We'll be tending bar as usual this evening
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Every new year I ponder reading the entire Harvard Classics series as a new goal. I've read a good many of the titles in college but never seem to fill in the missing gaps. And then along comes a new Hollywood biography or a noir reprint and Bam! I'm off track. Guess I've got higher education taste and a dime store pulp pocket.
From playing opposite Cagney
To marrying a brooding Raymond Burr in Bride of the Gorilla
I think my next spate of Hollywood reading is going to focus on Barbara Payton.
Monday, December 30, 2013
Emma Snodgrass created a sensation in 1852 by showing up in Boston wearing pants.
She was mocked, arrested and sent home to her father in New York City, only to return again and again. Each time the police found her out, arrested her and sent her home. She became national news. She was ‘the wanderer in man’s apparel,’ the ‘foolish girl who goes around in virile toggery’ and ‘an eccentric female who roams about town.’
Emma Snodgrass was the pretty, petite 17-year-old daughter of a New York City police officer. Exactly when she arrived in Boston is unclear, but by the fall of 1852 she was discovered wearing pants and a frock coat. Her audacious pranks ‘turned the heads of the Boston editors,’ reported the Daily Dispatch of Richmond, Va.
What the Boston editors didn’t know was that Emma had a tobacco-chewing, cigar-smoking friend named Charley, who was really another teenaged cross dresser, Harriet French. Eventually, Harriet was discovered, too.
Emma Snodgrass made good copy. In the space of 2-1/2 weeks, the Boston Herald ran five news items about the young woman wearing pants, according to Carol Mattingly in Appropriating Dress. On Nov. 15 the Herald reported Emma Snodgrass had been ‘visiting places of amusement around Boston,’ “Snodgrass used to circulate in all the drinking houses, made several violent attempts to talk ‘horse,’ and do other things for which ‘fast’ boys are noted,” reported the Daily Alta California in an item called ‘Letter From Boston.’
Her exact movements are unclear, as newspapers focused more on the sensational nature of her exploits and less on getting the facts straight. We don’t know, for example, if her father was a police captain or assistant police captain in New York City.
We do know from the New York Daily Times on Nov. 30, 1852, that Emma Snodgrass was caught ‘donning the breeches.’ She’d called herself George Green and gotten a job as a clerk at the clothing establishment of John Simmons & Co. The police took her to the station and sent her back to her father, ‘a respectable city official in New York.‘
She soon returned to Boston and was spotted in women’s clothes at the Washington Coffee House, where she had taken lodgings. According to one report, Emma left the Coffee House in women’s clothes, but returned wearing ‘a neat frock coat, cloth cap, and black broadcloth pants.’ A bartender recognized her and told the police, who took her into custody. A police officer took her home with him and saw to it that she was returned to her father. “What her motive may be for thus obstinately rejecting the habiliments of her own sex, is not known,” reported the New York Daily Times.
By now, everyone was talking about Emma Snodgrass. She “disturbed the equanimity of the sleepy magistracy in the eastern cities,” reported the Fort Wayne Times and Peoples Press.
The Simmons clothing warehouse Courtesy Boston Public Library.
Emma Snodgrass boomeranged back to Boston in December, and was again discovered wearing pants. On Dec. 18, the Boston Herald reported on her attraction to romantic young men. On Dec. 22, she reportedly made a ‘profound sensation’ on a trip to Portsmouth, N.H. On Dec. 29, she was arrested again. This time, she was accompanied by a woman also wearing pants.
When Emma Snodgrass appeared in court, it was with great difficulty that the friends could be separated, reported the Daily Alta California. “Snodgrass was finally sent to New York in charge of an officer, and her friend was packed off to the House of Industry for two months,” the newspaper wrote.
Harriet French was actually given a day to get out of Boston. The Tribune editorialized that authorities punished Harriet because she didn’t have money, while Emma got away scot free. Such ‘is the difference between breeches without money, and breeches with,’ noted the editors.
The Unfeminine Freak
Three years later, the reading public in New York City learned more about what had gone on in Boston. On March 14, 1856. The New York Daily Times published an item about ‘an unfeminine freak’ who was arrested and charged as a vagrant in New York City. ‘Charley’ was sentenced to two months imprisonment on Blackwell’s Island.
A reporter interviewed ‘Charley,’ the 19-year-old woman from New Orleans named Harriet French. She claimed to have been in Boston with Emma Snodgrass three-and-a-half years earlier.
We have to take Harriet French’s story with a big grain of salt. The reporter did. “Charley is a wag,” he wrote. But her comments may explain why she decided to dress as a man.
First, a description: She was 19, 5-foot-3-inches tall, with neatly combed short black hair. Her coat and pants were new, neat and well fitting. Her tie was fashionable, and ‘usually worn ajaunt, as becomes a gay young man about town.’
She learned to chew tobacco on the Mississippi River, where she worked for two years on a steamboat. Charley then came to New York City and worked as a bartender.
Why, asked the reporter, would you dress as a boy? She could get along better as a boy, she said. “Can get more wages.”
She told the reporter she planned to go out west to visit her sister in California – where Emma Snodgrass had been headed, wearing pants, three years earlier.
Go West, Young Man
On Jan. 6, 1853, the Daily Dispatch of Richmond, Va., reported Emma Snodgrass had been sent home .
For the next xx months, Emma Snodgrass arrests and appearances across the country were reported as frequently as Elvis sightings.
