If you love Thanksgiving, you should learn the name Sarah Josepha Hale. Starting in 1846 and continuing until her retirement in 1877, Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879) used her position as editress of Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine — one of the most popular and influential magazines of the time — to campaign for a national Thanksgiving […]
B.T. Babbitt’s Soap Factory and a New Shoreline for Lower Manhattan
B.T. Babbitt’s New York City soap and saleratus (baking soda) factory was near the southern tip of Manhattan, right on the Hudson River. Until the 1970s, anyway.
B.T. Babbitt, Soap and Baking Soda Magnate of the Late 1800s
Benjamin T. Babbitt was a big deal in the late 1800s: he held numerous patents, his soap company was an innovator in advertising, the company had multiple factories and multiple product lines, including a 300,000 sq. ft. (27,870 sq. m) factory in Lower Manhattan.
The Brooklyn Fair To Aid Union Soldiers During the U.S. Civil War
The Brooklyn Sanitary Fair, February 1864. A young woman steps up to the Post Office counter and asks “Anything for me, if you please?”
How a 3,930 Pound Cheese Helped Union Army Soldiers During the Civil War
The poster said “Presentation of the 3,930 lb. Cheese! To the Sanitary Commission.” What was that about? Why such a big cheese? Who was the Sanitary Commission?
Ancient Roman-Style Carrots
This recipe for carrots simmered with cumin, mint, and vinegar is really old: it’s derived from a book written more than 1,700 years ago, around the days of Caesar, Augustus, and Tiberius.
Book Review: “Golden Gate” by Kevin Starr
The Golden Gate Bridge is a global icon, a triumph of engineering, and a work of art. In American terms, it was shaped by the City Beautiful movement, the Progressive Era, and the Great Depression. More mysteriously, the Bridge expresses those forces that science tells us constitute the dynamics of nature itself. Like the Parthenon, […]
The Otis House: When Wilshire Boulevard was Mansion Row in Los Angeles
I was browsing through the amazing digital archives of the New York Public Library recently, looking for fun stuff to pin to my Slices of Blue Sky Pinterest boards, and I ran across an old postcard from Los Angeles that caught my attention. The photo isn’t much — it’s a pretty big Spanish-style house — […]
TV as Demolition: When the TV Show “Emergency” Filmed in Compton
One of my less productive minor obsessions is with the 1970s TV show “Emergency.” It began when a saw a bit of an episode set in San Francisco, which led me to buy a set of DVD that included the episode when “Emergency” filmed in San Francisco so I could learn the details of the […]
Three More Old Postcards of San Francisco: the Golden Gate, Fort Point and Sutro Baths
This post has a few more old San Francisco images from the New York Public Library Digital Collections. The first two of postcards were taken before the addition of a major landmark, and the last was taken before the destruction of a major landmark. Before the Bridge The first photo is an undated postcard from […]