March 2010

Abraham Lincoln died in the home of William Petersen, a German-born tailor. A boarder at the house took this photograph shortly after Lincoln’s body was removed. Today the small house looks much as it did on that fateful day.

Lincoln's death bed the day after he died

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This exhibit is not for the faint-hearted. Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917 showcases the paintings and sculptures Matisse created during the most radically inventive period of his career. You can clearly see his work process and follow his struggle as he uncovers the essential forms and colors for his compositions, some quite ambitious. Pretty? No. Dramatic and overpowering? Yes. The exhibit is at the Chicago Institute of Art until June 20.

Poetry Animation: Samuel Pepys recalls the Great Fire of London

It’s a little creepy to see a painted image’s mouth move, but interesting to watch Samuel Pepys “relate” his observations of the Great Fire.

The scene is 2 seconds long, but intriguing nevertheless.

I love Chest of Books, a site that features books that are in the public domain. This series of photographs from the Edwardian era illustrate that right and wrong way for a young girl to read, write, and sew. The advice still holds today – but why not include boys as well? The information comes from Every Woman’s Encyclopedia, 1910-1912.

Right (L) and Wrong (R) Way to Read, Edwardian Era, 1911

One suspects the little girl is more comfortable in the second shot, but her parents would not have approved of her legs twining themselves around the chair legs.

The Right and Wrong Way to Write, Edwardian Era, 1911

Slumped over, the little girl on the right presents the picture of inelegance.

The Right and Wrong Way to Sew

Her poor neck must feel a cramp after a long bout of sewing. Perhaps she needs glasses?

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This short clip shows a fleeting image of Anne looking down from a balcony –

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It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again”. -Annelies Marie Frank (Anne Frank) from Diary of Anne Frank. Doubleday paperback edition, 1952

Jeff Werner writes about his visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and of his impressions.  I went two years ago and was amazed at how intricately the secret annex was designed, with narrow steps leading to small bedrooms and a rather surprisingly spacious living area. The thought of eight people having to live quietly in these confined quarters for over two years is overwhelming when you walk through these  rooms. It must have been stifling and claustrophobic for all involved, but especially for the three teenagers who had no escape from the adults.

Cut away view of the Anne Frank House

Image of house – Art Engineering Company

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