In March 1823 she was brought before a magistrate in Albany, N.Y., wearing pants and calling herself Henry Lewis, the Albany Journal reported. She said she was going to California or Australia.
A month later, she was spotted in Louisville, Ky., reported “”Emma Snodgrass, the girl in pantaloons … was last seen at Louisville, on her way to California,” reported the Fort Wayne Times and Peoples Press. “She wears a frock coat, glazed cap, striped pantaloons, &c., and has the appearance of quite a good looking young man. She is a practical Woman’s Rights girl.”
On May 28, 1853, the Washington, D.C., Daily Evening Star, reported, “Emma Snodgrass, the young lady in pants, appeared in Buffalo, on Sunday last, habited in a very becoming and genteel attire. She is about four feet ten inches in height.”
Less than two weeks later she was arrested in Cleveland – presumably for wearing pants – according to the Democratic Banner of Davenport, Iowa, on June 10, 1853.
On July 13, 1853, the Grant County Herald of Lancaster, Wisc., reported, “Emma Snodgrass has repented, gone home, taken off her breeches, and sworn eternal attachment to petticoats and propriety. This is to her credit.”
We lost sight of Emma Snodgrass after that news item. So perhaps she did repent.
Perhaps she made it to Australia.
Or perhaps she just came up with a more convincing disguise.
From The New England Historical Society:
I'm still sick and the usual side effects of cold medication, for me at least, are a sense of general morose sadness and insomnia. Quite the combination to try and cheer one's self through when beaten down with a viral infection. So the last few nights at 2,3, and 4:00 a.m., awake in my dark room my mind can't help turning to this tune.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
This is an albino redwood tree, with white needles instead of green because it’s unable to produce chlorophyll. In order to survive, albino redwoods must join their roots to those of a normal redwood to obtain nutrients. Found in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and Humboldt Redwoods State Park in the US, there are only around 20 known albino redwoods in the world, and their exact whereabouts have been kept secret as protection.
I'm surprised nurseries haven't tried to replicate stock for Christmas sales
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
His shoes eventually disappeared. I cut his hair (much to the dismay of my Aunts who were babysitting me) and his face got badly stained from my insisting he be given cough medicine every time I got sick but lordy I loved that doll!
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'
'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
Monday, December 23, 2013
Something hopeful shines through the dark pessimism of a Christmas poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson, who salvaged friendship and fame from bitter failures in his childhood and youth.
The poem is called Karma. It won a Pulitzer in 1925, one of three times the prize would be awarded to Robinson.
Christmas was in the air and all was well
With him, but for a few confusing flaws
In divers of God’s images. Because
A friend of his would neither buy nor sell,
Was he to answer for the axe that fell?
He pondered; and the reason for it was,
Partly, a slowly freezing Santa Claus
Upon the corner, with his beard and bell.
Acknowledging an improvident surprise,
He magnified a fancy that he wished
The friend whom he had wrecked were here again.
Not sure of that, he found a compromise;
And from the fullness of his heart he fished
A dime for Jesus who had died for men.
Many of Robinson’s poems focused on failure, and it isn’t hard to understand why. He was born on Dec. 22, 1869 in Alna, Maine, but his parents moved to Gardiner when he was two. He described his childhood as stark and unhappy. His mother was disappointed he wasn’t a girl. His parents didn’t name him until he was six months old, and then did it by asking a man from Arlington, Mass., to pick a name out of a hat. Even then Robinson hated the name ‘Edwin” as well as the nickname ‘Win.’
His oldest brother Dean, a doctor, became addicted to laudanum. His middle brother Herman married the woman he loved, Emma Shepherd. He boycotted the wedding, and the marriage turned out to be a disaster. Herman turned to drink, suffered business failures and died a pauper.
Edwin Arlington Robinson
Edwin Arlington Robinson
Edwin Arlington Robinson spent two years at Harvard, where he hoped to be published in a literary magazine but failed. He returned to Gardiner. His father had died and Emma, now a widow, had moved in with the Robinson family. He twice proposed to her and she twice refused. He moved to New York to live the life of an impoverished poet. At 26 he spent $100 to publish his first book, The Torrent and the Night Before. He meant it as a surprise for his mother. She died of diphtheria days before the books arrived.
He had more luck with his second book, The Children of the Night. Kermit Roosevelt read it and recommended it to his father, President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt like it, too, and got Robinson a job at the New York Customs Office, where he had plenty of time to write.
In 1916, an anonymous donor provided him a monthly stipend, which allowed him to continue writing poetry uninterrupted. Poet Amy Lowell gave him a rave review in The New Republic; critic William Stanley Braithwaite had called him ‘America’s foremost poet.’ He began to achieve literary success, winning the Pulitzer Prize three times during the 1920s.
He spent 24 summers at the MacDowell art colony in New Hampshire as an eminence gris. There he had a comfortable routine and the respect and affection of musicians and artists.
Edwin Arlington Robinson died of cancer in 1935.
via the New England Historical Society
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Artist Sebastan Errazuriz has created a series of exquisitely-designed shoes that deal with his past relationships in a uniquely artistic and open way. The series, called “12 Shoes For 12 Lovers,” features shoes designed to reflect each of his 12 exes.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
On my side it pretty much ended there except for having to spend a half hour finishing a meal while fighting the urge to scream "WHY THE HELL NOT???