colorado Territory.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

War Effort

Today we feature a photograph of a Woman Worker in the War Effort in World War II. During the war, a large fraction of the United States workforce was occupied in fighting the war. At the same time, there was a huge demand for workers to build the planes, tanks, and other equipment needed to fight the war. In order to fill the jobs, many women entered the workforce in jobs previously reserved for men. This picture shows a woman working on the B-24 Liberator bomber.
The first Liberator bomber rolled off the Willow Run production line on this day, November 28, in the year 1942. Today we tip our hats to all the women stepped forward to new and difficult jobs to help the Allies win the war.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The War Horse

This is a nice portrait of General James Longstreet. Robert E. Lee called Longstreet his "Old War Horse". Historians consider Longstreet one of the best corps commanders in the Civil War. After the Civil War, he applied for a pardon from President Andrew Johnson. Johnson refused to pardon him, stating, "There are three persons of the South who can never receive amnesty: Mr. Davis, General Lee, and yourself. You have given the Union cause too much trouble."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Two American Legends

This is a wonderful photograph of two American Legends . . . Buffalo Bill Cody, and Chief Sitting Bull. The picture was taken in 1885.

Sitting Bull is remembered as the great Sioux Chief who led the Native Americans at the Battle of Little Big Horn, and the defeat of General George Armstrong Custer. In later years, Sitting Bull exploited his fame and notoriety, and even worked in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show for about four months. Sitting Bull was killed by Indian police on December 15, 1890. They feared that his alleged involvement in the Indian Ghost Dance Movement would lead to an Indian uprising.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Railroad Depot

Today we feature a picture of the Railroad Depot at Nashville, Tennessee. It was taken in 1864. I love these old train pictures.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mexican Emigrant

This picture shows a Mexican Emigrant entering the United States. The picture was taken near Nuevo Laredo, in 1912. I can remember visiting Mexico in the 1960's and 1970's and you would see many examples of this type of cart and burro set up being used as transportation.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We would like to wish everyone a happy and Blessed Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thomas Edison

This is a nice picture of Thomas Edison, as a young man. He is shown with his recording device. It was on this day, November 21, in the year 1877 that Thomas Edison announced the invention of the phonograph.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Child in School

Today we feature a photograph of a young boy in school. the picture was taken in 1938.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gettysburg Address

This is not one of the clearest pictures we have ever featured, but it might be one of the most interesting. The picture shows Abraham Lincoln, just as he was about to give the Gettysburg Address. He is pictured in the center. He is seated on the platform. The Gettysburg Address was given to dedicate the memorial at the Gettysburg battlefield.
Abraham Lincoln gave this famous speech on this day, November 19, in the year 1863.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Family in the Great Depression

I am really fascinated by these pictures of people in the Great Depression. It is hard to believe the level of poverty people endured. I often reflect on the things that annoy me, and ruin my day, and ponder how small those things are compared to what this family had to endure. My Dad grew up in the Great Depression, and it affected him his whole life. The generation that lived through the depression is fading away, and soon will be gone. Sometimes I fear that there are important lessons that our generation is not learning. We should cherish each day for the abundance we enjoy. The photograph was taken by Dorothea Lange.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

1940's Gas Station

Today we feature a photograph of a Gas Station from the 1940's. I grew up in the 1960's and can remember when they had full service gas stations like this one. You drove up, and they would come out, fill your tank, wash your windshield, check your tires and oil level.

Friday, November 16, 2007

New York Crowd

Today we feature a photograph of a crowd in New York's Union Square in the 1910's. I find all the hats interesting. Have you noticed that people don't wear hats much anymore? Only a few people wear hats these days, and usually it is only a baseball cap. Even the real cowboys that I know don't wear cowboy hats . . . they wear baseball caps. I think it would be neat if hats came back as a fashion item, what do you think?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Black Child

This picture shows a Black Child. It was taken in 1939 in North Carolina. When I see pictures of poor children like this from the Great Depression, I always wonder what the rest of their life was like. Were they able to overcome the poverty of their youth, or does the picture pretty much sum up their whole life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First Flight from Navy Ship

This photograph shows the first successful flight from the deck of a US Navy Ship. This historic flight was made on this day, November 14, in the year 1910. The pilot was Eugene Ely, and he is flying a Curtis Pusher aircraft. The ship was at Hampton Roads, Virginia, and shortly after takeoff, the pilot landed at Willoghby Spit.
It is amazing how far things have come over the last hundred years. I would bet the Eugene never dreamed of how far this little thing would go.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Spring Plowing

Today's picture shows spring plowing. The picture was taken in 1939 near Marshall Texas.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Day they Burned Atlanta

It was on this day, November 11, in the year 1864 that General William Tecumseh Sherman burned Atlanta to the ground. The picture above shows Union Soldiers in the midst of the task. The picture shows the smoke in the city, as a group of soldiers destroy the railroad tracks. This was the opening chapter in Sherman's March to the Sea, where he destroyed everything in his path between Georgia and the Atlantic Ocean.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sturgis, Dakota Territory

Today we show a picture of the town of Sturgis, in the Dakota Territory. The photograph was taken in 1887.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Jefferson Davis

This is a portrait of Jefferson Davis. It was on this day, November 6, in the year 1861 that Jefferson Davis was elected to his first term as President of the Confederate States of America. I always like the Davis Quote:
"I worked night and day for twelve years to prevent the war, but I could not. The North was mad and blind, would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came. "

Sunday, November 4, 2007

President Calvin Coolidge

This picture shows Calvin Coolidge, Mrs. Coolidge, and Senator Curtis in an open top car, on their way to the capitol. Mrs. Coolidge had a pretty smile, and she seamed to be a neat first lady. She was the only first lady to have a pet raccoon at the white house.
Anyway, Calvin Coolidge was elected the 29th president of the United States on this day, November 4, in the year 1924.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

President Taft

Today we feature a photograph of William Howard Taft, as he campaigns for the office of President of the United States. Taft was elected president on this day, November 3, in the year 1908.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Nez perce

Today we feature a photograph of a Nez Perce Native American. The photograph was taken in 1910. It is really sad to me to look at pictures of Native Americans from this time period. This man would have no doubt remembered the traditional way of life, and he has lived to see that way disappear.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Union Commander George McClellan

Today we feature a photograph of General George McClellan. It was on this day, November 1, 1861 that Abraham Lincoln appointed McClellan as commander of the Union Army. This was after the Union's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Bull run.
Abraham Lincoln's first choice to lead the Union army was a brilliant general named Robert E. Lee. Lee declined Lincoln's offer, having other priorities in mind.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Roller Skates

Today we feature a picture of a Roller Skater, circa 1905. Interesting that the skates are inline . . . this guy was clearly ahead of his time!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Calvin Coolidge Inaugural Parade

This picture shows the Calvin Coolidge inaugural parade, taken in 1925. It is amazing how much things have changed. You could never imagine a President traveling down a crowded street in an open car any more.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Crash

On this day, October 29, in the year 1929 the stock market crashed, and ushered in the Great Depression. This Dorothea Lange photograph captures the human cost of this tragedy. The crash followed the roaring 20's, a time of exuberant excess in the United States. Shortly before the crash several pundits predicted a new era of prosperity, in which the market could continue to appreciate indefinitely.

I some times wonder if such a tragedy could happen again. What do you think? Could we ever see this magnitude of poverty in the United States again?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Artillery Car

This picture dates back to the Civil War. It shows a small railroad car, transporting a mortar.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cowboys Branding Calves

This is a picture from 1888 showing cowboys branding a calf at a roundup.